Administrative county

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Administrative county
Category County
Location England and Wales and Ireland
Created by Local Government Act 1888
Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
Created England and Wales 1889
Ireland 1899
Abolished by Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971
Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 2001
Abolished Northern Ireland 1973
England and Wales 1974
Republic of Ireland 2002
Government County council
Subdivisions Rural district
Urban district
Municipal borough

An administrative county was an administrative division in England and Wales and Ireland from 1888 to 1974, used for the purposes of local government. They are now abolished, although in Northern Ireland their former areas are used as the basis for lieutenancy.


England and Wales[edit]

Further information: Subdivisions of Wales

The term was introduced for England and Wales by the Local Government Act 1888, which created county councils for various areas, and called them 'administrative counties' to distinguish them from the continuing statutory counties.

In England and Wales the legislation was repealed in 1974, and entities called 'metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties' in England and 'counties' in Wales were introduced in their place. Though strictly inaccurate, these are often called 'administrative counties' to distinguish them from both the historic counties, and the ceremonial counties.


Further information: Counties of Scotland

In Scotland they were never established as separate entities as they were in England and Wales[citation needed]. For local government purposes Scottish counties were replaced in 1975 with a system of regions and island council areas.


The Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 created administrative counties in Ireland on the same model that had been used in England and Wales.

In Northern Ireland the administrative counties were replaced by a system of 26 districts on 1 October 1973. Section 131 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 stated that "every county and every county borough shall cease to be an administrative area for local government purposes".[1]

The areas of the former administrative counties (and county boroughs) remain in use for Lieutenancy purposes, being defined as the areas used "for local government purposes immediately before 1 October 1973, subject to any subsequent definition of their boundaries...".[2]

In the Republic of Ireland the legislation that created them remained in force until the Local Government Act 2001 was passed, which renamed them 'counties'.

New entities[edit]

England - Administrative Counties 1890-1965.

The administrative counties that did not share the names of previous counties:


County Administrative counties
Cambridgeshire Isle of Ely
Hampshire Isle of Wight
Lincolnshire Holland, Kesteven, Lindsey
London London
Northamptonshire Soke of Peterborough
Suffolk East Suffolk, West Suffolk
Sussex East Sussex, West Sussex
Yorkshire East Riding, North Riding, West Riding


Republic of Ireland

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972, (1972 C.9)
  2. ^ The Northern Ireland (Lieutenancy) Order 1975 (S.I. 1975 No.156)

External links[edit]