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City status in the United Kingdom
Becoming a city is not automatic, but many people think that any town that has a cathedral is a city. This is because Henry VIII built cathedrals in six English towns and also granted made them cities by letters patent.
A city council does not have any more powers than a borough or district council. Some city councils (like Ripon) are only parish councils, so have very little powers at all.
Officially there are 66 cities in the United Kingdom (UK). Sunderland was made a city to mark Elizabeth II's Ruby anniversary (40 years as Queen). Eight others have been created in competitions to celebrate the new millennium and Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.
A city does not automatically have a Lord Mayor or Lord Provost in Scotland. There are 66 cities in the UK but only 30 Lord Mayors.
- A Mayor is called "The Worshipful the Mayor of A Town".
- A Lord Mayor is called "The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of A City".
Of the 66 cities: (including 30 Lord Mayoralties or Lord Provostships) in the UK:
- 50 are in England, 23 have a Lord Mayor
- 5 are in Wales, 2 have a Lord Mayor
- 6 are in Scotland, 4 have a Lord Provost
- 5 are in Northern Ireland, 1 has a Lord Mayor.
The Former City of Rochester
Rochester was a city from 1211 to 1998.
In 1979 Medway was renamed Rochester-upon-Medway and new letters patent made the whole of the new area a city.
On April 1, 1998, Rochester-upon-Medway and Gillingham joined together to became the new unitary authority of Medway. Rochester upon Medway City Council did not appoint appoint Charter Trustees to maintain the existence of the city and the mayoralty so the city simply ceased to exist, because the council forgot.
List of officially-designated cities
Note (5): Coventry has had three cathedrals: the first, St Mary's from 1043 to 1539; the second, St Michael's, from 1918 to 1940, when it was destroyed by German bombardment; and its replacement, also St Michael's, built alongside the old cathedral, consecrated in 1962.
Note (6): Note that the City of London covers only the "square mile", and is usually just referred to as "the City". The larger conurbation of Greater London has no city charter, and consists of the City of London, the City of Westminster and 31 other London boroughs. This can be compared to the City of Brussels, within Brussels.
Note (7): City status was confirmed by Letters Patent dated July 9, 1974. The city status extends to the entire district, although the district council calls itself "St Albans District Council" or "St Albans City and District".
Note (8): Letters Patent under the Great Seal conferring City Status were issued to the unitary authority of York on 1 April, 1996, confirming the right of the Lord Mayor to be styled "Right Honourable", in continuation to those granted to the previous City Council abolished March 31, 1996.
Note (9): Letters Patent under the Great Seal were issued on March 29, 1996 ordaining that the counties of Swansea and Cardiff should have the status of cities from April 1, 1996. The counties replaced the previous district councils which had enjoyed city status.
Note (10): According to the Municipal Year Book, 1972 the royal burghs of Perth and Elgin officially enjoyed city status. The royal burghs of Brechin, Dunfermline and Kirkwall had also been officially described as "cities". As all burghs were abolished in 1975, these areas are now often called "former cities". Although Brechin does not have city status, the community council formed for the area uses the title "City of Brechin and District".
Note (12): The Provost of Stirling is the civic head of the entire Stirling council area, although city status only extends to the town of Stirling.
Note (13): Armagh had previously enjoyed city status, with St Patrick's Cathedral the site of the metropolitan primate of all Ireland. The city status was lost in 1840 when the city corporation was abolished. However, the successor urban district council and district council frequently used the title of city without official sanction prior to 1994.
Note (19): Letters Patent dated November 4, 1980 ordained that the "Town of Lichfield shall have the status of a City". A town council had been constituted in 1980 leading to the dissolution of the Charter Trustees of the City of Lichfield.
Note (21): City status was conferred on Hereford Town Council October 11, 2000. The status had previously been confirmed to the district council formed in 1974. When that council was abolished in 1996 charter trustees were formed for the City of Hereford. On the formation of a town council for Hereford in April 2000 the charter trustees were dissolved, and the city status temporarily lapsed.
Note (22): St. David's historically had city status because of the presence of St David's Cathedral. This status was lost in the 19th. century after local government reorganization. Letters Patent dated September 16, 1994 ordained that the "Town of St. David's shall have the status of a City".
Note (23): The title of City was used "by courtesy" after 1550 when Westminster ceased to be the see of a bishop. By Letters Patent dated October 27 1900 city status was conferred on the newly created Metropolitan Borough of Westminster from November 1. This status was continued on the creation of the City of Westminster as a london borough in 1965.
