What's new

Categories for discussion

Good article nominees

Featured article reviews

Requested moves

Articles to be merged

Articles to be split

Did you know? articles

Rosal, Sutherland (2024-05-25)Newlyn Tidal Observatory (2023-11-20)Godalming (2023-09-20)Reigate (2023-09-10)Woking (2023-03-18)

Reached maximum of 5 out of 300

Featured pictures
In the News articles

Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City (2021-07-22)2009 Great Britain and Ireland floods (2009-11-21)February 2009 British Isles snowfall (2009-02-06)

Main page featured articles

Coventry ring road (2023-07-23)Combe Hill, East Sussex (2023-01-11)Brownhills (2022-03-03)Abberton Reservoir (2021-09-05)Shaw and Crompton (2021-08-15)

Reached maximum of 5 out of 71

Main page featured lists

List of scheduled monuments in South Somerset (2023-12-22)List of castles in Greater Manchester (2023-04-07)List of Shetland islands (2022-05-20)List of freshwater islands in Scotland (2020-04-24)Scheduled monuments in Taunton Deane (2018-10-26)

Reached maximum of 5 out of 7


Disagreement on Christchurch article re:settlement definition

There is a dispute at the article for Christchurch, Dorset over whether, how, and in how much detail, the article should cover Bournemouth Airport – a major employer which was in the now defunct borough of Christchurch, but some distance outside the built-up area in a neighbouring parish. This is essentially a difference of opinion on how to handle the ambiguity around defining settlements. If you think you can help resolve this, join the discussion at Talk:Christchurch,_Dorset#Bournemouth_airport. Thanks, Joe D (t)

Unitary councils

After Wikipedia talk:WikiProject UK geography/Archive 29#Unitary county councils: separate articles or not? there has been discussion at Talk:Somerset County Council#Merger proposal, Talk:North Yorkshire Council#Merger of North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Council and Talk:Wiltshire County Council#Merger discussion.

In terms of the differences in geographical and legal continuations I'll divide them into tiers.

Given these subsequent discussions and the possibility of merging tier 2 and 3 I'm looking at getting consensus on what should be done.

Please indicate you're !vote by stating if you support merging/keeping separate for example if you think Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire County Council should be separate articles, one for the council until 2009 and the other for the council from 2009 then write "Separate tier 1" (or "Separate all" since you are likely to want to keep the others). If you think tier 1 and 2 should be merged but tier 3 should be separate write "Combine tier 1 and t, separate tier 3". In terms of the arguments, for merging at least the 1st 2 tiers it can be argued that if the council(s) are legally the same or at least cover/covered the same area then per WP:NOTDIC we shouldn't create separate articles mainly because of a slight name change namely "Somerset County Council" becoming "Somerset Council", noting for example that Durham County Council has it seems never been split. It also gives the impression that for say Somerset the changes in 2023 were significant but not the changes in 1974 (exactly the same name but different legal entity and different boundaries) which is likely to suggest to readers that the 2023 changes were more important while having a single article better helps readers understand the differences. In terms of the arguments for keeping separate, for especially tier 3 it can be argued that if they have different boundaries and were different legal entities its more appropriate to have separate articles and put hatnotes. It can be argued that putting different but similarly names councils also violates WP:NOTDIC by treating different entities in 1 article. Also some of the articles may have enough content that its more appropriate to keep separate. @A.D.Hope, Eopsid, 10mmsocket, JMF, Mhockey, Moonraker, Number 57, Rcsprinter123, Stortford, ValenciaThunderbolt, and Wire723: Crouch, Swale (talk) 17:47, 21 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Combine tier 1 & 2 - I'm concerned that splitting articles every time there's a change of status or boundary fragments the narrative too much, and artificially exaggerates the extent of change and downplays the amount of continuity there was at each reform. We also need to consider how much material there would be for a page on the 'old' version of the council - I can see such articles being basically stubs or heavily overlapping the page for the modern council. I think the key points about the old version of such councils should still be mentioned on the modern council's page anyway, to provide useful context for understanding the current version.
I agree the wording needs to be clearer in places to avoid the impression of unitary authorities having been created in 1889. We do have to bear in mind that "unitary authority" isn't the legal name for these councils, but instead a widely-used shorthand for them. Strictly speaking they are all either county councils which also perform district-level functions, or district councils which also perform county-level functions. Whether or not they include the word "County" in their titles is a matter of branding rather than indicating a legal difference. To be clear:
  • County councils which now also perform district-level functions: Cornwall, County Durham, Isle of Wight, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, Shropshire, Somerset, Wiltshire
  • Councils with the same name as a ceremonial county but which are legally district councils which also perform county-level functions: Buckinghamshire, Dorset, East Riding of Yorkshire, Herefordshire, Rutland
It does seem to be at the whim of the civil servants who drafted the statutory instruments putting the changes into effect which model they followed, and the effect is the same either way. To my mind Buckinghamshire's situation was identical to Shropshire's - a county council which covered the ceremonial county minus one district which had already become unitary, but for some reason Shropshire is legally a county council and Buckinghamshire a district council.
I would keep Cumberland Council separate from the old Cumberland County Council as there are enough differences - notably Cumberland hasn't been reinstated as a ceremonial county and there was a 49 year gap. This follows what we've done in Wales where there are separate articles for Pembrokeshire County Council (the current body established in 1996) and Pembrokeshire County Council, 1889–1974. The time period gap also applies for East Riding of Yorkshire and Herefordshire, so keep them separate. I can see the argument either way on Dorset, so happy to leave that one as it is (split). Stortford (talk) 07:46, 22 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that splitting articles every time there is a change of status or boundary is a bad idea, and for that reason I am opposed to new articles for UA areas which were (and still are) non-metropolitan counties. Buckinghamshire is an example of a non-metropolitan county (legally the "county of Buckinghamshire") which is now also a district and has a district council. But I don't think that the transition of a county council to a UA, however accomplished, can be characterised as a "change of status". I suspect that the reason why the transition was sometimes achieved by repurposing the old county council and sometimes by forming a new entity was more to do with legal efficiency than the whim of civil servants (i.e. which assets needed to be legally transferred). To my mind, the important factor is whether the UA councils are significantly different kinds of local authorities from their predecessor councils. I think they are. Mhockey (talk) 21:04, 22 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
But in the cases of North Yorkshire and Somerset etc apart from the slight name change and gaining the district functions. Yes it may be thought of and sometimes called a new council it was both a geographical and legal continuation unlike Dorset. Having 2 articles on 2 similarly named councils having similar functions and covering exactly the same area doesn't seem helpful and I would have thought the differences would be more effectively covered in a single article. Had North Yorkshire council area had a boundary change when it became unitary then I could see the logic even though I'd be fine with 1 article but when they are exactly the same I don't think its a goo idea, given North Yorkshire Council is not only a geographical continuation but also a legal continuation. Crouch, Swale (talk) 19:34, 24 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Mhockey: But North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire have similar functions as well as covering the same area and the same legal entity. I can see the logic in having separate articles at Municipal Borough of Wisbech and Wisbech Town Council (or Stowmarket Town Council starting at 1974 even though the urban district council has the same boundaries) even though the district/district council and parish/parish council cover/covered the same area because a district/district council is a quite a different entity to a parish/parish council, ones 3rd order and the other is 4th order. Or having separate articles at Dobwalls and Trewidland/Dobwalls where the former was renamed to the latter at the same time as boundary changes even though both are the same legal entity. Yes NYC may sometimes be called a new council (which should probably be discussed in the article like Northumberland County Council) but it isn't either geographically or legally, I would have though a single article would better serve people looking up the council. A unitary authority isn't really much of a different entity, all that happened was the council took on the district functions rather than becoming a completely different authority like a parish council. Crouch, Swale (talk) 22:25, 20 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I take a different view of the area administered by the council. Legally the UA area is the same "County of North Yorkshire" as the non-metropolitan county which preceded it, but there was no change in substance or legal form, just a change in governance. Yet we have created a separate article North Yorkshire (district), which I would merge back into North Yorkshire.--Mhockey (talk) 10:58, 22 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Taking Shropshire as an example, the first county council was established in 1889, then abolished in 1974 and replaced by one with essentially the same boundaries. In 1998 Wrekin District Council became a unitary authority, reducing the area governed by Shropshire County Council, and in 2009 Shropshire County Council became a unitary authority. The above can be explained in a single article, and is arguably more easily explained in a single article than three – Shropshire County Council (1889–1974), Shropshire County Council (1974-2009), and Shropshire Council.
Where there isn't clear continuity we can decide on a case-by-case basis. A.D.Hope (talk) 14:40, 23 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]


