Southend-on-Sea is to be accorded the standing of metropolis in honour of David Amess. On October 18, 2021, three days after the Conservative MP was murdered in his constituency surgical procedure in Leigh-on-Sea, Boris Johnson introduced the Queen had agreed to the grant.
Seeing Southend purchase this new label had lengthy been Amess’s aim. As he put it within the Home of Commons in 2019, “I do know that the Home has turn into uninterested in listening to me ask for metropolis standing for Southend … however I’m not going to close up till it occurs.”
The UK counts 69 cities. Pre-reformation cathedral cities together with Canterbury, York and Durham, had been cities by historical prescriptive proper. In different phrases they’ve been thought to be cities from time immemorial.
As I’ve proven in my e book, Metropolis Standing within the British Isles: 1830–2002, the style during which this honour has been granted to a city has modified significantly by means of the centuries. Although some cities, together with Milton Keynes and Dunfermline in Scotland, have briefly declared themselves cities, being granted the honour by royal constitution stays a main motivation.
John Fielding | Flickr, CC BY
Historic course of
The entitlement of the reigning monarch to create cities goes again to the sixteenth century, when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and based six Anglican dioceses with the proceeds. Because of this, half a dozen cities, together with Oxford, grew to become cities by advantage of their being diocesan centres.
When new dioceses had been created within the nineteenth century, their diocesan centres had been situated in cities which had an applicable parish church which could possibly be consecrated as a cathedral resembling Manchester. And most of the people’s understanding of how a spot turns into a metropolis nonetheless pertains to it having a cathedral.
That, nevertheless, is a contemporary city fable. The hyperlink was damaged in 1889, when a constitution was conferred on Birmingham on account of its dimension and significance.
From that point onwards the standing was given, usually along side a royal go to resembling Stoke on Trent in 1925. Extra lately, in 1994 St David’s in Wales and Armagh in Northern Eire had been promoted by way of the monarch’s prorogative.
By the Sixties, so many cities thought-about themselves appropriate for metropolis standing that the Residence Workplace determined to make the method a contest. Rival cities would vie for the honour by means of a contest organised along side particular festivities such because the Queen’s jubilees and the millennium.
Claire Sutton | Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA
Sunderland was thus awarded metropolis standing on its fifth try, in 1992, on the event of the Queen’s ruby jubilee. And to mark the golden jubilee in 2002, 5 cities – Preston, Newport, Stirling and Lisburn and Newry in Northern Eire – adopted swimsuit.
In June 2021, the federal government introduced a contest could be organised along side the platinum jubilee in February 2022. The deadline for purposes is December 8 2021. Southend, guided by Amess, meant to throw its hat into the ring.
What changing into a metropolis does
Being a metropolis doesn’t convey tax breaks or monetary advantages, however it’s usually held to learn the residents of these locations that are profitable within the competitions. The one pointers for native authorities officers getting ready the purposes is that they should emphasise civic pleasure, heritage, innovation and alternative.
City planners talk about civic boosterism. Earlier winners have emphasised the advantages the standing has wrought. Stephen Parkinson, who led Preston’s profitable bid in 2002, argued that it served to place his city on the map.
“We’ve got joined an elite membership,” Parkinson stated. “You might be recognised internationally and nationally as a spot which means enterprise.”
The place does Southend match into this? It’s one in all three Essex cities, together with Chelmsford and Colchester, to have entered all of the competitions since 1992.
Chelmsford was profitable in 2012. However though Southend now drops out of the present competitors, Colchester doesn’t routinely qualify. It nonetheless have to be judged, together with with aspirant cities from across the nation, on the standard of its utility.
There’s nothing to cease a city declaring itself to be a metropolis, however most candidates need the legitimacy conferred by a royal constitution. No metropolis, to my information, has ever turned it down.
John Beckett doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.