Fly the Flag of Civic Pride; COUNTRIES Have Flags So Why Not Cities and Towns? That's the Question Posed by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles. Jonathan Walker Reports

The Journal (Newcastle, England), September 2, 2013 | Go to article overview

Fly the Flag of Civic Pride; COUNTRIES Have Flags So Why Not Cities and Towns? That's the Question Posed by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles. Jonathan Walker Reports


ERIC Pickles dreams of a day when cities, towns and counties across the country fly their own flags in a display of civic pride.

To that end, he has issued guidance on how communities can design their own flags, which he hopes councils and community groups will take up.

And to add an extra incentive, he's even proposing that local flags are flown in Whitehall, the heart of Government, where a number of Departments have their offices.

There's no official register of flags in the UK so Mr Pickles has teamed up with The Flag Institute, a charity which keeps its own records.

The institute has chosen to compile a registry of the nation's flags, which Mr Pickles seems happy to treat as authoritative.

And it turns out that surprisingly few places have their own flag. Exceptions include Northumberland, which boasts a yellow and red flag designed in 1951 by the College of Arms, the body officially responsible for coats of arms. It was commissioned by Northumberland County Council and is the flag of the entire historic county - including Newcastle, even though the city no longer comes under the authority of the county council.

But there is no flag for Tyne and Wear or County Durham. Neither are there flags for Newcastle itself, or for other cities such as Sunderland.

Does it matter? Well, according to a statement issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government, having a flag enables communities "to express their pride in local identities, heritage and traditions". …

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