IT’S an argument that will never die.
Saddleworth was separated from the rest of Yorkshire during the local government reorganisation of 1974 – and the wounds have never healed.
Bizarrely, the area was included in and makes up more than half the area of Oldham Borough Council.
Now Geoff Bayley, chairman of Saddleworth White Rose Society, (SWRS), says he welcomes the recent statement by Local Government Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.
He said: “The Government will assert that England’s historic and traditional counties still exist, and will seek to encourage the marking of their boundaries and continued use of their county names.”
SWRS members have consistently campaigned for the recognition of Saddleworth’s historic identity as part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and to correct the misconception that the local government changes of 1974 somehow moved Saddleworth into Lancashire.
During the past two years, the society has succeeded in marking some of the places where the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire coincides with the Saddleworth boundary.
Boundary signs have been erected on the following roads, A672, A640 , and also on the A669 at the appropriately named ‘County End’.
Mr Bayley said he wanted to acknowledge the support of the local MP, borough and parish councillors of both Saddleworth and Shaw/Crompton, and also various county organisations for their support, and the co-operation of borough officers, particularly in identifying suitable sites.
Mr Bayley’s argument rests heavily on historical timescale.
He says The Ridings of Yorkshire have existed for over 1,000 years, while the former county councils which were created to administer local government for the Ridings, were not imposed until 1889, and were abolished in 1974, a period of only 85 years.
He says it was the administrative County Councils which were abolished, not the Ridings themselves.
Roy Bardsley, founder member and secretary of SWRS, added: “ Eric Pickles’ statement reaffirms our message that the traditional counties were never abolished, only their administrative councils.”
The Yorkshire Day Celebrations in Saddleworth, this year will be held on Sunday, August 4.
It will start with a brass band playing in the Museum Gardens, Uppermill.
There will then be speeches and the reading of the Yorkshire Declaration followed by a parade along High Street to King George V playing fields for the Country Fair.
There are still many links. Delph play cricket in the Drakes Huddersfield League and football clubs like Uppermill, Diggle and Heyside all field teams in the Huddersfield District League.