Historical and alternative regions of England
England is divided by a number of different regional schemes for various purposes. Since the creation of the Government Office Regions in 1994 and their adoption for statistical purposes in 1999, some historical regional schemes have become obsolete. However, many alternative regional designations also exist and continue to be widely used.
Informal and overlapping regional designations are often used to describe areas of England. They include:
- East Anglia
- The Home Counties
- The Midlands and Mercia, two regions which are sometimes considered interchangeable
- The North of England
- The South of England
- The Thames Valley
- The M4 corridor
- The Welsh Marches
- The West Country and Wessex, two regions which are often considered interchangeable
- The West of England, a smaller region within the West Country
Historic counties, no longer used as units for administrative purposes, have continued to be widely recognised as location reference points and cultural regions, significant in sport and used by many organisations as regional units.
Britain in Bloom regions
Britain in Bloom divides England into 12 regions. They are broadly the same as the government office regions, except that Cumbria is a region in itself, the North East is named Northumbria and South East England is divided into three – Thames and Chilterns, Southern England and a rump South East England.
The National Trust has 10 regional offices in England. These are
- Devon and Cornwall – part of the official South West region
- East of England – as region
- East Midlands – as region
- North East England – North East England and Yorkshire and the Humber
- North West England – as region
- Thames and Solent – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, London, Oxfordshire, Hampshire
- South East England – East Sussex, Kent, Surrey, West Sussex
- West Midlands – as region
- Wessex – South West England without Devon and Cornwall
After the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, the area now known as England became divided into seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex. A number of other smaller political divisions and sub-kingdoms existed. The kingdoms were eventually united into the Kingdom of England in a process beginning with Egbert of Wessex in 829 and completed by King Edred in 954.
During The Protectorate, Oliver Cromwell experimented with the Rule of the Major-Generals. There were ten regional associations covering England and Wales administered by major-generals. Ireland under Major-General Henry Cromwell, and Scotland under Major-General George Monck were in administrations already agreed upon and were not part of the scheme.
World War II
|In the Second World War, England was divided into ten civil defence regions:
Economic planning regions
- Northern – Cumberland, Durham, North Riding of Yorkshire, Northumberland, Westmorland
- North-West – Cheshire, Lancashire, High Peak area of Derbyshire
- Yorkshire and Humberside – East Riding of Yorkshire, West Riding of Yorkshire – Lincolnshire, Parts of Lindsey
- East Midlands – Derbyshire (minus High Peak), Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Parts of Holland, Lincolnshire, Parts of Kesteven, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland
- West Midlands – Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire
- South West – Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire
- South East – Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Greater London, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Sussex
- East Anglia – Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, Huntingdon and Peterborough
Standard statistical regions
Before the adoption of the government office regions for statistics, there were eight 'standard statistical regions':
- North – current North East plus Cumbria
- North West – current North West less Cumbria
- Yorkshire and Humberside – as current Yorkshire and The Humber
- West Midlands – as now
- East Midlands – as now
- East Anglia – Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire
- South West – as now
- South East – as now, plus Greater London, Bedfordshire, Essex, and Hertfordshire
Civil defence regions
The present government office regions closely resemble Civil Defence Regions. During the latter part of the Cold War, the United Kingdom was divided into 11 such regions, most of which were divided themselves into sub-regions. The regions were numbered as shown in the list, numbers for sub-regions were of the form 11.
The regions were based on pre-Second World War regions, but were substantially altered in the 1970s, with the merger of South East and Southern regions, and alterations in the north. They were again altered in 1984, to merge the English regions 1 and 2 to become a single North East region, and Scotland's two southern regions (East and West Zones) becoming a single South Zone.
From the mid-1980s, the eight English Civil Defence Regions were as follows (using 1974/1975 boundaries):
- North East England
- East Midlands
- East of England
- Greater London – see Civil defence centres in London for sub-regions
- South East England
- South West England
- West Midlands
- North West England
- North East – per North East England
- Yorkshire – per Yorkshire and the Humber
- North West – per North West England, excluding southern Cheshire
- West Midlands – per West Midlands, including southern Cheshire
- East Midlands – per East Midlands, less Northamptonshire and mid Lincolnshire
- South West – per South West England
- East Anglia – Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, northern Essex, southern Lincolnshire
- South East – South East England and Greater London with Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, southern Essex
- e.g. Sussex Day and Sussex Police
- Allen, Liam (1 August 2006). "What's so special about Yorkshire?". BBC. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- Henry Cromwell was nominally under the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Charles Fleetwood, but Fleetwood's departure for England in September 1655 left him for all practical purposes the ruler of Ireland
- Royal, Trevor References; pages 698,699
- Steve Fox. "File 8 Rethinking Regional Government". Subterranea Britannica.