Letter: Councils' historic and cultural value can't be ignored

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The Independent Online
Sir: Even though county councils are destined to disappear, as discussed in your recent article, 'Historic councils lose fight for life' (5 September), we must not let our historic counties disappear with them.

Our counties are the essence of Britain's history and heritage. The words Yorkshire, Somerset or Middlesex immediately conjure up precise and much-loved identities. However, people living in these and many other counties are the victims of a huge misunderstanding. For although administrative moves brought about such 'counties' as Avon or Humberside, and changed the county council map, they did not alter the boundaries nor abolish the existence of our traditional geographical counties, whose identities were in some cases 1,500 years old.

The result of these political moves has been that the majority of people now find it difficult to distinguish between an administrative county and an historic county. Consequently, many believe counties such as Cumberland or Rutland no longer exist because the relevant councils have been disbanded.

Of course, the country will have to be divided and redivided for political reasons over the years. Nevertheless, the historic counties should be recognised for the part they play in our country's geography and culture.

Yours faithfully,

ROLAND HAFENRICHTER

London, W1

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