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City status in the United Kingdom

Status granted by royal charter / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom to specific centres of population, which might or might not meet the generally accepted definition of cities. As of 22 November 2022,[1] there are 76 cities in the United Kingdom—55 in England,[2][3] seven in Wales, eight in Scotland, and six in Northern Ireland.[4] Although it carries no special rights, the status of city can be a marker of prestige and confer local pride.[5]

Until the 19th century, city status in England and Wales was associated with the presence of a cathedral, such as York Minster.

The status does not apply automatically on the basis of any particular criterion, though in England and Wales it was traditionally given to towns with diocesan cathedrals. This association between having an Anglican cathedral and being called a city was established in the early 1540s when King Henry VIII founded dioceses (each having a cathedral in the see city) in six English towns and granted them city status by issuing letters patent. A city with a cathedral is often termed a cathedral city.

City status in Ireland was granted to far fewer communities than in England and Wales, and there are only two pre-19th-century cities in present-day Northern Ireland. In Scotland, city status did not explicitly receive any recognition by the state until the 19th century. At that time, a revival of grants of city status took place, first in England, where the grants were accompanied by the establishment of new cathedrals, and later in Scotland and Ireland. In the 20th century, it was explicitly recognised that the status of city in England and Wales would no longer be bound to the presence of a cathedral, and grants made since have been awarded to communities on a variety of criteria, including population size.

The abolition of some corporate bodies as part of successive local-government reforms, beginning with the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840, has deprived some ancient cities of their status. However, letters patent have been issued for most of the affected cities to ensure the continuation or restoration of their status. At present, Rochester and Elgin are the only former cities in the United Kingdom. The name "City" does not, in itself, denote city status; it may be appended to place names for historic association (e.g. White City) or for marketing or disambiguation (e.g. Stratford City). A number of large towns (such as those with over 200,000 residents) in the UK are bigger than some small cities, but cannot legitimately call themselves cities without the royal designation.[citation needed]

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