Letter: Counties lost in mists of history

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The Independent Online
Counties lost in mists of history

Sir: The Victoria County History project (Letters, 3 March) might have a more secure future if the county was still a meaningful concept.

Three decades of reorganisation have left the country with a bewildering array of counties, administrative, civic, geographical, historical, judicial and postal. The new unitary authorities and the abolished county councils further complicate the picture. Maps, guidebooks, listings and the media use different definitions often erroneously and inconsistently. The Post Office, faced with public confusion, has abandoned the county in favour of flexible addressing. Many people no longer know, and will soon no longer care, in which county, if any, they live.

If we wish to preserve the counties as geographical and cultural entities we need a commonly understood definition of what they are. Perhaps the local authority associations, who support the idea of county histories, should provide one and promote its use.

JOHN CUNDILL

London SW15

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