Fake news that’s been doing the rounds since 1965: “Middlesex doesn’t exist.”
Fake news that’s been doing the rounds since 1965: “Middlesex doesn’t exist.” Even Jeremy Vine expressed his surprise on Twitter when someone told him this fake fact. The 1960s were notorious for Brutalism on many levels from architecture to politics.
Here’s the facts: when the Middlesex County Council was abolished, the County of Middlesex, wasn’t. Don’t be confused by the difference it is important. Here’s what Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s office confirmed in a letter of February 1987 to the Middlesex Chronicle newspaper “why should it be assumed the abolition of a 76 year old County Council, which had existed for only three-quarters of a century, marked the end of the long life of Middlesex? Middlesex has been recognised for upwards of 10 or 12 centuries before the creation of the county council and will, no doubt, continue to exist.”
The 1963 London Government Act was so ill-defined that it airbrushed over a millennium of history in one iconoclastic stroke and led to a remarkable misunderstanding of the facts. Girl Guides, Scouts, National Trust, Wikipedia, print media, sports clubs amongst others changed or ignored Middlesex for a council authority when there was no need to. Nothing had actually changed geographically.
Rupert Barnes, spokesperson for Middlesex Heritage “It is time to appreciate what town-hall bureaucrats fail to see; that councils do not define our sense of being, and that an office which shuts at 5 pm does not supplant a thousand years of heritage. It is eccentric to believe that the passing of one mayfly council effaced the county whose name it borrowed. If council officers prove reluctant to acknowledge rivals to their paper domains, it may be worth reminding them no one wishes to celebrate a bureaucracy whose main purpose is to tax us. We can rejoice though in the heritage of ancient shires, like our Middlesex”.
Now Jake Berry, MP, a Local Government Secretary of State urges local councils to encourage traditional county flags, county border signs and county day celebrations. Even the Government’s Office for National Statistics recognises historic counties in their index of places.
Russell Grant, author of ‘The Real Counties of Britain’ “No protection was given to our historic county’s existence and heritage, as one act after another trashed our local identity. The abolition of Berkshire County Council doesn’t mean there is no Berkshire, the same goes for Middlesex. There has never been a Yorkshire County Council, but who would ever challenge that Yorkshire doesn’t exist” he adds “many claim the English voted for Brexit due to an identity crisis, the seeds of which, I believe, spring from a lack of a sense of belonging. I was born in Hillingdon, Middlesex and not west London.”
May 16th was adopted as Middlesex Day by The Friends of the County of Middlesex in 1987 to honour the Middlesex Regiment (The Duke of Cambridge’s Own) heroism at the Battle of Albuhera.