A few months ago I wrote this piece about Southend-on-Sea, the UK’s 70th city (the 52nd in England). Since then a further 8 places have been granted city status, taking the total to 78 (55 in England).
For the first time, there is a city that is part of a British Overseas Territory, not within the coastal waters immediately surrounding the United Kingdom. Stanley (population 2,108 according to 2012 estimates), capital of the Falkland Islands, is now, officially, a city. So is Douglas, on the Isle of Man.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland each have one extra city (Wrexham, Dunfermline and Bangor respectively) and England has a further three (Colchester, Doncaster and Milton Keynes).
It will take me a while to get my head around this new information. In the space of six months, the number of UK cities has increased by 13%. In a couple of pieces last year (starting here) I offered mnemonics for remembering the original 69 names. At the time there were 18 cities outside England. “I gasped”, “Bland” and “Cbsnss” (or “C-business” without the vowels) offered reminders of the cities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales respectively. These can now be modified to “I gaspedd”, “BBland” and “WCBsnss” (or “WC Business”, without the vowels).
The 51 cities in England were more of a challenge, and I broke them down by region and then alphabetically. With the 4 new names since 2021 there are now more cities in England (55) than there are countries in Africa (54). Here’s how they break down alphabetically, with the new additions in capitals.
[Cambridge, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Chichester, COLCHESTER, Coventry / Salford, Salisbury, Sheffield, Southampton, SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, St Albans, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland]
[Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Liverpool, London]
[Wakefield, Wells, Westminster, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Worcester]
[Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton & Hove, Bristol]
[Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston]
[Derby, DONCASTER, Durham / Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Nottingham]
[Ely, Exeter / Manchester, MILTON KEYNES]
1 GH KORTY
[Gloucester, Hereford, Kingston upon Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Ripon, Truro and York]
And after all these years, even though it has a cathedral and a university, Guildford is still not a city.