Wikipedia:WikiProject UK geography/How to write about settlements

How to write about UK settlements covers a set of project guidelines relating to the structure of Wikipedia articles about UK settlements as developed within WikiProject UK geography and WikiProject Cities. We would welcome suggestions on how to improve these guidelines on the talk page, but please refrain from making substantive changes to this article without first discussing them and reaching consensus first.

Editing UK settlement articlesEdit

Articles about UK settlements should normally follow the guidelines outlined below and also the WP:UKGUIDE and the Manual of Style. However, these are not 'written in stone' and can be adjusted where common sense suggests that an exception is appropriate with an overall aim of professionalism, simplicity and greater cohesion of Wikipedia articles.

See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (settlements) when choosing a title for the article and Wikipedia:Disambiguation for how to distinguish between multiple places with the same, or similar names. Section titles should generally not start with the word The (see WP:HEAD).

Articles about parts of London should follow Wikipedia:WikiProject London's project guidelines, and names should follow Wikipedia:WikiProject London/Naming conventions with the lead using the format X is a place in the London Borough of Y in lead sections without "England" (or the UK). Also, transport and local government in London coupled with the Greater London Authority and other administrative and ceremonial functions use different writing and organisational methods than recommended in this article.

Managing ambiguity and uncertaintyEdit

The settlements in the United Kingdom are very diverse and the meaning of "settlement" itself is subject to debate. There are several types of official administrative area that could be described as settlements, but they do not always correspond to what the residents would think of as their own town or city. Similarly, a town or city may spill out of its administrative boundaries; where this has occurred suburbs and significant places of interest and employment outside the boundary should be mentioned in the article, though it should be noted that they lie within different administrative areas.

Writing about the very smallest settlements in the UK can be difficult due to the lack of source material. If there is no likelihood that an article could ever expand beyond a stub, the place should be dealt with in the article of the smallest notable area in which it lies, such as the council ward, civil parish, community (in Wales), or town, etc. In most cases a redirect should be left to help readers (see Crowden, Devon for an example).

A single name may be in use for a civil parish, an ecclesiastical parish, a council ward and an informal colloquial area, each with slightly different boundaries. On the other hand, one area may have two or three different names—those of a ward, church parish and local names with no official use, for instance. In both these cases, all of the variants should be merged into a single article unless one of the alternatives is sufficiently notable to have an article of its own.

Depopulated settlementsEdit

A deserted town or village that once had its own ecclesiastical parish (or equivalent) can, subject to consensus regarding its status as a standalone old settlement, have its own article if there is sufficient material to make a good article. Examples are Silchester and Gatton, Surrey. However, if a later city, town or village is located close to the centre of the old settlement and absorbs almost all of it, then it is fair to describe it under the new place's history and create a redirect for the old name, if it was different. If the place was not a town or village then it should not have its own article, but should be covered in an archaeology or history section within the appropriate place of today's name, unless it is sufficiently notable for some other reason.

Technically the term "deserted" is disliked because most villages shrank over a period of years and may have had, or continue to have, some sort of vestigial survival – in this case they are correctly termed "depopulated" rather than "former".

In the UK the uncommonly used term "ghost town" describes somewhere with no more commerce and many vacant homes (Tyneham is an example). The important principles are whether the settlement had its own parish (in northern England, that is extended to cover townships), and that there are substantial remains (standing or archaeological).

Available categories are: Deserted medieval villages in England, Former populated places in England and Ghost towns in England. There is also a List of lost settlements in the United Kingdom.

Primary section headings and contentEdit

Articles should almost always conform to the basic structure of a lead/infobox followed by history, governance, geography, demography and economy, as those sections contain much of the basic information about any settlement. Beyond that, editors are advised to come to a consensus that works best for the settlement in question. Additional or alternative headings are listed under the "Optional headings" section below.


Use Template:Infobox UK place at the top of the article for all settlements of the United Kingdom, with an exception for which Template:Infobox settlement should be used:

Where multiple infoboxes are used in one article it is recommended that Template:Infobox UK place is placed in the lead. For example Bath, Somerset which contains a 2nd infobox in the Architecture section describing its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Infobox contents:

  • official name: The official name for the settlement. Do not use redundant additions such as "City of..." unless this is necessary to distinguish the settlement from other similarly named settlements (eg City of London)
  • static_image_name: see Lead image section below
  • static_image_caption: A short caption for the image with suitable wiki-links.
  • population: The population for the settlement.
  • ... other details can also be set. See infobox template for a full list of possible entries.

