If you attended one of our open data masterclasses recently, you could have been in one of the newest cities in the UK. St Asaph in Denbighshire, Wales, was one of three towns given city status to mark this year’s Diamond Jubilee – and was host to one of our masterclasses.
With a population of just 3,500, St Asaph becomes one of the smallest cities in the UK (St Davids is the smallest with a population of around 1,700). Until this year, it was also one of the few British towns with a cathedral that didn’t have city status.
Two other towns also achieved city status this year – Perth, Perthshire and Chelmsford in Essex. Interestingly, Perth was a city until 1975 when their status was removed following a re-jig of Scottish local government. Their city status will be restored this year – although it is unlikely to recover the status lost in 1437 – until which time Perth was the capital of Scotland.
All three diamond jubilee cities boast cathedrals – and Chelmsford’s is the second smallest in England. The new city also has the largest population of the three – with over 165,000 people living in the borough of Chelmsford.
It’s a common misconception in the UK that any town with a cathedral is automatically a city. Neither having a cathedral nor population size dictate city status in the UK; a town must be granted city status by the British monarch at the time.
These three will bring the total number of UK cities to 69. City status is rarely granted – just 14 new cities were created in the 20th century. So far this century, we’ve seen Brighton and Hove, Inverness and Wolverhampton given city status to mark the millennium; and the Golden Jubilee in 2002 was marked by awarding city status to Preston, Newry, Lisburn and Newport.
To mark the occasions, we’ve added the cities in Great Britain, as we’re the national mapping agency for Great Britain, onto our OS OpenSpace map. You can see the full interactive map via our website.
You can see the full list of cities on the UK cities website.