A Conversation for Cheshire, England, UK

Local gov't reorganisation in 1974 - "Old" Cheshire's historic border

Post 1


This was done with the best of motives - to rationalise local government, take out excessive layers of bureaucracy, and make the process cheaper, easier and more accessible all round. On one level it made sense to take the cities of Manchester and Salford and thre urban conurbations surrounding them, and hive them out of Lancashire and Cheshire into a new entity (95% urban) called Greater Manchester. A similar change was done in the west, to create Greater Merseyside. Taken together, Merseyside and Greater Manchester run continuously between the Irish Sea and the Pennines, so that there is no longer - officially - any direct border between Cheshire and Lancashire.

But. The new entity is viewed as arbitrary, making no reference to the long history of what went before, and certainly viewed as having no validity when it comes to county boundaries. Ask anyone from Saddleworth or Todmorden if they live in Greater Manchester, or the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The same applies to Stockport, considered by the vast majority of its residents as still being in Cheshire. And older people still will point to the historic border between Cheshire and Lancashire running right through the middle of the town, delineated by the River Tame to the east and the River Mersey to the west. Indeed, Lancashire Hill, in the centre of the town, historically marks the strategic confluence of three rivers, where the waters could be safely forded. The bottom of the hill is in Cheshire; the top is in Lancashire. Technically speaking, the northern suburbs of Stockport are all in Lancashire: an earlier local government reorganisation in the 18880's put them into Cheshire for convenience' sake, so they could all be administered by Stockport Borough Council and Cheshire County Council. This remained the status quo until 1974.

But ask around: anywhere with an SK postcode (apart from some bits of Derbyshire) is still thought of as being Cheshire. And it was Cheshire, or Lancashire, for a lot longer than it was Greater Manchester....

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Local gov't reorganisation in 1974 - "Old" Cheshire's historic border

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