Lead imageEdit

A lead image to represent the settlement should be used within the main article infobox. For a small settlement this should be a picture of a notable local landmark such as a church, high street, marketplace or other streetscape.

For larger settlements such as cities a montage may be used, subject to consensus among the article's editors, however care should be taken to avoid creating montages that create a poor visual impression of the article.

  • All images used within a montage should be available on a free license and should be credited, with links to the original images.
  • Captions to montages should identify the subjects of individual images, with wikilinks to related articles
  • Images within a montage should have an orderly arrangement, using a regular row-based layout and consistent image proportions wherever possible.
  • Montages within infoboxes will normally appear with a width of 250px and will resize according to display device and user preferences when no size is specified, as is recommended by WP:Imagesize. Avoid creating a montage that will be excessively large when displayed at this width. A maximum aspect ratio of 1:1.5 is recommended.
  • The first and largest image with the montage should be a representative cityscape such as a skyline, panorama or significant streetscape.
  • Other images should be selected to be distinctive and broadly representative of the settlement, where possible including the settlement's most widely recognised landmarks, characteristic building-types, a representative spread of architectural styles and periods, and a representation of varied areas within the settlement.
  • Avoid including too many images. A small number of bold, identifiable, well-chosen images will represent the settlement more effectively than a greater number of less distinct images appearing at lower resolutions. Even the largest settlements should have no more than 6–8 images.
  • Images within montages appear at low resolution. For these to be intelligible it is recommended to use pictures made up of simple, recognisable shapes, filling the crop and with high levels of colour and tonal contrast.
  • Avoid duplicating images that appear elsewhere in the article.


The lead (see also WP:LEAD) is the text before the first heading. It should not exceed four paragraphs and should normally cover the following:

  • Geographic description
    • Name of settlement: if in doubt follow WP:COMMONNAME; use translated names in national languages where recognised officially or in common use.
    • Type of settlement: e.g. suburb, town, city, civil parish. A city must have city status by Letters Patent or by convention.
    • Administrative district: its present council area (lower-tier or unitary authority area in England; principal area in Wales; council area in Scotland; administrative district in Northern Ireland). e.g. Jarrow is in the South Tyneside metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, England.
    • County: use the ceremonial county (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only) where not clear from the administrative district.
    • Constituent country.
    • Geographic location: distance from the district's or county's main town or city (unless it is itself the county town or such, in which case it should then be stated)
    • Physical geography: any rivers which run through or near the town; coastline on which the town or city is located; and any significant nearby or enclosing geographical features.
  • Total resident population.
  • History
    • Administrative history, if notable, for example if the historic county is different from the ceremonial county
    • A brief paragraph about historical roots / founding
  • Nicknames, if notable
  • Primary industries supporting its economy (e.g. service, manufacturing, tourism, etc...)
  • Notable unique characteristics and characteristics commonly associated with it.
  • Major churches or major landmarks.

Lead: Example1Chew Stoke

Chew Stoke is a small village and civil parish in the Chew Valley, in Somerset, England, about 8 miles (13 km) south of Bristol. It is at the northern edge of the Mendip Hills, a region designated by the United Kingdom as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is within the Bristol/Bath Green Belt. The parish includes the hamlet of Breach Hill, which is approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of Chew Stoke itself.

Chew Stoke has a long history, as shown by the number and range of its heritage-listed buildings. The village is at the northern end of Chew Valley Lake, which was created in the 1950s, close to a dam, pumping station, sailing club, and fishing lodge. A tributary of the River Chew, which rises in Strode, runs through the village.

The population, approximately 900, is served by one shop, two public houses, a primary school and, a bowling club. Together with Chew Magna, it forms the ward of Chew Valley North in the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset. Chew Valley School and its associated leisure centre are less than a mile (1.6 km) from Chew Stoke. The village has some areas of light industry but is largely agricultural; many residents commute to nearby cities for employment.

