Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Origin Historic
Region North West England
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 17th
3,075 km²
Ranked 16th
2,903 km²
Admin HQ Preston
ISO 3166-2 GB-LAN
ONS code 30
- Total (2004 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 8th
466 / km²
Ranked 4th
Ethnicity 93.4% White
5.3% S. Asian

Arms of Lancashire County Council

Lancashire County Council
Executive Labour
Members of Parliament

  1. West Lancashire
  2. Chorley
  3. South Ribble
  4. Fylde
  5. Preston
  6. Wyre
  7. Lancaster
  8. Ribble Valley
  9. Pendle
  10. Burnley
  11. Rossendale
  12. Hyndburn
  13. Blackpool (Unitary)
  14. Blackburn with Darwen (Unitary)

Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North West of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, though the county council is currently based at Preston. Commonly, Lancashire is referred to by the abbreviation Lancs, originally used by the Royal Mail.

The Red Rose of Lancaster is the traditional symbol for the House of Lancaster, immortalized in the verse "In the battle for England's head/York was white, Lancaster red" (referring to the 15th century War of the Roses), and is the county flower [1].

Ths highest point within the traditional borders of Lancashire is Coniston Old Man in the Lake District at 803m (2,634 ft). The highest point of the post-1974 county is Gragareth, near Whernside, which reaches a height of 627m (2,057 ft)[2]. (Green Hill, near to Gragareth has also been cited as the county top).


The county was established in 1183. In the Domesday Book, its lands had been treated as part of Cheshire (whose northern boundary had been the River Ribble) and of Yorkshire. It bordered on Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire, and Cheshire.

It is traditionally divided into the six hundreds of Amounderness, Blackburn, Leyland, Lonsdale, Salford and West Derby. Lonsdale was further partitioned into Lonsdale North, which was the detached part north of Morecambe Bay (also known as Furness), and Lonsdale South.

By the census of 1971 the population of Lancashire had reached 5,129,416, making it then the most populous county in the UK.

A particular form of the The Loyal Toast is still in regular local use: 'The Queen, Duke of Lancaster'.

Environs and divisions

The ceremonial county currently borders on Cumbria, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and the metropolitan counties of Greater Manchester, and Merseyside; and contains the unitary authorities of Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.

Administrative Lancashire is divided into a number of local government districts. Currently these are Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, the Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, and Wyre.

Some parts of the traditional county now fall under the counties of West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cumbria.

Historic administrative divisions

Duchy Palatine of Lancaster
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 6th
1,207,605 acres
? %
County town Lancaster
Chapman code LAN

The modern administrative area is now much smaller than that of the traditional county due to a local government reform. In 1889 an administrative county of Lancashire was created, covering the historic county except for county boroughs such as Liverpool and Manchester. The area covered by the Lord-Lieutenant (termed now a ceremonial county) continued to cover the entirety of the administrative county along with the county boroughs, and thus was expanded slightly whenever boroughs annexed areas in other neighbouring counties. Examples of this include Wythenshawe (an area of Manchester south of the River Mersey and historically in Cheshire), and southern Warrington. This area also did not cover the western part of Todmorden, where the traditional border between Lancashire and Yorkshire runs through the middle of the town.

On April 1, 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the administrative county of Lancashire was abolished, as were the county boroughs. By this time the south of the county had become nearly entirely urbanised, and thus became part of two new metropolitan counties. The south-western part became part of Merseyside, the south-eastern part was incorporated into Greater Manchester. The new county of Cumbria took the Furness exclave.

Warrington and Widnes, rather than become part of Greater Manchester or Merseyside were instead made part of the new non-metropolitan county of Cheshire. The Bowland Rural District and Barnoldswick from the West Riding of Yorkshire became part of the new Lancashire.

In 1998 the county borough system re-appeared in all but name, when Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen became independent unitary authorities. They remain part of Lancashire for ceremonial purposes, however, and are still covered by county level public services such as the Lancashire Constabulary, etc.

Rejected options for change

On May 25, 2004 the Boundary Committee for England published recommendations for new systems of Unitary Authorities to be put to referendum as described under Subdivisions of England, but on Thursday November 4 2004 the referendum for the North East decided by a margin of 78% to 22% against an elected regional assembly. On November 8 the Deputy Prime Minister announced "I will not therefore be bringing forward orders for referendums in either the North West, or Yorkshire and the Humber". Statement by Deputy Prime Minister. The choice in Lancashire would have been between the current administrative county as one authority or a more complicated subdivision also involving Cumbria, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of Lancashire at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added4 Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 13,789 344 5,461 7,984
2000 16,584 259 6,097 10,229
2003 19,206 294 6,352 12,560

Note 1: includes hunting and forestry

Note 2: includes energy and construction

Note 3: includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Note 4: Components may not sum to totals due to rounding


Lancashire in the 19th century was a major centre of industrial activity and hence of wealth. Activities included mining and textile production, though on the coast there was also fishing.

Today Lancashire is home to firms such as BAE Systems (which has four factories in Lancashire including Warton and Samlesbury, major centres of production for the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter), Heinz, TVR cars, Leyland Trucks and Marconi telecoms.

Law enforcement

Lancashire is policed by the Lancashire Constabulary, whose territory covers the ceremonial county of Lancashire. Its headquarters is in Preston and is split into six divisions. Like most British police forces, those of the Lancashire Constabulary are not habitually armed, but armed response teams are on patrol around the county armed with G36 assault rifles and GLOCK pistols.

Lancashire's railways are policed by the British Transport Police.


These are the main cities and towns within the traditional borders of Lancashire.

(*) denotes settlements within the traditional borders of Lancashire, but which since 1974 have been part of other counties.


Lancashire is one of Britain's most successful sporting counties.


Lancashire County Cricket Club has been one of the the most successful county cricket teams, particularly in the one-day game. Based at Old Trafford, Manchester it is home to England cricket team members Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood.


Six of the twelve clubs which founded the Football League were from Lancashire. Lancashire is currently home to 2 Premier League clubs and seven Football League teams. These are:

Together Lancashire teams have achieved:

Rugby League

Lancashire is home to some of the most successful Rugby League teams, particularly in the south of the county. These include:

Rugby Union

Rugby union teams include Fylde, Orrell R.U.F.C. and Preston Grasshoppers.

Lancashire (catch/shoot) wrestling

Lancashire has a long history of wrestling with many clubs that over the years have produced many renowned wrestlers. Some of these have crossed over into the mainstream world of professional wrestling, including Billy Riley, Davey Boy Smith, and The Dynamite Kid.


The following foods are associated with Lancashire:

Places of interest

A cobblestone mosaic of a red Lancashire Rose
A cobblestone mosaic of a red Lancashire Rose

The following are places of interest in Lancashire.


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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

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Allerdale | Barrow-in-Furness | Blackburn with Darwen | Blackpool | Bolton | Burnley | Bury | Carlisle | Chester | Chorley | Congleton | Copeland | Crewe and Nantwich | Eden | Ellesmere Port and Neston | Fylde | Halton | Hyndburn | Knowsley | Lancaster | Liverpool | Macclesfield | Manchester | Oldham | Pendle | Preston | Ribble Valley | Rochdale | Rossendale | St Helens | Salford | Sefton | South Lakeland | South Ribble | Stockport | Tameside | Trafford | Vale Royal | Warrington | West Lancashire | Wigan | Wirral | Wyre

Counties with multiple districts: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside


  1. ^ County flowers in Britain
  2. ^ Page at BUBL quoting Gragareth as the highest point in Lancashire

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