As this discussion has been going for over a month and a half it looks like we can now have a look at consensus. There is a consensus that tier 1 should be combined, thus upholding the previous discussion meaning these shouldn't be re split. Its reasonably clear that most agree that splitting when a council becomes a unitary is not helpful due to it essentially being a continuation. Only 1 user clearly supports splitting tier 1, one other (and another appeared to support this) has said about splitting except when the word count is low. We also need to be careful about how we describe the councils to make sure we don't suggest they unitary authorities were formed in 1889, we also need to be careful as was noted in the previous discussion sometimes about how we interpret sources regarding those that say "new councils" as they may mean 'council which is newly unitary' rather than 'a brand new council'. There is also a consensus to combine tier 2 namely that Buckinghamshire should be combined. There is a rough consensus that in most cases tier 3 should be split however they should be considered on a case by case basis. I will take no action with tier 3 and I have no intention at least at the moment on merging tier 3. Therefor users can use the normal procedures for merging namely either bold merges, informal discussions or formal discussions but as noted the weak consensus here is they should normally be split. The issue about if the area the councils covering that was mentioned by the separate tier 1 !voter and myself just above is a different discussion but something I may bring up at this project's talk page at some point.

In terms of the pre v post 1974 councils which was touched on here and at the previous discussion I think we should include it in the guidance that if the name was exactly the same there should only be 1 article even if the council was reformed with different boundaries.

This guidance would also likely apply in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

I therefore suggest adding something to WP:UKCOUNTIES a heading "Local authorities" similar to UKDISTRICTS saying something along the lines of When a council like Lancashire County Council was reformed in 1974 with the same name it should not be split into separate articles for pre 1974 and post 1974. This applies even if there were boundary changes. When a council becomes a unitary authority like Somerset Council but keeps the same boundaries it should be covered in a single article even if like Buckinghamshire the council was abolished and reformed with the same boundaries. If like Dorset County Council/Dorset Council (UK) there were boundary changes it should be considered on a case by case basis if separate articles should exist with the default to having separate articles. Factors that may also be taken into account if separate articles are needed or not as well as the difference in boundaries include the time gap between abolishment and formation, article content, if one council was a 2 tier and the other was a unitary and if the names of the councils are identical of merely similar..

Does this reflect consensus and do we also agree with adding the guidance about 1974? I think the only one that this might change is Cambridgeshire County Council which had a 9 year gap and different boundaries. @ValenciaThunderbolt, Wire723, JMF, Murgatroyd49, Rupples, Stortford, Mhockey, Waggers, A.D.Hope, Number 57, and Davidstewartharvey: Crouch, Swale (talk) 22:23, 11 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Works for me. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 08:40, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I have a niggling worry about including "article content" in the list of factors to consider. The existing contents of an article shouldn't usually be considered when deciding whether a subject is sufficiently notable to have an article of it's own. So I'd suggest switching "article content" for "significant coverage in reliable sources" or similar. We would hope that in most cases the two things are identical (if there's sufficient coverage, it'll be reflected in the article content) but that isn't always the case. Otherwise, all good! WaggersTALK 09:34, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Waggers: I was thinking about how much content the article(s) have but more importantly because articles should normally be judged by potential not just current state about how much appropriate content could be added and along the same lines if sources tend to treat them as the same or different councils. This seemed to be a point Wire723 was suggesting however given the factors about current and potential content are going to be the case in every topic on Wikipedia not just councils per Wikipedia:Article size I wander if we should just exclude this point as it does seem a bit of instruction creep to state something that applies to any topic on Wikipedia. So do you agree on just excluding this point/criteria? Crouch, Swale (talk) 21:29, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yep, that works for me. WaggersTALK 09:26, 18 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I would say that redirect pages should be created to redirect the reader to the correct page, so articles are not written by editors whom cannot find the older named authority. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 15:52, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Davidstewartharvey: yes redirects should be created for future names and be left behind after renames. If Staffordshire County Council was going to become a unitary in 2026 named "Staffordshire Council" we would create Staffordshire Council as a redirect to Staffordshire County Council and then move Staffordshire County Council to Staffordshire Council once the rename happened leaving the redirect behind from the old title. If a geographically different council was going to be formed, say the new Staffordshire Council didn't cover Newcastle-under-Lyme district due to it being merged with Stoke-on-Trent then we could still redirect the future council to the present one pending a separate article just like Herefordshire County Council redirected to Herefordshire Council until a separate article was created on the old council. Something like "Redirects from future and former names should be created" would seem like a good idea. Crouch, Swale (talk) 21:29, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Broadly yes - I wouldn't single out 1974 though as a large part of the point of this policy tweak is to catch the more recent changes to unitary authorities, plus it's a UK-wide policy so don't forget the equivalent reforms in Northern Ireland were in 1973 and in Scotland were in 1975. "Same name" might also need clarifying - I'd take that to mean same geographic name (e.g. North Yorkshire), but others might interpret it to mean "North Yorkshire Council" is different to "North Yorkshire County Council" because of the extra word, contrary to the consensus above. Stortford (talk) 20:48, 12 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Stortford: The reason for including the 1974 point is that all councils were abolished and reformed (often with different boundaries) so to clarify that they like unitaries should not be split. This helps to clarify to users who think that Somerset County Council that existed from 1889 to 1974 and Somerset County Council that "existed" from 1974-2023 were not very different while Somerset Council that has "existed" since 2023 is very different and needs a separate article. Having the point about 1974 may help clarify to users who think this is the case. In terms of Northern Ireland and Scotland we could just put in brackets 1973 for Northern Ireland and 1975 for Scotland. That said it doesn't seem like users splitting pre 1970s and post 1970s councils has been a problem but it would be here if this does become a problem. Do you think it would be better to just remove this point? or maybe reword. I was interpreting "identical" to mean exactly the same name namely "Northumberland County Council" (pre 2009) has the same name as "Northumberland County Council" (post 2009) and "similar name" to mean "North Yorkshire County Council" (pre 2023) and "North Yorkshire Council" (post 2023) but not "North Riding County Council" (pre 1974) that it seems everyone agrees should stay separate even though the name of the county and council are essentially variants in a geographical sense. Luckily this doesn't seem to be a problem currently as there aren't any unitaries that have kept exactly the same name as the previous council but have different boundaries to it. Maybe we should just remove this point and look at re adding it in the future if this happens. Crouch, Swale (talk) 21:29, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Workshopping Possible RfC

The above linked RfC on the Cornish flag has led me to look at the guidelines here with a view to a possible RfC, but I also notice another issue, and so would like some pre-RfC discussion about this.

First the presenting issue. In December there was this discussion Wikipedia talk:WikiProject UK geography/Archive 38 which led to an insertion of Do not include flags in the infobox, as they cannot be placed in context there. This was added to the guidelines for English ceremonial counties only. A guideline for one country in the UK, but not all. Looking at the discussion, I see a consensus for the change but it is a weak one, and it did not consider other options in the round. So that should probably be revisited at RfC.