Lead: Example2Neilston

Neilston is a village in East Renfrewshire, amongst the west central Lowlands of Scotland. It lies in the Levern Valley, 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of Barrhead, 5.7 miles (9.2 km) south-southwest of Renfrew, and 3.8 miles (6.1 km) south of Paisley, at the southwestern edge of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Neilston is a dormitory village comprising a resident population of just over 5,000 people.

Mentioned in documents as early as the 12th century, Neilston's early history is marked by its status as an important ecclesiastical parish linked with Paisley Abbey to the north. Neilston Parish Church—a Category B listed building—has lain at the centre of the community since 1163. Before industrialisation, Neilston was a farming and weaving community comprised of a series of single-storey houses, many of them thatched.

The urbanisation and development of Neilston largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution. Industrial scale textile processing was introduced to Neilston around the middle of the 18th century with the construction of several cotton mills. Neilston became a centre for cotton and calico bleaching and printing in the 18th century, which developed into a spinning and dying industry and continued into the early 20th century. Although known today as a former milling village, agriculture has, and continues to play an economic role for Neilston. The annual Neilston Agricultural Show is an important trading and cultural event for farmers from southwest Scotland each spring.

Although heavy industry demised during the latter half of the 20th century, the population has continued to grow as a commuting community, supported by its position between Paisley and Glasgow, from roughly 1,000 people in 1800 to 5,168 in 2001. Neilston, part of Scotland's densely populated Central Belt, has continued to expand due to several new housing developments.


The history section should normally include:

  • A note on the origin of the settlement's name. The Institute of Place-Name Studies at the University of Nottingham now has a helpful online resource.[1] If there is sufficient material to justify a subsection header, then it may be titled as etymology or toponymy. If a settlement has a name in another recognised regional or national language, this can be presented here.
  • A note on the earliest known history of the settlement (any Bronze Age or Roman artefacts for example), and the earliest known mentions of the settlement (e.g. in Domesday book).
  • Consider prose (or subheadings) on Industrial history, Social history or Political history where appropriate.
  • Manorial history. Where the village formed part of a former manor, almost always the case with English villages, the subject may be treated summarily as a sub-section within the history section, or where such text has expanded to make the article unbalanced, as a detailed stand-alone article, which should be linked to at the start of the sub-section with a main article tag.
  • Avoid using headings that arrange the history of a settlement according to century or decade.
  • Avoid organising prose into timelines. If these exist (or are developed), consider placing them in a [[History of _]] or [[Timeline of _]] article. Where such an article exists include {{main|History of _}} at the top of the history section linking to this more detailed article.


Include the following

  • Unitary Authority or 'County Council and District/Borough Council, plus, if applicable its civil parish(es) / town council(s)? Can you name its wards? Is it a ward? Does it have a mayor or Royal bestowments (charters)? etc.
  • Representatives – only list the numbers for the parties if a large place.
  • Changes in governance made throughout the history of the settlement—what was its former status? its former administrative district and/or county? etc.
  • Parliamentary constituency (both UK and, if other than England (minus London), its devolved/assembly level constituencies). If it is of sufficient importance relative to the constituency then identifying the local MP, MSP, MWA, MLA may be worth including here as well as on the existing page for that constituency.
  • For whole council districts, or where a place figures in local council heraldry, a note on any grants of arms to the council.
  • For London, see also the Wikipedia:WikiProject London/Naming conventions.


The geography section should normally include the following:

  • Where the settlement is in relation to others.
    • Include the distance and direction from the constituent country's capital, or London, or both.
    • Include the distance and direction from the settlement's relevant regional or district capital, or county town.
  • A note on the topography of the settlement, including its elevation above sea level, mentions of notable rivers, mountains or natural landmarks.
  • A note on the geology of the territory.
  • A note on the built environment of the settlement, including how the land is used, if there is any notable infrastructure (a heavy rail line, motorway etc.), and a note on how the urban structure of the settlement is shaped and lies in relation to administrative boundaries and its central business district (if any).
  • A note on any divisions or suburbs of the settlement.
  • A note/section on the settlement's climate (where figures are available).
  • Consider using Template:Geographic location.
  • If local data is available, consider using Template:Climate chart.
  • Where there is extensive information, it may be appropriate to create a new more detailed article titled 'Geography of ...' or 'Climate of ...' and move most of the detail to this article. Where this is done include {{main|Geography of _}} ''OR'' {{further|[[Geography of Example-shire]]}} ''AND/OR'' {{seealso|Climate of _}} at the top of the section.


{{main|Demography of _}} ''OR'' {{further|[[Demography of Example-shire]]}} Demography: Include the following only if data is available

  • Current population and where the figure is taken from.
  • The ethnic composition.
  • The religious composition.
  • Economic activity of the population.
  • The population change over the last century.
  • A note on social class (strictly where citation allows).
  • Consider including a statistic comparison table.


{{main|Economy of _}} Economy: Include the following

  • A note on major employment sectors.
  • A note on major employers.
  • A note on traditional or former sectors.
  • A note on regeneration/gentrification projects is encouraged here if applicable.

Culture and communityEdit

  • This section may be split into Culture and Community facilities as below, or may cover both


  • A note on any local customs or traditions.
  • A note on any cultural events (such as an annual parade, sport or market).
  • This section could also encompass "cultural references", "landmarks" and "media" where standalone sections are unfeasible (see Wormshill example).
  • A note on twinning arrangements and activities.

Community facilitiesEdit

  • A note on any parks, health centres (including hospitals), libraries etc.


Landmarks: Include the following

  • Note on any war memorials.
  • Notable buildings or architecture.
    • Grade I / Category A listed buildings are highly recommended to be mentioned here, though other listed buildings are also suitable for inclusion.
  • Notable sites of tourism.
  • Notable natural landmarks (such as a waterfall, or landform).


Transport: Include the following

  • A note on the transport infrastructure in place in and around the settlement, including, but not limited to:
    • The major road through the settlement, as well as any other A or B roads in the settlement.
    • Any significant public transport facilities (bus stations, mass transit services).
    • If a settlement lies within a Passenger Transport Executive area, this should be mentioned.
  • Any heavy rail or light rail stations and lines.
  • Any airports/ferryports that are associated with the settlement can be mentioned, but a detailed description of any of them should be placed in their own article, or else in the article dealing with the local government article that contains them.


{{seealso|List of schools in Constituent country subdivision}}

  • If a village, write about the local library and primary school or museums if any exist.
  • If a town, write about the local secondary school and any grammar, public or specialist schools. A list of primary schools is not usually appropriate (especially if there are more than three); although a total number of how many may be useful.
  • If a city, write about any universities or further education colleges, museums and any other educational institutions. Notable public schools may also be included. Listing the secondary schools should be discouraged if there are more than about three and primary schools should definitely not be listed. A total of how many primary schools and secondary schools there are can be useful, however.
  • If there is no notable people section, then list notable people associated with the field of science and engineering or notable people who attended local institutions for their education.

Religious sitesEdit

Religious sites (NOTE: May also use the alternative heading of "Religion" should the content extend to material beyond the places of worship themselves): Include the following

  • Any churches or other such religious sites, and, where applicable, to whom they are dedicated (i.e. which saint).


Sport (NOTE: May also use the alternative heading of "Sport and leisure"; alternatively this may be a sub-section of "Culture" (below)): Include the following

  • A note on notable sports teams or sports centres.
  • A note on any proposals involving leisure in the area

Sport and leisure: Example London Borough of Croydon

The borough has been criticized in the past for not having enough leisure facilities, maintaining the position of Croydon as a three star borough. At the moment only three leisure centres are open for public use and two of these are expected to be closed down in the near future, with plans for only one of them to be re-built. Thornton Heath's ageing sports centre was recently knocked down, and replaced by a newer more modern leisure centre. South Norwood Leisure Centre was closed down in early 2006 so that it could be knocked completely down and re-designed from scratch like Thornton Heath, which would cost around £10 million. In May 2006 the Conservative Party became in charge of Croydon and decided that doing this would cost too much money, so they came up with another idea of just re-furbishing the centre, although this decision did not come without controversy.

Purley Pool is to close soon, but a new "super-pool" is planned in Coulsdon. The ageing New Addington Leisure Centre is also set to close but is to be re-built. A new leisure centre is also going to be built on the A23, southern end of Purley Way in Waddon. Sport Croydon is currently the commercial arm for leisure in the borough and the logo is seen somewhere in each of the centres. Fusion currently provides leisure services for the council which previously used Parkwood Leisure which itself provides services for nearby Lewisham.

Football teams include Crystal Palace F.C., which plays at Selhurst Park, in the Coca-Cola Championship. Coulsdon United F.C. (formerly Coulsdon Town F.C. before the merge with Salfords F.C.) currently play in the Combined Counties League Division One. Croydon Athletic F.C., whose local nickname is The Rams, is a football club based in Thornton Heath's Keith Tuckey Stadium and play in the Isthmian League Division One South, with Croydon F.C. who play at Croydon Sports Arena and Holmesdale, who were founded in South Norwood but currently playing on Oakley Road in Bromley, currently in the Kent League. Non-football teams that play in Croydon are Streatham-Croydon RFC, an historic rugby union club in Thornton Heath who play at Frant Road, as well as South London Storm Rugby League Club, based at Streatham's ground, who compete in the Rugby League Conference. The London Olympians are an American Football team that play in Division 1 South in the British American Football League.

Notable peopleEdit

Provide information of notable individuals that were born, or lived for a significant amount of time, in the settlement. Prose is preferred, though a bulleted list noting the connection the person has with the settlement as indicated in Wikipedia:Manual of Style (embedded lists)#"Children" may be used if appropriate. Simple lists of names add little of value and may be subject to abuse. More developed articles, especially those which have gone through WP:GA and WP:FA, tend to have this section written out as prose. The talkpage may be used in the early stages of an article's development to simply list people who are connected with a settlement.

If the section grows then it may be split out per WP:Summary style into a stand alone article or list which can be linked to via the {{main}} template placed at the top of the section – example: {{main|List of people from Foo}}.

Relevant guidelines are: WP:EMBED, WP:NLIST and WP:Source list, and should be consulted for up to date advice.

  • Everyone under this section must satisfy Wikipedia:Notability (people).
  • A note on what people from this settlement are called, (e.g. people from Manchester are called Mancunians).
  • A note on any notable births in the settlement.
  • A note on any notable residents in the settlement.
  • Do not use a list format in this section. Please write this as prose, reference each person, and do not use the word "famous" or synonyms.

See alsoEdit

See also (this heading is not mandatory): Include the following:

  • Only list articles here that are directly related to the settlement.
  • In most cases, articles that are already referenced within the body of the article should not be included.


NOTE: Reference sections may follow a number of styles, including separate "Footnote" and "Further reading" sections; please refer to WP:REF for more information.

  • Every article of Wikipedia must provide reliable citation, and thus this section is mandatory per policy.
  • Please use {{reflist}} for a standalone "Reference" section.
  • Try to avoid over-using citation in lead sections.
  • Consider using an approved citation template to better organise and present references.
  • When providing a reference, please note that the word or punctuation goes before the reference, with no space in between. Full stops should not appear after a reference (e.g., "this is a quote".<ref>Smith J. (1234), Example book</ref>).

External linksEdit

External links should be added only rarely, and in accordance with the guidelines found in WP:EL. Consequently, this section should only rarely be found in most articles. In particular, the use of links as described in WP:SPAM should always be avoided.

If any links are deemed appropriate for this section, they should always be accompanied by an appropriate description of (a) what they are, (b) their justification, and (c) the date on which they were added in the form "Accessed: 7 July 2007" (WP:EL#External links section gives some more information about this).

A link to any Wikivoyage article on the area may be added with the appropriate template: Template:Wikivoyage

External links used as a form of verification for facts found in the text of the article should be treated as references and not be added to this section (see WP:EL#References and citation).

Optional headingsEdit

Some settlements' entries may be dominated so much by a specific landmark, person or movement (such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster) that it may require its own section (rather than just a sub-section). Where this is applicable, try to insert it beneath the heading to which it is most related. Similarly some of the smallest settlements may be lacking in extensive notability and source material, and so some of the latter sections may be suitable for amalgamation (such as a "Culture and community" section).

There is broad diversity in the settlements of the UK, and as such, some settlements may require extra or alternative headings. These could include:

Industry and commerceEdit

(Note: consider if material for this section is more suitable for the "Economy" section).

