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The number of counties has been confused by areas being given unitary status and then being designated as counties. These are, on the whole, not real counties. Some are the equivalent of the old county boroughs - which were part of a geographic county but not an administrative one. Others were detached from a historic county in 1974 and included in a new county, since abolished.

There were 39 historic counties.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Counties_of_England

Almost all of Middlesex and part of several other counties now forms Greater London. I do not see that region being unscrambled.

Cumberland, Westmorland and the northern part of Lancashire were combined into Cumbria. That arrangement seems likely to continue.

The Isle of Wight probably should be regarded as a distinct county. Grouping it with Hampshire makes little sense.

No doubt some counties would form groups, but not all. Cornwall for example has asked to become a region on its own. At a guess a bottom up arrangement might produce about 15 to 25 units, which does not seem too excessive for a country with the population of England.

To know for sure we would have to allow the councils to choose.

by Gary J on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 02:20:40 PM EST
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