Talk:Altrincham/Cheshire debate

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Naming conventions

I've included this as it has been a source of much debate and largely relates to the way in which the area has been administered over time. Could I draw people's attention to the following couple of statements found at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names)

This page in a nutshell: Use modern English names for titles and in articles. