Flag Institute

The Flag Institute is an educational charity headquartered in London, England. It maintains an unofficial UK Flag Registry and offers advice and guidance about flags and their usage. The UK's only official authorities for flags are the College of Arms in England, Wales and Northern Ireland,[1] the Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland,[2] and the Ministry of Defence for military flags and those flown at sea.[3]

Flag Institute
Formation23 April 1971
FounderWilliam Crampton
TypeCharitable incorporated organisation
  • London, England
Websitewww.flaginstitute.org Edit this at Wikidata

History and roleEdit

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, with Charles Ashburner, chief executive and trustee of the Flag Institute
Graham Bartram. Chief Vexillologist and Trustee of the Flag Institute

The Institute was formed out of the Flag Section of The Heraldry Society on St George's Day, 23 April 1971, by William Crampton, later President of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations.[4][5] It is a membership-based vexillological organisation, and provides advice and assistance to individuals and organisations.[6]

The Institute maintains the William Crampton Library, based in Kingston upon Hull, England and named in honour of its co-founder. It publishes a quarterly 24-page full colour journal, Flagmaster, and a virtual magazine called eFlags. Since 2006 it has sponsored an annual public lecture on a flag-related topic, known as the 'Perrin Lecture'. It holds twice yearly meetings for its members in various locations around the United Kingdom. The Institute itself is governed by a Board of five elected Trustees who are advised by an appointed Council of members.

Until early 2010 the national flag of the United Kingdom was only flown from the Houses of Parliament when Parliament was sitting, and when the Houses rose it was taken down.[7] The Flag Institute with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Flags and Heraldry campaigned to see the flag flown permanently. In early 2010 Black Rod agreed that this should be so and since then the flag has flown all the time.

In May 2011 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles said:[8]

Let me start by congratulating the Flag Institute on its first 40 years. 40 years as a respected source of help and advice. Not only to the UK Government, but to the United Nations and other organisations around the world. 40 years of bringing together enthusiasts, educating the public, and spreading knowledge.....The UK is very lucky in having – in the Institute – a group of dedicated and informed people who do a great deal to make sure that that respect is given. In your first 40 years you have established your credentials not just in this country, but on the world stage.

Following a postal ballot of members, the Institute became a charity at its annual general meeting in Worcester on Saturday 17 November 2012.[citation needed]

Under the supervision of their Chief Vexillologist Graham Bartram, the Institute keeps an unofficial registry of flags for the countries, regions and counties of the UK.[9] The Institute provide informal advice to various government agencies, and flag designs with which its officers have been involved include those for the badge and ensign of the UK Border Agency[10] and the flag of the UK Supreme Court.[11]

Admiral Lord West, Charles Ashburner, and Andrew Rosindell, MP, celebrate the permanent flying of the nation's flag over the Palace of Westminster
Geoff Parsons. Chairman and Trustee of the Flag Institute


In 2010 the Flag Institute, with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Flags and Heraldry,[12] published an unofficial guide to Britain's flag protocol, Flying Flags in the United Kingdom (ISBN 978-0-9513286-1-3).[13]


  1. ^ "College of Arms - College of Arms". www.college-of-arms.gov.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  2. ^ "The Court of the Lord Lyon - The Union Flag". www.lyon-court.org. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Regulations covering the Flying of Flags in the United Kingdom" (PDF). What Do They Know. The Ministry of Defence. March 2013.
  4. ^ Flag Institute, eFlags, no.8, 2008, p.10
  5. ^ Flag Institute at Flags of the World
  6. ^ Flag Institute home page
  7. ^ "9 Year Campaign to have Union Jack Fly Permanently from Houses of Parliament Succeeds". 25 March 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  8. ^ www.communities.gov.uk – text of speech delivered by Eric Pickles, 14 May 2011
  9. ^ "UK Flag Registry". The Flag Institute.
  10. ^ "Freedom of Information Request: UK Border Agency Flag". 9 June 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Freedom of Information Request: Supreme Court Flag". 1 June 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  12. ^ "Written Answers: Supreme Court Flags". Hansard. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  13. ^ Flying Flags in the United Kingdom (PDF). p. 3. ISBN 978-0-9513286-1-3. Retrieved 27 March 2011. First published in the United Kingdom in 2010 by the Flag Institute in association with the Flags and Heraldry Committee of the UK Parliament and with support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

External linksEdit