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Avon, English County (1974 - 1996)

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Avon: English County between 1974 and 1996

England

People who had connections to Avon between 1974 and 1996 can be linked to this project.

Image Right - Avon cc Arms from Wiki Commons. Other maps on this page are adapted from Wiki images.
See Counties of England, United Kingdom

Because of the changes to Counties in England in 1974 and 1996 it can be very confusing to know in which county to place our English ancestors. The purpose of this project is to clarify things regarding Avon, with links to further projects covering other areas in the area affected by the changes. Essentially the location is governed by the dates your ancestors lived. Pre 1974 you need to look at the historic counties of Gloucestershire and Somerset

Avon

  • Area of Avon was 520 square miles (1,347 km2)
  • Population in 1991 was 919,800.
  • Cities and towns in Avon included

(in approximate order of population)

  • Bristol The port of Bristol lies close to the mouth of the River Avon which formed the historic boundary between Gloucestershire and Somerset. In 1373 a charter constituted the area as the County of the Town of Bristol, although it continued to fall within the jurisdiction of the two counties for some purposes
  • Bath, (Now South Gloucestershire)
  • Weston-super-Mare, Ceremonial County - Somerset, (now North Somerset)
  • Yate, Ceremonial County - Gloucestershire, (Now South Gloucestershire)
  • Clevedon, Ceremonial County - Somerset, (now North Somerset)
  • Portishead, Ceremonial County - Somerset, (now North Somerset)
  • Midsomer Norton & Radstock, Ceremonial County - Somerset, (now Bath and North East Somerset)
  • Bradley Stoke, Ceremonial County - Gloucestershire, (Now South Gloucestershire)
  • Nailsea, Ceremonial County - Somerset, (now North Somerset)
  • Yatton, Ceremonial County - Somerset, (now North Somerset)
  • Keynsham, Ceremonial County - Somerset, (now Bath and North East Somerset)
  • Kingswood, Ceremonial County - Gloucestershire, (Now South Gloucestershire)
  • Thornbury, Ceremonial County - Gloucestershire, (Now South Gloucestershire)
  • Filton, Ceremonial County - Gloucestershire, (Now South Gloucestershire)
  • Patchway, Ceremonial County - Gloucestershire, (Now South Gloucestershire).

Timeline

1373 a charter constituted the area as the County of the Town of Bristol

1887 The appointment of a boundaries commission led to a campaign for the creation of a county of Greater Bristol. The commissioners, while recommending that Bristol should be "neither in the county of Gloucester nor of Somerset for any purpose whatsoever", did not extend the city's boundaries.

1888 Bristol was constituted a county borough, exercising the powers of both a county and city council.

1889 The city was extended to take in some Gloucestershire suburbs

1904 The city was further extended to take in some Gloucestershire suburbs

1945 The Local Government Boundary Commission recommended the creation of a "one-tier county" of Bristol based on the existing county borough, but the report was not acted upon.

1968, when the Redcliffe-Maud Commission recommended dividing England into unitary areas. One of these was a new Bristol and Bath Area which would have included a wide swathe of countryside surrounding the two cities, extending into Wiltshire and as far as Frome in Somerset

1970 After the general election a two-tier system of counties and districts was proposed instead of unitary authorities. In a white paper published in 1971 one of these counties "Area 26" or "Bristol County", was based on the commission's Bristol and Bath area, but lacked the areas of Wiltshire. The proposals were opposed by Somerset County Council.

1974 The county came into formal existence on 1 April 1974 when the Local Government Act 1972 came into effect. The new county consisted of the areas of:

  • The county boroughs of Bristol and Bath
  • Part of the Administrative County of Gloucestershire:
  • Kingswood Urban District, Mangotsfield Urban District
  • Warmley Rural District, most of Sodbury Rural District and most of Thornbury Rural District
  • Part of the Administrative County of Somerset:
  • Municipal Borough of Weston-super-Mare
  • Clevedon Urban District, Keynsham Urban District, Norton-Radstock Urban District, Portishead Urban District,
  • Bathavon Rural District, Long Ashton Rural District, part of Axbridge Rural District and part of Clutton Rural District.

The county was divided into six Non-metropolitan districts:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/e6/88/a3/e1/5344483f1a4b995d/avon_1974_numbered_grey_original.jpg

  1. Northavon
  2. Bristol
  3. Kingswood
  4. Woodspring
  5. Wansdyke
  6. Bath
  • Bristol and Bath had identical boundaries to the former county boroughs.
  • In the north, two districts were created:
  • the urban districts of Kingswood and Mangotsfield, and the rural district of Warmley formed a single District of Kingswood,
  • the rest of the areas transferred from Gloucestershire (the rural districts of mostly Sodbury and mostly Thornbury) became the District of Northavon.

In the south, there were two districts:

  • on the coast: Woodspring (merger of the municipal borough of Weston-super-Mare, the urban districts of Clevedon and Portishead, and the rural districts of Long Ashton and part of Axbridge),
  • and in the interior: Wansdyke (merger of the urban districts of Keynsham and Norton-Radstock, and the rural districts of Bathavon and part of Clutton).

To the north the county bordered Gloucestershire, to the east Wiltshire and to the south Somerset. In the west it had a coast on the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel.

1996 The Avon (Structural Change) Order 1995 came into effect on 1st April 1996. The four authorities that replaced Avon are: https://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/66/c3/a5/2a/5344483f1a475256/avon_-_new_districts_original.jpg

  1. The City and County of Bristol (Project to follow)
  2. South Gloucestershire – formed from the Kingswood and Northavon districts. (Project to follow)
  3. North Somerset – formed from the Woodspring district. (Project to follow)
  4. Bath and North East Somerset – formed from the Bath and Wansdyke districts. (Project to follow)

References, Sources and Further Reading

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//s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/bc/86/0b/17/5344483ebe2f98dc/205_blank_original.jpg this project is in History Link 
https://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/43/69/79/0c/5344483e65ec5d9e/historylink_logo_really_small_t.jpg
https://s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/87/47/bf/41/5344483ea16ba966/line_blue_original.jpg

//s3.amazonaws.com/photos.geni.com/p13/0e/86/2b/cc/5344483f1e8d29c0/creative_commons_cc_original.jpg Main Reference’’’ WIKI Avon (County) Information shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License - see Creative Commons Licenses