But looking at that showed a second problem. We have separate guidelines for:

Two glaring exceptions are: (1) any mention of counties in Northern Ireland, and (2) administrative counties of Wales. (I presume the preserved counties are covered under former counties). Now often ceremonial counties are coextensive with administrative counties and treated together, but in Wales the preserved county is the ceremonial county and these are not co-extensive with the administrative counties. E.g. Dyfed subsumes three counties. Do we need additional guidelines? or should we, in fact, have a generic guideline and the above list as exceptions? Where would I look for the guidelines about how to write about Pembrokeshire? Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 11:18, 21 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@Sirfurboy, it also omits the council areas of Scotland ("counties" mean "historic"). I'd assumed Northern Ireland is not included to ensure the traditional counties at least are consistent across the entire island of Ireland and under the scope of WikiProject Ireland. Although the modern "districts" could be included here.
Well the "preserved" counties aren't "former" technically, so I don't think they're actually included under that, "former" being only "historic". Although some counties in Wales are GA, so may be little need to standardise it if it seems to be working without it, especially due to the vast differences of counties and county boroughs in Wales. But if we need more, best to add new guidelines for those county types, than combine into a general guideline with less room to adapt. DankJae 11:42, 21 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
More or less the entirety of the county guidelines are in need of reform, Sirfurboy, but it's very tricky to find a consensus to do so. This isn't anyone's fault in particular, just the result of many competing (but valid) opinions and the fact that a change in one area often has knock-on effects, turning an apparently simple issue into a bit of a minefield. 'County fatigue' is a thing, I can attest to that.
The flags discussion you mention is a good example. It began with me proposing a guideline about how to cover English county flags, then became a more general discussion, and was then watered down to a bullet point. I think I'm right in saying that everyone involved agreed that some form of guidance would be helpful, but consensus on the form of words proved elusive. A.D.Hope (talk) 03:13, 23 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
To give a more helpful answer, I would strongly discourage you from trying to fix the county guidelines before opening an RfC on county flags. The county guidelines have proven very difficult to change and will become a distraction. There is currently momentum to discuss the flags, which we should take advantage of; I also believe it will be possible to write a UK-wide guideline, therefore removing the need to deal with the various types of county.
You may want to read the discussion on county infobox collages as an example of a recent, successful change to the guidelines. It was quite an involved process, but by focussing on a well-defined topic and with good (if I can blow my own trumpet) management of the discussion it went well. Although it initially only applied to English ceremonial counties, it was later successfully applied to Wales thanks to @DankJae. I think this is a good argument for crafting a good guideline even if it isn't immediately applied everywhere, as it provides a good foundation to build on.
I'd be happy to help in setting the parameters and managing the debate, but appreciate that I'm heavily involved and so might not be the best person to do so. A.D.Hope (talk) 16:51, 23 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, counties are difficult, and a successful RfC ideally needs to be simple. But there is a principle here of precedence that might need resolving. We could have an RfC that has a few options (e.g. remove the flag sentence from English ceremonial counties guidance OR add it to all English county guidance or confirm the status quo, for instance). But that still leaves Welsh administrative counties to have flags, and they all do. Which is a little incongruous when they have a lot of shared history with English counties.
The question is whether that one should be parked, pending a different RfC, also keeping it simple, that provides a common guideline for all counties (of Great Britain - NI doesn't seem to be included), with the other guidelines acting as exceptions. To be honest I am somewhat in agreement that I do not have the time or stomach for that one, but if we did have that one, then that would be the place for general guidelines about flags.
I'll wait to see what others have to say. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 18:00, 23 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Sirfurboy, the main issue with the county flags is whether the modern flag is for the ceremonial or historic county. This difference is much more apparent in England where counties changed over time continuously, but in Wales they were fully abolished, with some restored like Pembrokeshire later, near identical to the historic county, while the Flag of Flintshire is at Flintshire (historic) but not Flintshire, so no, not all Welsh counties have a flag. If we regard county flags to be purely on the historic counties, then they can easily be worked for Wales which has separate articles for historic counties, or some historic counties were resurrected almost exactly, whereas England was much more complicated and continuous process. I don't see any issue with Wales having some of them, as local government is different in Wales. DankJae 19:08, 23 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You see, part of the problem is that the distinction between historic county and ceremonial county is a false one for most of the counties. Some counties are historic only. Middlesex no longer exists, and Sussex and Yorkshire have been divided, and others like Surrey and Kent have a different extent to what they had historically, but the historic county of Surrey is simply Surrey with a pre 1965 border. (And some other stuff - I'll avoid the pedantry). This is why Surrey, Kent and, of course, Cornwall don't have separate articles for their historic counties. The border change is historical detail about Surrey and Kent, not a different type of county. So the guideline allows flags for historical counties (Sussex, Yorkshire) but not for ceremonial counties where the historic border is the current border (Cornwall), or, indeed, ceremonial counties that have lost some territory (Surrey, Kent). I don't think that makes sense. I also don't think we would want to fix that situation by creating articles for the historic county of Cornwall, Surrey, Kent etc. as though such a county exists as a separate entity from the current ceremonial county. That would be counter to other advice in these guidelines and established consensus, that we do not take the position that historic counties still exist within their former borders. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 19:51, 23 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Just to add some context to what DankJae said above, the majority of the county flags which appear on Wikipedia are those registered with the Flag Institute, a charity dedicated to the promotion of flags which also maintains a flag registry. The institute only recognises the historic counties, so it won't register flags for counties like Merseyside or Gwynedd. By and large these flags have been designed fairly recently (although many include older symbolism), often through local competitions. Some are registrations do recognise older flags which are popularly used, however, including that of Cornwall. The Institute and its registry are not "official".
The fact that the institute only recognises the historic counties puts it at odds with our own guidance, as you note in your comment. It means that, for example, the flag registered by the institute for Lancashire does not represent the same area as our article on the contemporary ceremonial county. This is the case for a surprisingly large number of counties – you can use this tool to compare the historic and ceremonial borders within England. In my opinion it is inappropriate to use these flags in the ceremonial county article infoboxes, which should focus on the ceremonial county, but including them in the body is fine.
It's also worth noting that, as far as I'm aware, the official status of most of these flags is debatable. The Department for Communities and Local Government did take to flying them at one time, and some local authorities fly them. Nevertheless, they're not official in the same way as the banner of arms of an authority, which is the flag form of the coat of arms granted to it by the College of Arms, and which belongs to the authority. While I'm not sure it would gain consensus, I'd be tempted not to include a flag in the encyclopedia at all unless there's evidence of it being widely used in the 'real world', rather then simply being registered with the Flag Institute. A.D.Hope (talk) 20:17, 23 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Incidentally, the last paragraph is also the reason why I've removed the coats of arms which were formerly in many English ceremonial county article infoboxes; they belong to the council they were granted to, not the county-at-large. In some cases the council whose arms were used didn't even cover the whole of the ceremonial county, for example Shropshire. A.D.Hope (talk) 20:24, 23 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
How are you feeling about the RfC, Sirfurboy? No pressure, just your general thoughts. A.D.Hope (talk) 13:25, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
What's the difference between the proposed discussion and the previous one? We seem to be going round in circles! Is the previous consensus (if indeed there was one) of not including flags in the infobox no longer accepted? There's always going to be exceptions to guidelines. Cornwall is one IMO, though I was not of that view previously. The case for Cornwall was astutely signalled by DankJae in the previous discussion, but was not taken further. The guideline could be restated to allow strong cases for exceptions, akin to the infobox images guideline. Rupples (talk) 14:36, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The Cornwall discussion demonstrates that the previous consensus – no flags in any infobox – is not accepted. An RfC will allow the issue to be explored more fully, hopefully resulting in a stronger, more stable consensus regardless of what the result actually is.
You note that the guideline could be restated to allow exceptions, which would require a discussion anyway. It may as well be an RfC. A.D.Hope (talk) 14:42, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
But why not just change the guideline to a sensible compromise now that opposition has been raised and see if that sticks. Be bold! Rupples (talk) 15:26, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm very reluctant to be bold in this case. Firstly it's presumptuous, as I don't know exactly what the community wants, and it could imply underhandedness or WP:OWNERSHIP of the guideline. I can understand you not wanting yet another discussion, but it allows everyone a say and help keep things above board. A.D.Hope (talk) 16:09, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If the existing 'no flags in infobox' guideline is not accepted, shouldn't it be removed until a new discussion resolves the issue? There seems little or no basis now for its enforcement. Rupples (talk) 16:42, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Hard cases make bad law. Willingness to make an exception in an extreme case should not be taken as a desire to rescind the basic principle. NebY (talk) 16:50, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Well that's just it. We know the guideline is contested in relation to Cornwall, but not the rest of the ceremonial counties. Resolving that is best done through an RfC, not the actions of a single editor. A.D.Hope (talk) 17:01, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Don't dispute this. I may be mistaken, but there seems to now be a question mark over what consensus there was to put in the guideline from the first discussion. Although no opposition was raised at the time, re-reading that discussion gives me the impression that it was only A.D. Hope, Waggers and myself who approved of it. Rupples (talk) 17:16, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
OTOH, I participated and my criticism of the first drafts was, I think, taken into account in the final version, to which I raised no objection. The straightforward way forward is to leave that text in place but hold a formal structured RFC on the matter, not to subject ourselves to a period of anything-goes edits and article-by-article disputes. NebY (talk) 17:26, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that we don't just want to open up to a free for all. I think I still have two concerns regarding the status quo:
  1. Cornwall appears to be a clear exception to the broad rule, primarily owing to its historical nature and the widespread acceptance and use of the flag.
  2. Some counties have historical county articles because the counties have been extinguished (e.g. Middlesex), and these articles have flags on.
I am in broad agreement with you and others that the flags from the flag institute are problematic. But in that case, I would like to extend the prohibition on use to all county articles, including the historical county articles. On the other hand, I think that the prohibition should be on flag institute flags rather than flags per se. If a county has a flag that is strongly historically associated with the county by name and regardless of minor changes in borders, that flag should be allowed. If a flag is a recent unofficial invention, it should not be allowed. More succinctly, it would be no flags except Cornwall! (Except I am not quite sure about the status of the flag of Yorkshire. The symbol is old, but associated in history with York. I am not sure if it was a pre flag institute flag of Yorkshire or not. Some reading is required.
But in essence I think tweaks rather than reversions are called for. It makes no sense that Sussex has a flag and Surrey does not. So should this be extended to historic counties? but with caveat that exceptions exist (or we can deal with the exceptions by RfC - except RfCs are time consuming so ideally we could cover it all off in one, if the issue can be worded simply). Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 18:36, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Are we discussing only England or will a prohibition extend to all the Welsh and Scottish county flags and coat of arms? Further, is the discussion limited to positioning images in the infobox or extended to elsewhere within the county articles? Also, there's the question of emblems. The Sussex flag is apparently based on an emblem going back to 1611. Are we distinguishing between flags and emblems? Rupples (talk) 19:14, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
1. I agree we'd do well to have one rule that covered articles on past, present and future counties.
2. We wouldn't exclude flags merely because they're registered with the Flag Institute! Rather, registration with the flag institute cannot be either a necessary or sufficient reason for inclusion. That is, we would not include a flag merely because it's been registered with the FI and we don't have sufficient faith in the FI to assume their registry is complete.
3. We could simply say that flags are not included except in exceptional cases with talk-page consensus (a limited form of WP:IAR) or we could save some repetition in discussions and even save some editors the effort of trying to gain consensus if we laid out the exceptions to start with. Broadly speaking, I'd suggest we want to see either
a. adoption by an official body such as a county council or lieutenancy (if Lord Lieutenants have ever adopted a county flag - does anyone know?), OR
b. longstanding widespread popular use, by which I would exclude eg late-C20 / C21 newspaper campaigns such as one I saw giving readers a choice of flag but no option of none, followed by FI registration and sales shortly after, but no evidence of widespread popular use.
4. This would apply to depictions of flags in the infobox whether using the |flag= parameter or as the main subject of another image. NebY (talk) 19:23, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I partially agree with this. In my ideal world, the guideline would be something like:
Flags should only be included in a county article if there is evidence of the flag being in widespread, popular use over at least a decade. Registry with the Flag Institute may form part of this evidence, but is not enough on its own.
Where a flag is included in an article, it should be placed in the body, with appropriate accompanying text explaining its origin and use. If the flag warrants a standalone article, make sure this is wikilinked.
