Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Crossing the river

Coming off the motorway at Sale the other day, I spotted this sign showing the River Mersey as the historic boundary between the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.

I know people who argue for the restoration of the historic English counties are often Tories but even so I think they have a point.  The objection to the post-1974 metropolitan county of Greater Manchester is not just that it is artificial and has arbitrary boundaries but also that it ignores the Lancashire identity of towns like Bury and Wigan which continue to have their own distinctive accents, cuisine and culture.

I still feel I'm crossing a natural boundary when going over the Mersey.  It's not an accident that many borders around the world are marked by rivers. 

I was born in Manchester when it was still part of Lancashire, support Lancashire County Cricket Club who still play at Old Trafford and look forward to the day when Whitehall comes round to what locals have known all along.


  1. Back in the 1930's, maybe people didn't identify so much with Lancashire:

    "Local patriotism is strong; though the town (incorporated as a borough in 1838, now getting a strong city urge) is one of an endless chain across the north, it in no sense identifies itself with other adjacent towns. It has a culture essentially its own . . ."
    "The Pub and the People" by Mass Observation, 1943 (reprinted 1987), page 18.

    On the other hand, that was written by poshoes.

  2. Sorry, that was talking about Bolton.

  3. I was born in Lancashire, then I was forcibly relocated to Greater Manchester. I will always be a Lancashire lad and always gave my address as Lancashire.