Tuesday 4 January 2011

Kendal - Cumbria or Lancashire?

It's confusing enough living in a county that a lot people don't seem to know exists or where it is but Facebook keep insisting that the town I live in is in Lancashire and not Cumbria! My friend Donna has had enough of this and has formed a group on Facebook to try and get them to fix this geographical inaccuracy.

Here is a map to show how wrong FB are:
Nilfanion, created using Ordnance Survey data

Kendal was the administrative county town of the county of Westmorland from 1888 to 1974. It was listed in the Domesday book as being part of Yorkshire but the historic county of Westmorland had a vast swathe of England and indeed Scotland contained in it. 

In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Westmorland like this:
Westmorland, co. in N. of England; bounded NW. and N. by Cumberland, NE. by Durham, E. by Yorkshire, and S. and SW. by Lancashire and Morecambe Bay; greatest length, N. and S., 32 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 40 miles; area, 500,906 ac., pop. 64,191. Westmorland presents a continuous succession of mountain, moor, and fell, intersected by deep winding vales, traversed by numerous streams. The principal of these are the Eden, Lowther, Lune, and Kent, the last forming the broad estuary which terminates in Morecambe Bay. ...

In 1974 the county of Cumbria was officially created to replace Westmorland and did incorporate a bit of Lancashire that was on the northern side of Morecombe Bay in the Furness area. A group of activists is currently going round replacing Cumbria signs with Westmorland and Lancashire ones on the original boundary.

It is isn't only Facebook that have a problem with Cumbria, I registered on a Montessori website for a competition and they didn't even have the county listed! So if you are passionate about getting the facts right then sign up to the Facebook group and help get the town of Kendal located in the correct county!


  1. Not that there's anything wrong with Lancashire... but I'm totally with you on this one.

    Apparently, I don't live in Lancashire either as I live in Blackburn with Darwen which decided that, even though it's as close to the middle of Lancashire as you can get, they wanted to be independent. We're not supposed to put Lancashire on our address but, being the rebel that I am, I always do!

  2. While I am a Cumbrian at heart, I live somewhere people insist on calling Strathclyde when, in fact, Strathclyde hasn't existed for years.

    I can also dazzle you with another amazing piece of trivia. I was at the top of the Old Man of Coniston on the last day it was the highest mountain in Lancashire in April 1974! (I wasn't very big).


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