I'm still not convinced about including flags in the infobox. Even the most popular aren't official, and the infoboxes of several types of county are, strictly speaking, about them as official administrative units. Putting them in the body seems like a reasonable compromise – I'd note that I did the same with the various council coats of arms and that's caused barely an issue. Flags just seem to be a more emotive topic, which I can understand. A.D.Hope (talk) 20:15, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You omit my (3a) adoption by a county council etc. Is that because you wouldn't see that as sufficient evidence, or because you know that no councils etc have ever adopted flags, or something else? NebY (talk) 20:58, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Not intentionally; I intended my comment as a general setting out of my position, rather than a direct response to you.
However, as far as I'm aware no council has fully adopted one of the flags in popular use. They largely don't need to, as if they need a flag they can fly a banner of arms of their own coat of arms. Lancashire County Council, for example, sometimes flies its banner of arms from County Hall in Preston.
Having said that, the 'popular flag' has been flown on Lancashire Day. I'd possibly characterise this as 'recognition' rather than 'adoption'. A.D.Hope (talk) 21:07, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So your preferred outcome amounts to no flags in county infoboxes and probably only Cornwall's in the article body, unless sources found describing a flag's "widespread, popular use over a decade"? (Sources found seemingly satisfy this condition for Cornwall.) Rupples (talk) 22:02, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Well, flags other than Cornwall's will almost certainly make the cut. Speaking anecdotally, I've seen Yorkshire and Lancashire many times 'in the wild', as well as several of the Welsh flags. Essex and Kent's also have fairly long histories.
The intent isn't to exclude flags for the sake of it, but for our coverage of them to reflect their status. The bar for inclusion isn't that high – there are quite a lot of articles like this about Lancashire flag being flown. A.D.Hope (talk) 22:28, 25 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Your proposed wording places a bar on article content but gives no clear reason — unlike the infobox "ban" guidance which gave the sound reason that its context could be misleading without further explanation in the article body. Whether the flag is recent or has a longer history is neither here nor there. Take Aberdeenshire (historic), a recently designed flag, at the behest of the lord-lieutenant: its design and how it came into being is explained and reported on in reliable sources, e.g.[1]. Why exclude it from the article body? At present, I agree with your second paragraph because this would help stop random placements of flags in articles with no context added, but disagree with the first stipulation. I fail to see why it's thought necessary or desirable for flag images to have to pass this additional bar for inclusion. Rupples (talk) 01:21, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Guidelines shouldn't explain their reasoning, in my opinion, as their purpose is to be instructions rather than essays. I added an explanation to the current infobox guidance as a compromise, but a link to the discussion which led to the guideline would be my preference.
Aberdeenshire's flag looks to be a 'Flag Institute' flag which involved the Lord Lieutenant and the Lord Lyon in its design competition. It isn't the Lord Lieutenant's flag and, as far as I can tell, it hasn't been officially registered with the Lord Lyon. It might catch on in popular use or it might not, but it's only been ten months since it was chosen so it's impossible to tell what will happen in the long term. A.D.Hope (talk) 08:56, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
What's the intention here; is it to put forward a single suggested guideline to a formal RfC or to offer a number of options? Rupples (talk) 19:56, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That is part of the reason for a workshop phase. To see what is needed. However, an RfC must be stated simply. The number of options should be small. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 21:55, 26 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion seems to have moved on from county flag images in infoboxes to a wider guideline (or instruction according to A.D.Hope in a reply to me above). The default position would prohibit all flag images from the infobox as well as depictions of flags and related text from the body of county articles (ceremonial, historical and others) unless an exception is gained through consensus or there is a pre-determined exemption in the guideline. Is this a reasonable summary/conclusion of what contributors to this discussion are seeking? Rupples (talk) 14:03, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It would make sense to expand the discussion to county flags in general, I think. In terms of what is being sought, on my part I'd prefer a guideline phrased to allow any flag to be included in the article body which meets the criteria of being reliably shown to be in widespread use. I would not support flags in the infobox.
Just to note, all I meant above is that the guideline should be written as an instruction rather than getting bogged down in the whys and wherefores. It should also link to the upcoming RfC, to allow later editors to easily read it and understand the reasoning behind the guideline. That's just my preference, I'm happy to go with the general consensus. A.D.Hope (talk) 15:07, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Widespread use or popularity as the determining factor for inclusion in the article body is I think unworkable and an unnecessary restriction on article content. Rupples (talk) 19:25, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It was not my intention that we would extend the guideline to page content. In general I am wary of a guideline that says what is and what is not legitinate content for a page. That should be a decision for page editors. Guidelines could suggest, but I don't think they should prohibit. Infoboxes, however, are misunderstood and often way too much is shoehorned into them. They lack context and they are not meant to be a substitute for page content. Let's stick to the infobox guidelines. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 20:49, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not necessarily opposed to your position on prohibiting page content, but I expect the arguments for or against a flag will be similar from article to article. On that basis I think a general guideline would be useful, rather than having lots of little discussions across the many county articles. It's not even a proper prohibition – guidelines aren't binding and WP:IAR always applies, after all. A.D.Hope (talk) 22:08, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It is interesting you say I expect the arguments for or against a flag will be similar from article to article. I'm not aware of existing arguments/reversions/edit wars over flag images/text placed in the county article bodies — I recall querying this with you in the first discussion and from memory your reply was the problem was confined to inappropriate flags being placed in the infoboxes. Rupples (talk) 23:19, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Is it interesting? There hasn't been any attempt to remove flags from the article bodies, so why would there have been any discussion, reversions, or edit wars? A.D.Hope (talk) 23:32, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Great to hear there's been no attempt to remove flags and associated text from the article bodies and hence no disruption. On the first question, the reply is not only interesting, but revealing: - I think a general guideline would be useful, rather than having lots of little discussions across the many county articles. Rupples (talk) 00:56, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
In what sense revealing? I'm not trying to hide anything about my intentions, so if you have a concern please do say. I'll do my best to address it :) A.D.Hope (talk) 01:11, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
My last two replies state my concern, plus the fact we're now rehashing roughly the same arguments as the first discussion. To illustrate, there was a problem with infobox collages because certain editors were adding too many images, some of which were difficult to view and of poor quality. A guideline to prevent this was discussed, agreed and successfully implemented and led to a much improved set of images that benefited the county articles. The context issue about ceremonial county infobox flags was reasonable grounds for putting in that guideline. There isn't the same problem with flags in county article bodies because there's space for a sourced narrative to explain and describe the image. The situation seems stable so a guideline is unnecessary, restrictive and imposition of changes may lead to instability for seemingly no tangible benefit. That's it :) Rupples (talk) 08:02, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
My personal feeling is that, although the situation is stable, if a flag doesn't really exist outside the Flag Institute's flag registry then it shouldn't be in the encyclopedia; it's a bit misleading for us to imply it's used to represent a county when it isn't (or only rarely is) in practice.
At the moment I'm reluctant to get into a full discussion about the above, because this isn't the RfC, just the bit before an RfC, and it would be tiring to go over the same topic twice. I also don't mind if the RfC doesn't cover flags in the body, as often a narrowly-focussed discussion has more chance of success than a broad one. A.D.Hope (talk) 08:21, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If we're discussing raising the bar on including flags at all to basically WP:GNG itself, then List of British flags, Flags of cities, towns and villages in the United Kingdom and List of English flags#Ceremonial counties which relies on the Flag Institute, as well as other database sources, should be re-done and possibly largely cut. And as mentioned in the first discussion many flag articles going to AfD, with the remaining justifying using the flag at all. I've seen fictitious flags added to articles over the past few years, as well as very limited used ones, like banners of arms for a council made to represent the place, like Colchester (there for a short time). The Flag Institute while not evidence of "officiality", does display the flag clearly to verify its design over possible WP:UGC, so valued but yes not indicative of use. But if we are being more critical of actual and recognised use, maybe flags should be removed entirely unless overwhelmingly proven they are commonly used (evidenced by an strong article), which may be rare (in "official" use).
Of course, such would be controversial, and I think it goes overboard on any real benefit, but there should be some guideline on flags overall too, to stop fictictious or rarely used flags being added, which isn't helped by the fact they are file named "flag of" on commons pushing fictional flags to the top of search results. The Flag Institute is at least respected and only uses flags that at least are recognised somewhat, so probably why it became the "official unofficial" source at this point. DankJae 14:25, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think these are all valid points which are worth discussing more fully. I'll hold back for now, though, as I don't want to pre-empt the RfC any more than I already have. A.D.Hope (talk) A.D.Hope (talk) 14:34, 28 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure how else we could do it, if we're trying to apply some sort of standard. The flags are not official and registration with the Flag Institute isn't enough to warrant inclusion, so evidence of actual use is the main measure we have left.
I don't think it's unworkable. For the Lancashire flag, for example, there are several news articles about it being flown in various parts of the historic county. That's all we really need in terms of proof. A.D.Hope (talk) 21:56, 27 February 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Is Cornwall the only British ceremonial county with a flag in its infobox? GoodDay (talk) 22:59, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Ceremonial counties are really an English thing, and to my knowledge Cornwall is the only English ceremonial county article which currently has a flag in its infobox. The remainder were mostly removed by myself, the last after the discussion which led to the guideline being amended to prohibit infobox flags.
Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland were not affected by that discussion. The flags registered for the historic counties of Scotland and Wales are often used in the infobox of whichever article covers the historic county, typically either an article about the historic county (e.g. Flintshire (historic), Aberdeenshire (historic)) or the contemporary local government area which covers its area (e.g. Pembrokeshire, East Lothian). To my knowledge the articles about the Northern Irish counties don't contain flags, but it's not my area of expertise. A.D.Hope (talk) 23:29, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Although Wales and Scotland also have lieutenancies just as per the ceremonial counties of England. The terminology differs though. In Wales these are the preserved counties, and in Scotland they are lieutenancy areas. Yorkshire, Sussex and Middlesex were ceremonial counties, but their lieutenancies are extinguished, making them historical. They do have flags. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 00:07, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Although another big difference between England and Wales is that the ceremonial counties of England are, for a large part, also the administrative counties, whereas the preserved counties of Wales are not. So yes, there is a difference between England and Wales. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 00:13, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The link to the lieutenancy areas/ceremonial counties is a bit misleading. In England we use the lieutenancy areas as the basis for our county articles, but it's a matter of convenience as much as anything – they're in current (albeit fairly minor) use and quite stable, unlike the other sorts of county.
It's (mostly) the historic counties which have had flags designed for them, it just happens that when it comes to England many of the ceremonial county articles also cover the historic county and so are where a flag representing the historic county should be included. A.D.Hope (talk) 00:21, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Because there is no such thing as Cornwall county, that tag was removed some years ago and legally “The whole territorial interest and dominion of the Crown in and over the entirety of Cornwall is vested in the Duke of Cornwall”, confirming that Cornwall has a separate Head of State from the remainder of the UK. This was upheld in the High Court in 1855, during the Duchy v Crown Foreshore dispute, and again as recently as 2011.
“Although Cornwall is de facto administered by England, a formal de jure joinder of Cornwall and England has never taken place.” (G.D Flather, Queen’s Counsel attached to the Boundary Commission 1988). (talk) 08:18, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The definition of a ceremonial county (see Ceremonial counties of England for references) is an area for which a lord-lieutenant is appointed. Cornwall is very much one of those (see https://lordlieutenantofcornwall.org.uk/) so for the purposes we're talking about, it is a county. Indeed that website refers to Cornwall as a county lots of times, as I'm sure many others do too. That's not to take anything away from what you're saying though - there are lots of reasons why Cornwall is a bit of a special case. WaggersTALK 11:56, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Not to take anything away from Cornwall, but is it that much of a special case? In terms of governance it's almost identical to any other English county, and it has less autonomy than combined authorities with devolution deals. The existence of the Duchy of Cornwall is a difference, but we don't treat Lancashire as a special case because of the Duchy of Lancaster.
I'm just concerned about presenting Cornwall, as far as possible, as it actually is, rather than giving undue prominence to minority positions such as the county having a separate head of state to the rest of England. A.D.Hope (talk) 12:04, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Recommend shutting down the RFC at Cornwall & (when ready) opening up an RFC here, with two options. Have flags in all British ceremonial county pages' infoboxes or Remove flags from all British ceremonial county pages' infoboxes. Consistency is required. GoodDay (talk) 00:24, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

