[Talk-GB] 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Nick Whitelegg nick.whitelegg at solent.ac.uk
Wed Aug 8 16:03:56 UTC 2018

I think these things are at least partly a product of what generation you belong to.

I'm of the generation that was too young to remember pre-1974 but was well into my twenties by the next reorganisation. Consequently I think of Manchester as being in Greater Manchester (and that I was both born in and lived the first 5 years or so of my life in Greater Manchester) and Bournemouth as being in Dorset, and not Hampshire.

But, on the other hand, I think of Southampton, where I live now, as firmly in Hampshire even though technically it's not part of HCC.

The only exceptions are that I think of Rutland as Rutland and Herefordshire and Worcestershire as their own counties - and not combined.

Basically, the current "ceremonial counties" correspond very closely to what county I think of something as being in!


From: Colin Spiller <colin at thespillers.org.uk>
Sent: 08 August 2018 16:29:15
To: talk-gb at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Talk-GB] 'historic' county boundaries added to the database

Here in Yorkshire, people are very possessive (if that's the right
word!) about the old county boundary (i.e. pre 1974). Many people are
very aware of the problem (as they see it) that certain parts of
Yorkshire have been transferred to (or 'stolen by') Lancashire, or other
counties. They still think of the 3 Ridings as current in some cases.

And Liverpool and Manchester are still parts of Lancashire according to


On 08/08/18 10:55, Mark Goodge wrote:
> On 07/08/2018 20:48, Dave F wrote:
>> Hi
>> User smb1001 is currently adding county boundary relations with
>> boundary=historic through out the UK:
>> http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/ASf (May take a while to run)
>> Changeset discussion:
>> https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/61410203
>>  From the historic wiki page
>> "historic objects should not be mapped as it is outside of scope of OSM"
>> Frankly I don't buy his comments. The problem is where to stop? Do we
>> have ever iteration of every boundary change since time immemorial?
>> Then what about buildings, roads, or coastline changes etc? The
>> database would become unmanageable for editors (it already is if
>> zoomed out too far).
> I agree that "historic" boundaries don't belong in OSM. They have
> value for historic researchers, but, as you say, that's not what OSM
> is about.
> It's also flat out incorrect to say that historic boundaries are
> "immutable". Although it is true that there were massive changes in
> the 1970s and a lot more since then, the idea that the historic (or
> "traditional") counties were stable throughout history is just
> myth-making. A lot of what people think of as the historic county
> boundaries are, in fact, a Victorian creation. And even they didn't
> leave them alone!
> I do think, though, that there's a case for including the current
> ceremonial and preserved county boundaries. These have a defined and
> relevant meaning here and now, even if it's a less common one than
> administrative boundaries such as counties, districts and parishes.
> Maybe the people adding historic boundaries to OSM could be nudged in
> that direction instead.
> Mark
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Colin Spiller
colin at thespillers.org.uk

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