|Status||Ceremonial and (smaller) Non-metropolitan county|
|Region||North East England|
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
- Total (2004 est.)
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
320 / km²
Durham County Council
|Members of Parliament|
* Only the part of the borough to the north of the River Tees is within the ceremonial County Durham.
County Durham is a county in north-east England. Its county town is Durham. It is a county of contrasts: the remote and sparsely populated dales and moors of the Pennines characterise the interior, while nearer the coast the county is highly urbanised, and was once dominated by the coal mining industry.
The form of the county name is unique in England. Many counties are named after their principal town, and the expected form here would be Durhamshire. The reason it is called County Durham instead is that the Prince-Bishops of Durham historically exercised power in regions outside the county as well, so the inner part was named County Durham as opposed to the rest of the estate of Durham. The form County X is standard for Irish counties, with no such significance.
County Durham is a County Palatine by immemorial custom, with the Bishops of Durham being princes until 1836. Until 1971 there were a series of courts in the county, and the offices of Chancellor, Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, Steward and Clerk of Halmotes, Deputy Steward, and Registrar of Halmotes. The Court of Chancery of Durham existed from the 13th century to 1971. In 1836 the separate Court of Exchequer and the Court of Admiralty were abolished. The Durham Court of Pleas survived until 1873.
The county traditionally extends to the south bank of the River Tyne and includes Sunderland, South Shields, and Gateshead. It borders the counties of Cumberland, Northumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire. The eastern boundary of the county between the Tyne and the Tees is the North Sea. Several exclaves have existed in the county's history, including Bedlingtonshire, Norhamshire, Islandshire (incorporated into Northumberland in 1844), and Crayke, now in North Yorkshire. The former area of Startforth Rural District was traditionally part of the North Riding of Yorkshire. The modern unitary authorities of Hartlepool, Darlington, and Stockton-on-Tees are part of the traditional County Durham.
Durham County Council was established along with all the other English county councils in 1888. Major local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974 created the metropolitan boroughs of Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead and removed them from County Durham into the newly established metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear. At the same time, the new non-metropolitan county of Cleveland took Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool. County Durham gained the rural district of Startforth south of the River Tees, near Barnard Castle. Since then, Cleveland has been abolished, but Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool have not been returned to Durham, except for the purposes of Lord-Lieutenancy. County Durham borders on the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland, and Tyne and Wear.
The present Durham County Council administers the area of the ceremonial county, with the exception of Hartlepool, Darlington, and Stockton-on-Tees, which are unitary authorities.
There are seven local government districts. They are:
On 1 April 1997, the borough of Darlington with its population of 100,000 became a unitary authority and thus administratively separate from County Durham. It continues to share police and fire services with the areas under County Council control.
In May 2004 options for regional government were published which would have resulted in the removal of four of the districts from Durham County Council's jurisdiction to form two unitary authorities, and the abolition of the three remaining borough councils to make County Durham a unitary authority in its own right. This proposal has not been implemented.
On 4 November 2004 a referendum was held on proposals to introduce an elected regional assembly for the North East of England. At the same time as this, the electorate was asked to choose between two options for the organisation of local government below the regional tier. The assembly proposal was rejected overwhelmingly, making the question of unitary authorities in County Durham irrelevant.
For County Durham the options were:
|Option 1||Option 2|
This is a list of the main towns in County Durham. The area covered is the entire ceremonial county, hence the inclusion of towns which are no longer administered by Durham County Council.
|Accessible open space|
|Museums (free/not free)|
|United Kingdom | England | Ceremonial counties of England|
Counties of the Lieutenancies Act 1997
Bedfordshire | Berkshire | City of Bristol | Buckinghamshire | Cambridgeshire | Cheshire | Cornwall | Cumbria | Derbyshire | Devon | Dorset | Durham | East Riding of Yorkshire | East Sussex | Essex | Gloucestershire | Greater London | Greater Manchester | Hampshire | Herefordshire | Hertfordshire | Isle of Wight | Kent | Lancashire | Leicestershire | Lincolnshire | City of London | Merseyside | Norfolk | Northamptonshire | Northumberland | North Yorkshire | Nottinghamshire | Oxfordshire | Rutland | Shropshire | Somerset | South Yorkshire | Staffordshire | Suffolk | Surrey | Tyne and Wear | Warwickshire | West Midlands | West Sussex | West Yorkshire | Wiltshire | Worcestershire
|United Kingdom | England | Traditional counties of England|
Counties that originate prior to 1889
Bedfordshire | Berkshire | Buckinghamshire | Cambridgeshire | Cheshire | Cornwall | Cumberland | Derbyshire | Devon | Dorset | Durham | Essex | Gloucestershire | Hampshire | Herefordshire | Hertfordshire | Huntingdonshire | Kent | Lancashire | Leicestershire | Lincolnshire | Middlesex | Norfolk | Northamptonshire | Northumberland | Nottinghamshire | Oxfordshire | Rutland | Shropshire | Somerset | Staffordshire | Suffolk | Surrey | Sussex | Warwickshire | Westmorland | Wiltshire | Worcestershire | Yorkshire
|About County Durham|
|Buildings | Culture | Economy | Geography | History | Famous Residents | Sport | University of Durham | Transport | Timeline|
|Districts of County Durham|
|Chester-le-Street | Derwentside | City of Durham | Easington | Borough of Sedgefield | Teesdale | Wear Valley|
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