To celebrate the important place counties play in the nation’s cultural heritage Secretary of State Eric Pickles has asked that English county standards be flown alongside the Union Flag outside DCLG’s Eland House headquarters in Victoria.
Mr Pickles raised the first flag - for his adopted home county of Essex - in a ceremony also attended by celebrity astrologer and long-time English county campaigner Russell Grant.
Flags are being flown for a week at a time in alphabetical order or - in cases such as Cornwall and Yorkshire - to coincide with particular county days.
Eric Pickles said:
The Union Flag rightly has pride of place outside the department but I’m delighted it will now be flown alongside our traditional and ceremonial county flags.
England’s counties continue to form an important part of our cultural and local identity in this country and many people remain deeply attached to their home county - both the traditional ‘cricket’ counties and in some cases their more modern administrative successors. This sense of pride and shared identity is 1 of the things that binds communities together and it’s right that the government department responsible for communities and local government should be actively recognising the important role they play.
Allan Willett CMG, Lord-Lieutenant of Kent
The people of Kent are immensely proud of our ‘frontline county’. It was the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, founded in the 5th Century, with its influence spreading far beyond its present boundaries; the first to be converted to Christianity; the ‘guardian of England’ seeing off would-be invaders down the centuries; the most progressive, receiving, developing and passing on new agricultural and industrial ideas and processes; and is still, today, the ‘garden of England’.
Partly because of its peninsula location Kent has a particularly strong sense of community identity. This is reflected in a continuous programme of joint working between the county’s local authorities, the Lieutenancy of Kent and the Shrievalty.
The department is obliged to fly the European Union flag during Europe Week (week beginning 9 May) under Article 7(2) of EC Regulation 1828/2006.
The Kent flag has been kindly loaned by the Association of British Counties at no charge.
Photographs of the county flags will be added to the DCLG Flickr channel