The flag representing the historic county of Lancashire has been hoisted above Whitehall to coincide with the county day on 27 November.
The flag features the iconic red rose of Lancaster, which is the county flower of Lancashire, on a background of golden yellow - the livery colours of the county. The red rose is a symbol for the House of Lancaster, immortalised in the verse “In the battle for England’s head/York was white, Lancaster red” referring to the 15th century War of the Roses.
The historic county of Lancashire dates from the 12th century and emerged during the industrial revolution as a major commercial and industrial region. The county encompassed several hundred mill towns and collieries. By the 1830s, approximately 85% of all cotton manufactured worldwide was processed in Lancashire.
Over the past 2 years flags for all the English counties have been flown outside the department, to celebrate the important place counties play in the nation’s cultural heritage.
A range of other flags has also been hoisted above the building to recognise national days of significance such as the Red Ensign flag for Merchant Navy day, the Armed Forces flag for Armed Forces Day and the flag of the Falkland Islands to mark the islands’ liberation day.
The department has also published a new, ‘Plain English guide to flying flags’. This will make it easier than ever before for individuals, businesses and community groups to fly their chosen flag without incurring costs of up to £335.
The guide provides a clear summary of the new liberalisation of controls over flag flying that were recently introduced by the Secretary of State. It is a simple way of knowing which flags can be flown without the consent of the local planning authority so that communities can continue to fly them with joy and pride.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“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. This sense of pride and shared identity is one of the things that binds communities together.
“I’ve been celebrating this patriotic pride by flying a range of flags outside my department over the past couple of years. The new plain English guide will make it easier than ever to do this, so I look forward to seeing more flags flying around the country with the relaxation of these rules.”
Chris Dawson from the Friends of Real Lancashire said:
“Successive governments have confirmed the boundaries of Lancashire, and we welcome their further confirmation by this government, which demonstrates the valuable part that traditional counties play in modern life.
“We hope that the flying of traditional county flags outside the department’s office will lead to further measures to promote the identity of Britain’s traditional counties. We welcome the flying of the Lancashire flag in celebration of Lancashire Day.”
Geoff Drive, Leader of Lancashire County Council said:
“We’re very pleased that the Department for Communities and Local Government is flying the Lancashire flag to celebrate Lancashire Day.
“Lancashire is a county with great history and tradition and a bright future through industries such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing.
“2012 has been an extraordinary year for Lancashire, with the Open Golf Championships at Royal Lytham, royal visits for the Diamond Jubilee, the Preston Guild and welcoming the Olympic torch relay. Flying our flag at the heart of government will be a fitting end to a tremendous year for our county.”
The relaxation of regulations for flying flags came into force on 12 October 2012.