  • A note on notable shopping centres (of regional or national notability).


(Note: this should be about political figures and political events, not local and national government arrangements)

  • A note on any notable political figures or events (such as the first successful election of an MP who later became Prime Minister, or a high-profile council strike or political movement which took place in the settlement).
  • A local election result breakdown table from available data.


  • A note on any notable local newspapers, radio stations or other media productions.

Invention and discoveryEdit

(Note: this section may be suitable as a sub-section of "History")

  • A note on any notable inventions and/or discoveries made within the settlement, whether they be scientific, sporting, engineering or any other field of knowledge.

Future plansEdit

(Note: this should not be of a speculative nature, but be referenced from published material as to certain development, regeneration or gentrification is set to occur)

Cultural referencesEdit

  • Any references to the settlement in works of fiction, books, paintings etc.


  • Any appearances in notable television productions, or movies.

Public servicesEdit

  • A note on which of the United Kingdom water companies supply water.
    • A note on any notable reservoirs which form part of the local supply of water.
  • A note on which body/authority is responsible for waste management and/or sewerage.
  • A note on which company is the Distribution Network Operator for electricity.
  • A note on any hospitals, surgeries, or other health centres in the settlement (with the possibility of elaborating where the nearest NHS hospital may be).
    • A note on which NHS Trust serves the area.
    • A note on which ambulance service operates in the area.
  • A note on which of the police forces serves the settlement, and if any stations are in the area.
  • A note on which fire service serves the settlement and if any stations are in the area.
  • A note on any other notable public services (telecommunications, social housing, and local businesses are not generally suitable).

Public services: Example Oldham

Home Office policing in Oldham is provided by the Greater Manchester Police. The force's "(Q) Division" have their headquarters for policing the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham at central Oldham. Public transport is co-ordinated by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. Statutory emergency fire and rescue service is provided by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, who have two stations in Oldham; at Hollins on Hollins Road, and at Clarksfield on Lees Road.

The Royal Oldham Hospital, at Oldham's northern boundary with Royton, is a large NHS hospital administrated by Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. It was opened under its existing name on 1 December 1989. Formerly known as Oldham District and General, and occupying the site of the town's former workhouse (named Oldham Union Workhouse in 1851), the hospital is notable for being the birthplace of Louise Joy Brown – the world's first successful In vitro fertilised "test tube baby", on 25 July 1978. The North West Ambulance Service provides emergency patient transport to and from this facility. Other forms of health care are provided for locally by several small clinics and surgeries.

Waste management is co-ordinated by the local authority via the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority. Locally produced inert waste for disposal is sent to landfill at the Beal Valley. Oldham's Distribution Network Operator for electricity is United Utilities; there are no power stations in the town. United Utilities also manages Oldham's drinking and waste water; water supplies being sourced from several local reservoirs, including Dovestones and Chew. There is a water treatment works at Waterhead.

Dos and don'tsEdit

  • Per WP:TRIVIA, do not use a "trivia", "miscellaneous" or "other facts" section.
  • Per MOS:LISTBASICS, avoid using lists wherever possible (particularly for "notable people" or "subdivisions"); consider using tables, diagrams or prose.
  • Per WP:DATELINK, dates should only be linked if they have an independent significance in the article. The same applies to dates in the footnotes.
  • Avoid describing named areas that are verifiably part of a wider settlement as "districts" or "suburbs", unless citation supports this. Whilst these two terms have common usages, they also indicate a specific and technical geographic term to which an area may not actually conform.
  • Per WP:EL and WP:SPAM, be reluctant to add external links unless they are essential, and always restrict them to the External Links section, or to within an appropriately tagged reference.
  • Avoid one-sentence paragraphs wherever possible.
  • If wishing to promote an article to Good article status, it is recommended that it goes through the Wikipedia peer review process first.