Note (24): A letter from the Home Secretary to the Mayor of Leicester confirming that the city status would be bestowed, noted that this was a "restoration to your ancient town of its former status of a city."
Note (37): Declaration that the Chief Magistrate and Officer of the City to bear the style and title of Lord Mayor due to the city's high position in the roll of ports of [the] kingdom June 26, 1914
Note (55): Warrant issued 28 January 1889 that Letters Patent be issued under the Seal appointed by the treaty of union to be used in place of the Great Seal of Scotland, ordaining and declaring that the Burgh of Dundee shall be a City, and shall be called and styled "The City of Dundee"
Note (56): Burghs of Old Aberdeen and Woodside and the district of Torry incorporated as the City and Royal Burgh of Aberdeen by the Aberdeen Corporation Act 1891 (1891 c.cxxiv)
Note (57): The present council areas are designated "cities" by virtue of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, which also reserves the post of Lord Provost for the convener of the four councils. The previous local government districts and district councils created by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 enjoyed the same privileges.
- Letters Patent dated March 18, 1974, text retrieved from Medway Council archives website
- Letters Patent dated January 25, 1982, text retrieved from Medway Council archives website
- BBC News - Thursday, 16 May, 2002 - Error costs Rochester city status Archived 26 July 2007 at WebCite
- Medway Council - REGENERATION AND COMMUNITY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - DATE 4 MARCH 2003 - TITLE OF REPORT ROCHESTER CITY STATUS[dead link]
- London Gazette, issue no. 46255, April 4, 1974
- London Gazette, issue no. 46303, June 28, 1974
- London Gazette, issue no. 46334, May 31, 1974
- London Gazette, issue no. 46352, September 24, 1974
- London Gazette, issue no. 54363, April 4, 1996
- London Gazette, issue no. 46522, March 20, 1975
- London Gazette, issue no. 47246, June 14, 1977
- London Gazette, issue no. 56573, May 21, 2002
- London Gazette, issue no.56109, May 2, 2001
- London Gazette, issue no. 48364, November 7, 1980
- Lichfield City Council website
- London Gazette, issue no.52874, March 26, 1992
- Charters of Hereford City Council[dead link]
- London Gazette, issue no. 53798, September 23, 1994
- London Gazette issue no. 27242, October 30, 1900
- The Times: Leicester, a City: Sequel to the Recent Royal Visit
- Leicester: The Dignity of a City 655–1926, Leicester's city status, its loss and its regaining over thirteen centuries by Daniel Williams
- London Gazette, issue no.44986, December 12, 1969
- London Gazette, issue no.33154, April 23, 1926
- London Gazette, issue no.39201, April 13, 1951
- London Gazette, issue no.34400, May 21, 1937
- London Gazette, issue no.33433, October 26, 1928
- London Gazettte, issue no.33063, July 3, 1925
- London Gazette, issue no.27849, October 31, 1905
- London Gazette, issue no.48932, March 25, 1982
- London Gazette, issue no.51416, July 20, 1988
- London Gazette, issue no.52861, March 13, 1992
- London Gazette, issue no.39983, June 6, 1953
- London Gazette, issue no.56556, May 1, 2002
- London Gazette, issue no.28845, June 30, 1914
- The King's Honour to Hull, The Times, June 27, 1914
- London Gazette, issue no.52861, July 27, 1906
- London Gazette, issue no.33405, June 20, 1928
- The Times, July 11, 1928
- London Gazette, issue no.42815, October 23, 1962
- London Gazette, issue no.34160, May 10, 1935
- Lord Mayor of Plymouth, The Times, May 7, 1935
- London Gazette, issue no.43921, March 11, 1966
- London Gazette, issue no.40911, October 26, 1956
- History of Mayoralty of Birmingham from Birmingham City Council website[dead link]
- London Gazette, issue no.28065, October 1, 1907
- Birthday Honours, The Times, June 3, 1899
- History of The Lord Mayor of Bristol from Bristol City Council website
- Lord Mayor of Leeds from Leeds City Council website[dead link]
- Lord Mayors of Leicester from Leicester City Council website
- List of Lord Mayors of Liverpool from Liverpool City Council website[dead link]
- List of Lord Mayors from Manchester City Council website[dead link]
- The King and Norwich, The Times, February 7, 1910
- Lord Mayors of Portsmouth from Portsmouth City Council website
- History of the Lord Mayor from Sheffield City Council website
- Stoke-on-Trent City Council website[dead link]
- London Gazette, January 29, 1889
- From the London Gazette, January 18, 1889, The Times, January 19, 1889