Historic Counties & Psychoville


Paul Robert Lloyd

Bernard, you’ve found me out!

Actually, I did read up a bit on Bristol (it was originally referred to as a ‘County Corporate’ if I remember correctly) but I omitted going into that level of detail. So in that respect Bristol now being a Unitary Authority (and ‘Ceremonial County’) means it’s returned to a more historically correct position.

However, how would you imagine this being displayed on screen, given that all other locations used a ‘City, County’ model? Bristol is a rare example of being one in the same, but I would imagine certain viewers would find it odd to have Bristol not followed by the name of any county.

Bernard Harte

“Bristol, Avon” irks me too, but I believe you are wrong in saying that “Bristol, Gloucestershire” would be more accurate.

Bristol was granted county status in 1373 and only lost it with the creation of Avon. When Avon was abolished, City and County status was restored to Bristol.

Richard Rutter

Great post Paul - was it perhaps influenced by one of our current clients?

I feel slightly happier that I wasn’t the only one to spot the county inconsistencies in Psychoville (which incidentally should not be taken as a criticism of Psychoville as the letters were written by a character who may well be as confused as the rest of us about such things).


I’m not sure I’d agree completely that old counties are “fixed or predictable” or were ever not “subject to political whims”. We must take the attitude that boundaries, being human structures, are always subject to change, not always for the better, perhaps, but setting them in stone might end up being shortsighted.

Any residents of Salford would have been scandalized by the use of “Salford, Manchester” not merely because it’s historically in Lancashire, but that Salford is a city in its own right, and never has been and never will be a suburb or annexe of Manchester.

Jon Roobottom

A surprisingly interesting read, I may suggest to Katie that we format our wedding address list like this. I’m sure that’ll go down a storm.

You know, each time I visit your site I’m more impressed than the last at the beautiful simplicity of the design. It’s quite an achievement to design something that ‘builds’ in the users mind – each time I find something else I like. The power of good typography I suppose.