Grammar and layout checklistEdit


  • Only the first word in a section heading needs a capital letter (except in proper nouns).
  • "Century" does not need a capital, e.g. "15th century" rather than "15th Century"

Common words and phrases to avoidEdit

  • Avoid weasel words, such as "it is believed that", "is widely regarded as", "some have claimed". (GA criteria)
  • The words "current", "recent" & "to date" should be avoided because they become outdated. Use "as of <year>" or, if the information should be kept up to date, the {{As of}} template. (GA criteria)
  • "While" should be used only when emphasising that two events occur at the same time, or when emphasising contrast. It should not be used as an additive link.
  • Using "with" as an additive link leads to wordy and awkward prose, e.g. "the town has ten councillors, with one being the district mayor" → "the town has ten councillors; one is the district mayor"
  • Beginning a sentence with "there", when "there" does not stand for anything, leads to wordy prose, e.g. There are ten houses in the villageThe village has ten houses. The same applies to sentences beginning with "it".
  • Avoid peacock terms, such as "beautiful", "famous", "popular", "well-known", "significant", "important" and "obvious". Precise descriptors such as country/county's "Most Beautiful Village", "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" and "National Park" is permitted but should be accompanied by sufficient, reliable and notable citations. (GA criteria)
  • Avoid contentious labels and peacock words, e.g. "Scotland's top-ranked golfer..." especially in a section that is a summary section only, e.g. in Notable People or in describing national/international history or any aspects of politics.
  • Avoid using "not" unnecessarily, e.g. "previously not developed" → "previously undeveloped"
  • Avoid contractions (such as "can't", "isn't" or "they're")
  • Avoid starting a sentence with "Its"; this is a possessive pronoun, its use can be in this way.
  • Avoid informal words, such as "pub", "carry out", "though", "tremendous" and "bigger".
  • Avoid vague words, such as "various", "many", "several", "long", "a number of", "just", "very" and "almost".
  • Avoid using overly formal words or wordy phrases, such as "circa", "utilise", "whilst", "upon", "commence", "the majority of", "generate", "due to the fact that" and "prior to".
  • Avoid redundant words such as "is located in", "the two are both", "they brought along", "they have plans to", "they were all part of", "the last ones to form", "both the towns", "outside of the town", "all of the towns", "received some donations", "still exists today", "it also includes others", "many different towns", "near to the town", "available records show", "to help limit the chance", "Christian church", "in order to", "first began", "joined together", "future plans" and "in the year 2007".
  • "Last few years" has ambiguous meaning; "past few years" is preferable in some contexts. However: avoid Relative time references
  • "Within" has a different meaning to "in". "Within" should be used only when emphasising that something is inside something, e.g. "the town is in the county", "the town is within the county boundaries"

Hyphens, dashes and spacesEdit

  • Rather than hyphens, en dashes should be used for ranges, e.g. 5–10 years; unspaced em dashes or spaced en dashes should be used for punctuation, e.g. The building—now disused—was built in 1820. importScript("User:GregU/dashes.js"); may be used in your personal JavaScript page to fix dashes with one click.
  • Page ranges in the footnotes, and sports scores should also use en dashes.
  • "&nbsp;" (non-breaking space) should be typed between numbers and units, and other numerical/non-numerical components, e.g., "10 miles", which appears on writing 10&nbsp;miles, similarly for "Boeing 747"
  • A hyphen should not be placed after an -ly word if it is an adverb, e,g., widely used road; except if the -ly word is or could be mistaken for an adjective, e.g., friendly-looking man.
  • Periods and spaces are needed after initials in people's names, e.g. P. G. Wodehouse
  • Compound adjectives need hyphens, for example, the 1000-year-old tree, but, the tree was 1000 years old.
  • Ampersands should not be used except in company/partnership names, e.g. Marks & Spencer.


  • All fair-use images need a fair use rationale. (GA criteria)
  • An image caption should end with a full-stop only if it forms a complete sentence. (GA criteria)
  • Text should not be sandwiched between two adjacent images. (GA criteria)
  • Images need succinct captions. (GA criteria)
  • It is recommended not to specify the exact size of images. The sizes should be what readers have specified in their user preferences.


  • The lead should adequately summarise the content of the article. (GA criteria)
  • Anything in the lead should be mentioned elsewhere in the article. (GA criteria)


  • Wikilinks should be made only if they are relevant to the context. Common words do not need wikilinking.
  • A word needs to be wikilinked only once within each section.
  • Links within quotations should be avoided, if possible.
  • Logical quotation (British style) should be used on UK articles. That is, include within quotation marks only those punctuation marks that appeared in the quoted material, but otherwise place punctuation outside the closing quotation marks. For example – "Carefree", in general, means "free from care or anxiety". but "Today", said former Prime Minister Tony Blair, "I feel free from care and anxiety."
  • Dates should not be linked unless there is "reason to do so" per MOS:UNLINKDATES.
  • External links that are not references belong only in an External Links section.
  • Portal links such as to Wikimedia images are usually placed in the "See also" section.