That was largely the previous discussion, and now its being tested. Plus it's only "English" as ceremonial counties are treated differently in Scotland and Wales, and a Britain-wide guideline wouldn't work, ceremonial counties in Wales do not have flags, they don't exist. The main issue that started the debate was many of the flags are likely for historic counties not strictly the succeeding "ceremonial counties", how strict we should overlap the two is the main issue up for debate, as well as recognising modern usage. DankJae 00:39, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We can't have a flag on all ceremonial counties as not all ceremonial counties have a flag. For instance, see this answer regarding a flag for Greater London [2]. I think the RfC options could be:
  1. Status quo
  2. Remove the recently added guideline regarding flags, allowing flags in all county infoboxes, but not mandating. A matter for page editors.
  3. Extend the prohibition of flags in infoboxes to all county articles of all types in England [optionally: and Scotland and Wales]
  4. Replace the guidance with something like "flags in county infoboxes are discouraged, but may be included when an editor consensus at the page demonstrates sufficient sourcing of a flag that is recognised and used in the county, and displayed and associated with the county by its people."
That last one would definitely allow Shetland and Cornwall to continue having a flag on their article. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 08:34, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Is option (4) not a more detailed version of option (2)? I'm a bit wary of offering three general options and one which is detailed, it seems unbalanced. A.D.Hope (talk) 09:22, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I am happy to cut any unnecessary options, but there is a difference. 2 removes any mention of flags in infoboxes, whereas 4 would suggest they should be avoided unless there is strong reason not to. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 09:44, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, I see the difference now. Maybe option (4) should be rephrased something like 'Amend the guideline to discourage flags in county infoboxes, but allow them by editor consensus'. The aim is for all the options to follow the same format, if you see what I mean. A.D.Hope (talk) 09:48, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, that's fine. The discussion above mentions the quality of sourcing though. I would like to capture that. Sirfurboy🏄 (talk) 10:01, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It might be worth having a second discussion about that, or even having that discussion first – decide if we need a guideline about which flags should be in the articles, and then where they should go. A.D.Hope (talk) 11:14, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
To flesh out the above, I'd suggest:
  • A discussion (not necessarily an RfC) about how we use county flags, paying particular attention to flags which have been added to the encyclopedia because they're registered with the Flag Institute, but for which there is not much evidence of actual use.
  • The infoboxes RfC
  • Using the outcome of both of the above to help resolve the original dispute at Talk:Cornwall
I appreciate that the above adds an extra step, but does it seem reasonable to you? If the wider 'flag legitimacy' (for want of a better phrase) debate isn't resolved before the infobox discussion then I predict it overshadowing the latter and making it more difficult to reach a conclusion. A.D.Hope (talk) 17:50, 4 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion outline

