Yorkshire Day falls on the anniversary of the Battle of Minden, part of the Seven Years War, which was fought on the 1 August 1759. Soldiers from a Yorkshire regiment played a significant part in the victory and reports from the period suggest that the soldiers picked roses and wore them on their uniforms, either during the battle or afterwards.
When the Yorkshire Ridings Society first promoted Yorkshire Day, in 1975, it highlighted the link with Minden Day, also 1 August, because of the use of the rose by the Yorkshire soldiers who fought in the battle.
This year’s Yorkshire Day celebrations include a civic parade through the town of Skipton, a barge flotilla, a local military brass band, a photography exhibition capturing the Yorkshire landscape and guided walks on local heritage.
In April, the government formally acknowledged the continuing role of England’s traditional counties in English public life. Previously, many parts of Whitehall and municipal officialdom have shunned these counties, many of which date back over a thousand years of English history. This move complements this government’s abolition of unelected regional government in England, based on European Union’s ‘NUTS1’ (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics) administrative boundaries. By contrast, the celebration of Yorkshire reflects how the government is championing the long-standing, traditional localities of England.
The government has amended the law to make it easier to fly flags without a permit from the council.
Eric Pickles said:
We are stronger as a society when we celebrate the ties that bind us together. I want to send a strong signal - we should fly our flags with pride. Whatever one’s class, colour or creed, let’s have pride in Britain’s local and national identities.
It gives me immense pleasure to see the flag of the county of my birth, Yorkshire, raised to celebrate Yorkshire Day.
The historic English counties are one of the oldest forms of local government in western Europe. Their roots run deep. And no amount of administrative reshuffling can delete these longstanding and cherished local identities.
Keith Madeley, Chair of the Yorkshire Society said:
The county benefits by this unifying event as it gives civic heads from north, east, south and west of the county the opportunity to meet and share best practice, difficulties, successes and seek areas of common ground and interest. The publicity surrounding the day draws attention to all the good things we enjoy in this beautiful county and demonstrates that the people of Yorkshire are justifiably proud of all that Yorkshire stands for.
I am delighted to note the DCLG will be flying the Yorkshire Flag on Thursday to help celebrate the county’s very own day.
The government has amended the law to make it easier to fly local and traditional flags without a permit from the council. See Flying flags: a plain English guide.
More information on the event can be found on the Yorkshire Day 2013 website.
To celebrate the important place counties play in the nation’s cultural heritage, English county standards are flown alongside the Union Flag outside the Department’s Eland House headquarters in Victoria.