  • Lists within articles should generally be turned into prose, unless they meet one of the criteria in Wikipedia:Embedded list. (GA criteria)
  • Short sections and paragraphs are discouraged. (GA criteria)


  • Imperial measurements (eg. miles, feet, acres) should be accompanied by the metric equivalent in brackets, and vice versa. If possible, use a conversion template, e.g. {{convert|5|mi|km|0}}. A further advantage of this is it inputs &nbsp; without having to type it.
  • Whole numbers under 10 should be spelled out as words, except for distances between settlements and in lists, tables or infoboxes.
  • Sentences should not start with a numeral. The sentence should be recast or the number should be spelled out.

References and citationsEdit

  • Statements that are likely to be challenged, quotations and statistics need inline citations. (GA criteria)
  • Publication references are preferred with author, title, publisher, publishing date and page number.
  • Book references may also include city of publication and ISBN, but this is not required.
  • Web references are preferred with the author, publisher, publishing date, website and access date.
  • Web references preferably should include the language if it is not English, and the format if it is not HTML e.g. |format=PDF
  • References with consistent formatting, e.g. consistent author format, abbreviations for "page number", etc are often requested for Featured Articles, but are not required for GA or other articles.
  • Blogs and personal websites are not reliable sources, unless written by the subject of the article or by an expert on the subject. See WP:BLOGS.
  • Dead web references should not be removed, unless replaced.
  • Inline citations belong immediately after a relevant punctuation mark.

See alsoEdit


Bedfordshire Bedfordshire facts & figures
· Luton
Berkshire West Berkshire 2001 Census data
Bristol Ward finder
· Milton Keynes
· Peterborough 2001 Census Profile of Peterborough Cambridgeshire County Council, June 2003
Cheshire *George Ormerod, The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, Vol. 1 2 3, (1819) (Historical & census)
· Halton
· Warrington
Cornwall Parish population data
· Isles of Scilly
Cumbria Census 2001
· Derby
Devon See the Devon WikiProject list of resources.
· Plymouth
· Torbay
Dorset Parish population data (import should be complete)
· Bournemouth
· Poole
County Durham Durham County Council 2001 Census data
· Darlington
· Hartlepool
· Stockton-on-Tees
East Riding of Yorkshire
· Kingston-upon-Hull
East Sussex
· Brighton and Hove
Essex Epping Forest census data (includes 1961-2001)
· Southend-on-Sea
· Thurrock
· South Gloucestershire
Greater London
Greater Manchester
Hampshire 2001 census
· Southampton
· Portsmouth
Herefordshire 2001 census Population and demographics Excel sheet of Parish population histories
Hertfordshire Population and census data
Isle of Wight
Kent 2001 Census Area Profiles
· Medway
· Blackburn with Darwen
· Blackpool
Leicestershire Census 2001
· Leicester
Lincolnshire Parish population profiles
· North Lincolnshire
· North East Lincolnshire
Norfolk Census population (Excel speadsheet) South Norfolk: parish data and ward data Links to parish websites in Breckland Breckland further data
North Yorkshire
· York
· Middlesbrough
· Redcar and Cleveland
· Stockton-on-Tees
· Northamptonshire
Northumberland Tynedale population data (PDF)
· Nottingham
· Telford and Wrekin
Somerset Parish population data
· Bath and North East Somerset Census Data
· North Somerset Census Information
South Yorkshire
Staffordshire Local government history
· Stoke-on-Trent
Tyne and Wear
West Midlands
West Sussex Ward profiles
West Yorkshire
Wiltshire Wiltshire Community History from Wiltshire County Council giving brief historical information and references for settlements including old maps and Population by community 1801–2001 census data
· Swindon Population by community 1801–2001 census data at Wiltshire Community History from Wiltshire County Council
  1. ^ "Key to English Place-names".