An administrative county was a first-level administrative division in England and Wales from 1888 to 1974, and in Ireland from 1899 until 1973 in Northern Ireland, 2002 in the Republic of Ireland. They are now abolished, although most Northern Ireland lieutenancy areas and Republic of Ireland counties have the same boundaries as former administrative countries.

Administrative county
LocationEngland and Wales and Ireland
Created byLocal Government Act 1888
Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
Abolished by
  • County council

History edit

England and Wales edit

The term was introduced for England and Wales by the Local Government Act 1888, which created county councils for various areas, and called them administrative counties to distinguish them from the continuing statutory counties.

In England and Wales the legislation was repealed in 1974, and entities called 'metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties' in England and 'counties' in Wales were introduced in their place. Though strictly inaccurate,[citation needed] these are often called 'administrative counties' to distinguish them from both the historic counties, and the ceremonial counties.

Scotland edit

For local government purposes Scottish counties were replaced in 1975 with a system of regions and island council areas.

Ireland edit

The Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 created administrative counties in Ireland on the same model that had been used in England and Wales.

In Northern Ireland the administrative counties were replaced by a system of 26 districts on 1 October 1973. Section 131 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 stated that "every county and every county borough shall cease to be an administrative area for local government purposes".[1] The areas of the former administrative counties (and county boroughs) remain in use for Lieutenancy purposes, being defined as the areas used "for local government purposes immediately before 1 October 1973, subject to any subsequent definition of their boundaries …".[2]

In the Republic of Ireland the legislation that created them remained in force until 1 January 2002, when they were renamed as counties under the Local Government Act 2001.[3] The term administrative county is retained by the Placenames Database of Ireland to distinguish the modern counties in Dublin of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin from the traditional counties, which include County Dublin.[4][5]

New entities edit

England – administrative counties 1890–1965.

The administrative counties that did not share the names of previous counties:


County Administrative counties
Cambridgeshire Isle of Ely
Hampshire Isle of Wight
Lincolnshire Holland, Kesteven, Lindsey
London London
Northamptonshire Soke of Peterborough
Suffolk East Suffolk, West Suffolk
Sussex East Sussex, West Sussex
Yorkshire East Riding, North Riding, West Riding


Republic of Ireland

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972, (1972 C.9)
  2. ^ The Northern Ireland (Lieutenancy) Order 1975 (S.I. 1975 No.156)
  3. ^ Local Government Act 2001, 2nd Sch.: Construction of Certain Terms in Other Enactments (No. 37 of 2001, 2nd Sch.). Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved from Irish Statute Book.
  4. ^ Placenames (Provinces and Counties) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 519 of 2003). Signed on 30 October 2003. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved from Irish Statute Book on 14 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Fine Gall/Fingall". Logainm. Government of Ireland. Retrieved 14 January 2022. vs. "Baile Átha Cliath/Dublin". Logainm. Government of Ireland. Retrieved 3 September 2023.

External links edit