Yesterday, Sirfurboy and myself had a chat on their talk page about how to proceed with the discussion, and we've come up with a bit of a plan:

While the addition of a discussion before the RfC will make the process longer, clarifying what we're actually debating is necessary to help the RfC stay on-track; these discussions can get a bit unwieldy otherwise, as I'm sure many of us are aware.

The first discussion will be opened this weekend, and will be publicised on related talk pages to encourage a broad input of views. Cheers, A.D.Hope (talk) 09:22, 9 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

It might be an idea to notify Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Heraldry and vexillology about these discussions, once they are set up. Rupples (talk) 22:17, 9 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, Rupples. I've now notified heraldry and vexillology, and I've also notified the four national WikiProjects and the talk page of Cornwall, since the latter is where the overall debate started. If you can think of anywhere else to publicise the discussion please let me know and I'll do so. A.D.Hope (talk) 11:21, 10 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Good stuff! Thought of the vexillology project as comments from that quarter might bring a different perspective. Don't think it's necessary to place a notice on each county project — quite a few seem inactive. The ones that might be worth notifying individually are the historic counties such as Yorkshire, Middlesex, Sussex and those where the flag has been in existence for a long time, Kent springs to mind. Perhaps scan through List of United Kingdom flags#Counties for the more "traditional" ones — no obligation though. It's a bit of a minefield, take Cheshire the wikilink above says in the Date column, 2013, yet List of English flags#Historic counties states 1938 and Bedfordshire says 2014 and 1951. Rupples (talk) 12:51, 10 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Acton Bridge copyright

Acton Bridge#History says This section is adapted (with permission) from Snapshots in Time, with a deadlink reference. The copyright issue with this was raised 9 years ago on the talk page to no response. Can anyone access this book and (a) determine if it is legitimately CC BY-SA 4.0 compatible and (b) if not, resummarise and rewrite the information in the book (if it's a reliable source) to avoid copyright violation? — Bilorv (talk) 13:10, 3 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

There's a bit more information on the book at http://www.pardoe.net/abo/abwibook.htm but not enough to answer those questions. WaggersTALK 12:02, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Okay. I've blanked this material as its compatibility is unclear and I'm also not confident how relevant and encyclopedic it is. — Bilorv (talk) 12:07, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Royalty categories and places

Requesting comment on a cross-discipline categorisation dispute at Talk:Crook o' Lune#Queen categories; may have wider application than this project (suggestions welcome), but I thought I'd ask here first. Dave.Dunford (talk) 23:07, 5 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Have to say I agree with you, these are definitely trivia at best. Give there appears to be no reliable sources that say the events mentioned actually happened, its unverifiable. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 11:52, 6 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]


There has been some discussion on the inclusion criteria for wards, see User talk:Davidstewartharvey#Westborough Ward as well as Wikipedia talk:WikiProject UK geography/Archive 29#Wards v settlements, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Politics of the United Kingdom/Archive 10#Proposed deletion of all articles on local government subdivisions wards, divisions etc. and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Chalkwell Ward. @Davidstewartharvey, Onel5969, Keith D, Eopsid, Sparkle1, Editing with Eric, Rjensen, RexxS, DuncanHill, Sionk, Mutt Lunker, Elmidae, Crowsus, Doktorbuk, Pigsonthewing, Ralbegen, Peter James, MapReader, Barkeep49, Mccapra, DELETEDUSER4562910, and Number 57: from these discussions.

The question is if wards are notable or not and if they should have separate articles from settlements or parishes of the same name. As we know counties have articles and are always notable like Essex, districts are always notable and generally have separate articles from the settlement of the same name like Maldon/Maldon District and parishes are always notable (except perhaps pre 1974 urban parishes) but are combined with a settlement of the same name like Waltham Abbey. However wards may not be considered notable like these per WP:GEOLAND as they don't have their own local government but to preform electoral roles. GEOLAND excludes things like census tracts but as was pointed out in the proposal to delete all wards that wards are not census tracts. I'll propose the list of options below about inclusion. Sometimes it may be best to decide on a case by case basis due to article size etc.


Please case you're !votes and other discission here. Crouch, Swale (talk) 00:05, 7 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

D. Not independently notable, much too subject to change, often retaining the same name but with different CPs, even neighbourhoods. Belong as subsections in the relevant LA page. --𝕁𝕄𝔽 (talk) 23:28, 7 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
D. I've noticed a few wards pages as I've been working on the pages for districts and elections, and I've always thought they're an odd thing to have pages for. Whilst not census tracts in terms of WP:GEOLAND, they are analogous to them. The boundaries are reviewed every few years because the overarching objective is electoral equality, not community identity. Even where they share a name with a geographic community (village / suburb etc.), the ward will only rarely and co-incidentally be a good fit for the community. A page about a ward is therefore inherently contrived - there's not much you can say about it other than the election results, which can be quite adequately covered on the local authority elections pages. Stortford (talk) 20:57, 9 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

County flags: discussion 1

This discussion is primarily about which flags we include in the county articles. 'County articles' can be interpreted broadly to include the various county-level administrative subdivisions and the ceremonial/lieutenancy divisions across the United Kingdom. The overarching purpose is to decide whether we can create a consistent inclusion criteria for county flags, and if so whether this should be formalised as a guideline.

There are two issues which we could do with clarifying. The first is what to do about flags which have some recognition, but which are not in widespread use. This is closely related to the Flag Institute and its UK Flag Registry, which is our source for many county flags; although it has registered flags for many counties, they're not all widely used. Does a county flag belong in a given county article if it isn't actually flown in that county?

