Announcement of Golden Jubilee City Status Competition
On 27 October 1998, the then Home Secretary (Jack Straw) announced that
the Queen had expressed the intention of marking both the Millennium and
the 50th Anniversary of Her Accession to the throne by grants of city status.
On 18 December 2000, the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at
the Home Office (Mike O'Brien) announced that The Queen had agreed to the
Prime Minister's recommendation that Her Golden Jubilee should be marked,
exceptionally, by grants of city status to a suitably qualified town in
each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
On 23 July 2001, the Lord Chancellor announced in a written answer to a
Question that the competitions for city status and Lord
Mayoralty would be launched on 25 July 2001, with the closing date of
12 October 2001.
The details are contained in a press notice
issued on 25 July.
Grant of City Status
City status is a rare mark of distinction granted by the Sovereign and
conferred by Letters Patent. It is granted by personal Command of the Queen,
on the advice of Her Ministers.
Additional Functions/Powers Conferred by City Status
The grant of city status is purely honorific; it confers no additional
powers or functions on the town.
City status is not, and never has been, a right which can be claimed by
a town fulfilling certain conditions. The use of specific criteria could
lead to a town claiming city status as of right, which in turn might devalue
the honour. All applications are considered on their individual merits.
Awards Since 1900
Brighton & Hove
Sunderland (40th Anniversary of Queen's Accession to the throne)
Derby (Queen's Silver Jubilee)
Swansea (Investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales)
Lancaster (George VI's Coronation)
Following the Golden Jubillee city status competition, there are now 66
cities in the UK - 50 in England, 5 in Wales, 6 in Scotland and 5 in Northern
Brighton & Hove
Bangor, Cardiff, Newport, St David's and Swansea
Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling.
Northern Irish Cities
Armagh, Belfast, Lisburn, Londonderry and Newry.
Frequently asked questions
Who awards city status?
- City status is an honour granted by Her Majesty the Queen under the
Royal Prerogative, acting on the advice of Ministers.
Who is responsible for advising The Queen?
- With the changes in the machinery of government after the 2001 General
Election, responsibility for advising Her Majesty on civic honours and
other Royal matters has passed from the Home Secretary to the Lord Chancellor.
Which other Ministers are involved?
- As appropriate, the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland and the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and
Do the devolved administrations have a say?
- City status is a reserved matter throughout the United Kingdom and is
therefore a matter for UK Government Ministers; but any comments which
the devolved administrations may wish to make on the applications from
the relevant countries will be taken into account.
Who decides when there will be a competition?
- It is for Her Majesty the Queen to decide when a competition for city
status should be held. Competitions are usually held on occasions such
as important Royal anniversaries.
- The Home Secretary announced on 26 October 1998, in answer to a written
Parliamentary Question, that Her Majesty had expressed an intention to
mark the Millennium and the 50th Anniversary of Her Accession to the throne
by grants of city status.
Can anyone apply for their town to become a city?
- No. The application has to come from the local authority.
How is the award bestowed?
- Letters Patent, although a number of very old cities have city status
by Ancient Prescriptive Usage.
Which towns were granted city status to mark the Millennium?
- Brighton & Hove, Inverness and Wolverhampton.
Which other towns applied for the Millennium city status competition?
- Thirty-nine applications for the Millennium grant were received, from
27 English, 6 Welsh, 4 Scottish and 2 Northern Irish towns. In addition
to the three towns that were granted city status (see previous answer),
Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Chelmsford, Colchester, Croydon, Doncaster,
Dover, Guildford, Ipswich, Luton, Maidstone, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton
Keynes, Northampton, Preston, Reading, Shrewsbury & Atcham, Southend
on Sea, Southwark, Stockport, Swindon, Telford and Warrington
Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Newport, Newtown, St Asaph and Wrexham
Ayr, Paisley and Stirling
Northern Irish Applicants
Ballymena and Lisburn
Have they all been invited to apply for the Golden Jubilee competition?
- Yes. They have also been given the option of having their application
for the Millennium competition reconsidered for the Golden Jubilee competition.
How many towns will be granted city status to mark the Queen's Golden
- It was announced on 18 December 2000 that Her Majesty The Queen had
agreed to the Prime Minister's recommendation that Her Golden Jubilee
be marked by the grant of city status to a suitably qualified town from
each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
How does a town qualify for city status?
- Towns known to be interested in the honour are invited to apply for
city status by way of a competition. City status is not a right that can
be claimed by a town fulfilling certain criteria. Each application is
considered on its individual merits.
Why are there no criteria?
- The use of specific criteria could lead to a town claiming city status
as of right, which in turn might devalue the honour.
Must a city have a cathedral?
What guidance has been given to potential applicants?
- Towns known to be interested in applying for city status have been told
that the following main factors will be taken into account
While some suggestions have been given to towns
of the types of factors that might be mentioned under these three broad
headings, it has been emphasised that applicants should decide for themselves
how best to demonstrate that they have these qualities, and that Ministers
will wish to consider applications "in the round", to get a
balanced view of each town's qualities. No details will be given of the
reasons for towns' success, or lack of success, in the competition.
- notable features, including significance regionally; significance
within England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, and/or significance
within the United Kingdom as a whole;
- historical (including Royal) considerations; and
- a forward-looking attitude.
When will the results of the Golden Jubilee competition be announced?
- The closing date for the submission of applications or new material
is 12 October 2001. No date has yet been set for the announcement of the
results, but it is expected to be in the early months of 2002.
Can unsuccessful towns appeal against the decision?
- No. There is no right of appeal against a decision made by the Sovereign
under the Royal Prerogative.
There is also to be an award of Lord Mayoralty for the Golden Jubilee.
How does a town apply for a Lord Mayoralty?
- Only cities can apply for this honour. It is an exceptional distinction
conferred on the Mayors of a few - usually long-established and important
- cities. (See the Golden Jubilee Lord
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