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County Durham
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County Durham

This article is about the English county. For other uses see Durham (disambiguation)

County Durham
Status: Ceremonial & (smaller) Administrative County
Region: North East England
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 19th
2,676 km²
Ranked 23rd
2,226 km²
Admin HQ: Durham
ONS code: 20
- Total (2002 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 24th
303 / km²
Ranked 27th
Ethnicity: 98.6% White

Durham County Council
Executive: Labour
Members of Parliament
Hilary Armstrong, Tony Blair, Frank Cook, John Cummings, Derek Foster, Kevan Jones, Peter Mandelson, Alan Milburn, Gerry Steinberg, Dari Taylor
  1. Durham
  2. Easington
  3. Sedgefield
  4. Teesdale
  5. Wear Valley
  6. Derwentside
  7. Chester-le-Street
  8. Hartlepool (Unitary)
  9. Darlington (Unitary)
  10. Stockton-on-Tees (Unitary)
    (the part north of the Tees)

County Durham is a county in north-east England, with an area of 2,258 km² and an estimated population (November 2002) of 486,000.

The form of the county name is unique in England. Many counties are named after their principal town, but the expected form here would be 'Durhamshire'. The reason it is called Durham instead is that the Prince-Bishops of Durham historically exercised power in regions outside the county as well, so the inner part was named County Durham as opposed to the rest of the estate of Durham. (But the form "County X" is standard for Irish counties, with no such significance.)

The county traditionally extends to the south bank of the river Tyne and included Sunderland, South Shields, and Gateshead. It bordered the counties of Cumberland, Northumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire. The east of the county between the Ryhope district of Sunderland and Seaton Carew in Hartlepool is the coastline of the North Sea. The county town is Durham. It had several exclaves, including Bedlingtonshire, Norhamshire, Islandshire (incorporated into Northumberland in the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844), and Crayke, now in North Yorkshire.

Geographically, Durham is roughly bounded by the watershed of the Pennines in the west, the River Tees in the south, the North Sea in the east and the River Tyne/River Derwent in the north. It borders on the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

Durham County Council was established along with all the other English county councilss in 1888. Major local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974 created the metropolitan boroughs of Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead out of County Durham into the newly established county of Tyne and Wear. At the same time, the new county of Cleveland took out Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool. County Durham did however gain the rural district of Startforth south of the River Tees near to Barnard Castle. Since then, Cleveland has been abolished, but Stockton and Hartlepool have not been returned to Durham, except for the purposes of Lord-Lieutanancy.

The county is divided into seven local government districts, they are:

On 1 April 1997, the town of Darlington with its population of 100,000 became a unitary authority and thus separate from County Durham. It also shares a police and fire service with the county.

In May 2004 options for regional government were published which may see the end of the districts as currently set up or of the county council.

Towns and villages

Places of interest

Options for change

May 25, 2004 the Boundary Committee for England published its final recommendations for systems of Unitary Authorities to be implemented if proposals for elected Regional Assemblies are approved by referendums in three northern Regions of England. They put forward two options for each County Council area, which the electorate will be asked to choose between at the same time as the Assembly Referendums.

For County Durham the options are

Option 1

Option 1 (left)
  1. Hartlepool
  2. Stockton-on-Tees
  3. Darlington
  4. County Durham Council
Option 2

Option 2 (right)
  1. Hartlepool
  2. Stockton-on-Tees
  3. Darlington
  4. South Durham
  5. North Durham
  6. East Durham

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