The second issue is how to handle flags which represent a different area to that which the article is about, for example where an English ceremonial county article also covers the historic county. Flag Institute flags, in particular, explicitly represent the historic counties rather than the current ones. The solution seems obvious – just specify the type of county a flag represents in the body text and image caption – but it would be good to gain consensus on this.

Let the discussion begin! A.D.Hope (talk) 10:47, 10 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion A: flag inclusion

Discussion B: flag areas

General discussion

I see flags as relatively harmless, and I'd give them attention appropriate to the level of local adoption they have. In areas where you often see the flag when out and about (e.g. Cornwall, Devon, Northumberland) they probably warrant a bit more discussion. In other areas (I'm regularly in Berkshire but don't think I've ever seen its flag flying in the wild), less attention is probably due, although I'd still mention it briefly and include an image if there was some involvement from locals in producing it. I haven't looked into the background to all the county flags, but if there are any modern creations which have only been adopted by an unofficial enthusiasts' body like the Flag Institute, perhaps not worth mentioning.

I'd also bear in mind that most of the county pages are in fact multi-purpose - the Essex page covers the various definitions of the county, including its historic, non-metropolitan and ceremonial definitions, despite there being territorial differences between those definitions. (I don't like how prominently the article insists on it being a "ceremonial county" in the lead when the article also covers the other definitions - sounds like we're having to use the qualifier because it isn't any other kind of county, which isn't true - but that's a wider discussion.) For such multi-purpose articles, I'd be happy to see the flag included even if it strictly speaking was only adopted for one of the definitions, with appropriate caption or footnote to clarify. If it's only the Flag Institute who says it doesn't apply to a particular definition, I'd treat that restriction as being their view but not binding - in my own home county of Hertfordshire the county flag is routinely flown outside County Hall, and I suspect the county council would be non-plussed at a suggestion that it needs a footnote under it saying ignore this if you're from Potter Bar or the northern bits of Royston. Stortford (talk) 20:44, 13 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I'd generally agree with Stortford above. The constant addition and removal of the flags from the few county articles I follow a bit tiresome, to be honest, and I'm not really convinced by the argument that "the article is about this particular definition of the county, whereas the flag applies to this definition" – the articles generally cover all definitions of the county in question. For the record, the Derbyshire flag (where I live) is fairly well known and well used. Dave.Dunford (talk) 09:28, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
On your first paragraph, it's worth mentioning that a lot of the county flags are modern creations; some only really exist in the Flag Institute's registry, others have been adopted more widely. The dates they were created can usually be found through the Flag Institute itself or British County Flags. I am a bit sceptical of some of the Institute's dates, but their veracity can be considered on an article-by-article basis; we're more concerned with the overall principle.
I broadly agree with your second paragraph, which echoes what I wrote above. When a flag is included we should clarify the area it's supposed to represent. For Hertfordshire, I believe this would mean explaining that the flag is the county council's banner of arms, which it has released for general use. This presumably means that it represents the area of the non-metropolitan county governed by Hertfordshire County Council. A.D.Hope (talk) 11:31, 14 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Minster town

Seeking second opinions on whether 'minster town' is a term that people would expect to see as the primary description in the lead or short description for towns which have a minster church. To me it sounds contrived. It's trying to emulate the well-used term 'cathedral city', but I don't think it's a term in common usage; it feels like it only turns up in quite niche contexts. It was removed from the lead on Reading a while ago following a talk where users noted that it turns up more in crossword clues than day to day life. @DragonofBatley added it to a handful of places in 2020, mostly in Yorkshire. Having recently stumbled across these, I have taken the term out. There's nothing wrong with mentioning the minster church later in the lead and article, but 'minster town' grates, especially for larger towns where the minster church isn't the main thing for which they're known. Dragon has now reverted my edits to Rotherham, Dewsbury, Halifax and Howden - rather than start a separate discussion on each town's page, thought it better to get overarching views here. Many thanks. Stortford (talk) 07:42, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

A good idea to bring the discussion here rather than on/in many articles. I agree with the idea that it can be mentioned in the article but not necessarily as a lead, as once it may have had more importance as a description that today. Wikipedia does not have an individual article Minster Town but has Minster (church) where "The Church of England has designated additional minsters in the 20th and 21st centuries, by adding an honorific title to existing parish churches." see Minster_(church)#Late-20th-_and_21st-century_additions Edmund Patrick confer 08:32, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Minster is these days a type of bestowement placed on a church or on a cathedral by the Church of England. There is only 31 I believe. I can't see why they can't be in lead, as much as Cathedral city, as a cathedral is just a bestowement too. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 08:33, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It is not a term in common use and has no particular relevance to the town. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 08:45, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You could say the same about the term Cathedral City? Especially as not everywhere that has a cathedral is actually a city. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 10:09, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If it s not a city, eg Guildford, then it can't be described as an <anything> city. a Cathedral is a form of minster. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 10:31, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not saying that we don't mention the minster - more that "X is a minster town" as the first sentence in many cases feels like the wrong emphasis, and 'minster town' in particular isn't a well-recognised term. Even for places which are cities and have cathedrals we don't always start with "X is a cathedral city" if the cathedral isn't one of the main features for which they're known - e.g. Manchester, Bristol, Portsmouth. My wording on Howden kept the minster in the opening paragraph of the lead, but I moved it to a separate sentence at the end of the paragraph: "Howden is a market town... It is known for Howden Minster, one of the largest churches in the East Riding." That's now been changed back to "Howden is a minster and market town..." For places like Rotherham where the parish church has only been elevated to minster status relatively recently, I'd suggest the minster status of the church is a much less notable point for further down the article rather than being a defining characteristic of the overall town to go at the top of the lead. Stortford (talk) 11:40, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with your approach. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 12:02, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Minster town" is not a description in widespread use AFAICS so I wouldn't use it in the lead. Rupples (talk) 09:19, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I would not apply it in the lead to the towns where the honorific title has been recently added to parish churches. I thought the term applied to historic places with minster as part of the name such as Axminster. Esemgee (talk) 09:20, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Nothing comes up when searching "minster town", so not a commonly used term, probably best removed. Plus it having a minster is not connected to it being a town, nor is it a common status like "market town", while "cathedral city" is more used and relates to it being awarded city status because of it, whereas towns aren't towns because of a minster. Although the same could be applied to using "port city" or "university town"? Although those are known terms and more of prevalent features than a minster. It having a minster can be mentioned in another sentence in the body or lead depending on its importance to the subject. DankJae 13:48, 16 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Personally I'd avoid using all such terms, in the same way we avoid using size or economic descriptors like 'large village' or 'affluent suburb'. If an area's port, minster, or university is notable then it will probably be mentioned in the lead anyway. A.D.Hope (talk) 09:29, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, "Minster town" is not a generally used term and should not be in the lead sentence. Leeds has a Minster, though only since 2012, but is not thought of by anyone as a "minster town". PamD 07:45, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

County town

Quite a lot of the (English?) county articles list the county town in the lead paragraph, but is the concept of a county town too ill-defined to be included in this position? The county town article isn't well-sourced, and it's difficult to find reliable sources when there's a dispute, e.g, Lancaster vs Preston for Lancashire.

Wales and Scotland tend to list the 'administrative centre' instead, which is relatively straightforward as this is simply where the unitary council is based. This could work in England where a ceremonial county contains a single unitary area, but those are relatively few in number (Northumberland, Herefordshire, Rutland..?)

Would it be easier to just list the largest settlement? A.D.Hope (talk) 10:16, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

This is a good question. The problem is defined on another site "The county towns were always important, and you can see that many counties are named after their county town. They were the administrative centre for local government, the market town, and the largest town in the county. However, local government has been reorganised more than once, and now the county towns are not necessarily the adminstrative centre of the county." Davidstewartharvey (talk) 10:43, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The largest settlement is not necessarily the administrative centre either, see Winchester and Reigate for example. Listing the admin centre is probably more important than the largest settlement.Murgatroyd49 (talk) 10:48, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Thinking about it, should we not just state what was the traditional county town was, and if different what is the current administrative centre? Davidstewartharvey (talk) 10:58, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Which is what some articles do. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 11:02, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not proposing listing the largest settlement as the administrative centre, just continuing to list the largest settlement because that information is easily sourced. Sometimes identifying the administrative centre can be tricky – for Lancashire would we list Preston, Blackpool, and Blackburn, or include the boroughs? I'm not sure it's a door I want to open! A.D.Hope (talk) 11:00, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If it is debatable, leave it out. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 11:07, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That would mean removing all of the current references to county towns in the article leads, I think. I'm quite comfortable with that. A.D.Hope (talk) 11:13, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, not what I meant, if, in individual cases the county town is debatable, leave it out of that article. Not a general prohibiton on including it in all cases. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 11:26, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That's what I mean – it's debatable in pretty much every case because it's difficult to find sources which definitively state what a county's county town is. I just don't think that they have the relevance they perhaps had in the past. A.D.Hope (talk) 11:34, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Neither does market town have any modern relevance, but it is still part of the historical fabric of the town. Murgatroyd49 (talk) 11:38, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Possibly something for the 'history' or 'economy' section, then? A.D.Hope (talk) 11:52, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
When Lancaster became a city in May 1937 it was described as a market town, municipal borough and county town in the Lancaster Parliamentary division of Lancashire. A search for Lancaster county town at the BNA search page brings up lots of results but I don't have a subscription so I can't reference it. Esemgee (talk) 14:54, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We don't need a blanket rule for everything. A lot of these will be case-by-case and for most counties there's very little contention about where the traditional county town is - which might or might not be the same as the administrative centre but, again, that can be dealt with case by case. A bit of controversy in Lancashire shouldn't mean we suddenly have to remove mentions of county towns from all other articles. WaggersTALK 15:13, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think the issue is more than 'a bit of contention in Lancashire', Waggers. It increasingly seems that it's only a minority of counties where the county town can be identified or where it isn't contentious. A.D.Hope (talk) 15:24, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Even so, in the cases where the county town is well defined and verifiable, it would be unhelpful to have a general rule saying that we shouldn't include it. WaggersTALK 15:28, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not proposing a general rule, just pointing out that mentioning the county town doesn't serve much of a purpose even where it can be identified. A.D.Hope (talk) 15:32, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Would it be easier to just list the largest settlement?" sounds like a general rule proposal to me. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you were asking. WaggersTALK 15:33, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Possibly, it was more a discussion point than a proposal. The most I can see happening is removing the instruction to include the county town from the county guidelines, but I'm not particularly bothered about that. A.D.Hope (talk) 15:41, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think that, in any case where there's a dispute (e.g. Lancashire – see Talk:Lancaster, Lancashire#County town? ), we shouldn't mention "county town" in the lead. It could be mentioned later in the article where we have more space to explain the nature of the dispute, but Wikipedia shouldn't take sides.  Dr Greg  talk  11:26, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, Dr Greg. A.D.Hope (talk) 11:52, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Dr Greg. In the handful of cases where it's unambiguous (Oxford, Norwich, Hereford etc.) no harm in putting it in lead. Where there's any debate or nuance to explain, unpack the issue more carefully in the body of the article. The County town article would also benefit from a fuller explanation of why certain towns were routinely claimed to be county towns - at the moment it's rather unsatisfactory for essentially saying "it's all a bit ill-defined, but here's a list of claimants to be county towns anyway". Stortford (talk) 19:28, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If you can find a source saying 'Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire' I'd be very grateful, as I'm coming up short. In the absence of one I don't think that we can even state the county town in unambiguous cases – it may be better to just say that Oxfordshire County Council and the Crown Court sit in Oxford, either in the lead or elsewhere in the body. A.D.Hope (talk) 19:33, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Plenty of sources say Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911 comes up from a quick look) - the difficulty we have is that many of those sources don't show their workings as to what they meant by the term. For my own understanding I suppose I'm seeing it as something of a Venn diagram. Places which give their names to a county, places which hosted the assizes, places where knights of the shire were elected, and places where the county council has been based all seem to have been used historically to identify the county town. In cases where those definitions all coalesce on the same place, I don't see the harm in describing it as the county town in the lead. In other cases, a bit more explanation will be necessary in the body of the article. Stortford (talk) 19:48, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The 1911 Britannica is too outdated for our purposes, I think. A source which uses the current local government boundaries would be better. It's worth noting that Britannica no longer seems to mention county towns at all – Oxford is called the 'county seat', but Norwich isn't given any special title.
My understanding is that we shouldn't be trying to puzzle it out at all. If we can't find a reliable and reasonably contemporary source for the county towns then the best thing is to leave them out of a contemporary overview of the county. We could always us Britannica in the 'history' section, something like 'In 1911, the county town was considered to be Oxford'. A.D.Hope (talk) 19:56, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Oxford of 1852 says it was the county town[6] as do the Association of British Counties. As dirs the Oxfird English dictionary[7] Davidstewartharvey (talk) 19:49, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The 1979 Victoria History of Oxford [8] Davidstewartharvey (talk) 19:53, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure about the other sources, but the VCH could work.
My concern now is whether the county towns are worth including in general, as they seem to be fairly nebulous. We can include things like the largest settlement, administrative centre, and a county's historic towns in other ways. A.D.Hope (talk) 20:09, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
County towns are reasonably commonly referred to in modern usage by media, tourist boards and the like, even if most people don't stop to think precisely what the term means. Perhaps I can pose your Oxford question the other way up - are you aware of any source claiming somewhere else is county town of Oxfordshire? Stortford (talk) 20:33, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not, but that doesn't mean we need to mention the county town. I'm not confident that county towns are commonly referred to – Visit South East England, for example, calls Oxford the 'cultural capital' of Oxfordshire, but not the county town, and Visit England doesn't seem to refer to it as such either. A.D.Hope (talk) 20:37, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
But on this part of the website it calls it the county town - https://www.visitsoutheastengland.com/places-to-visit/oxfordshire/map. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 21:12, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think they should still be there as they are historic. Essex has "The largest settlement is Southend-on-Sea, and the county town is Chelmsford." May be could have a statement like "The largest settlement is Town 1, and the county town was historically town 2. The administrative town is now Town 3" Davidstewartharvey (talk) 20:34, 19 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think a distinction should be made where a county town is absolutely unambiguous e.g. Warwick, Worcester, Stafford, Hereford, Lincoln, ones which have a clear 'traditional' county town, which isn't necessarily the modern administrative centre, e.g. Leicester, Derby, Nottingham. And ones where the position is ambiguous for whatever reason. In those cases it should probably be noted what the 'traditional' county town was and the modern administrative centre(s). G-13114 (talk) 15:00, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Traditional should read historically. Davidstewartharvey (talk) 15:43, 21 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

City population support

Just to check something. When reviewing the Liverpool page I could see that Liverpool 4th largest city in England (per List of towns and cities in England by population) which appears to be using BUA, so I did a head-count that it would be the 5th in the UK. However according to List of cities in the United Kingdom, if we ignore City of London/Westminster as we often do, it is the 9th largest in UK as it is vaulted by other cities because the list is measured by Local Authority area. Are we authoritatively saying that this is the specific size of the city? I ask because over on City of Leeds the wording is toe-ing the line of a technicality per making it technically the second largest city in England by population behind Birmingham, since London is not a single local government entity (as does Sheffield), while Birmingham is going for It is the second-largest city in Britain (never mind the "Second City" claim which includes a sterling source discussing the "Second City Derby" never mentioned within the article), Glagow confidently just states the third-most populous city in the United Kingdom while Bradford vaguely shakes a fist at the fourth-most populous metropolitan district and the sixth-most populous local authority district in England, Edinburgh meanwhile apparently can't count making it the second-most populous city in Scotland and the seventh-most populous in the United Kingdom (it's 8th). Can we agree a few things:

Just in case of any confusion, the "Top 10" list should be:

  1. London
  2. Birmingham
  3. Leeds
  4. Glasgow
  5. Manchester
  6. Sheffield
  7. Bradford
  8. Edinburgh
  9. Liverpool
  10. Bristol

Thanks all. Koncorde (talk) 00:25, 5 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]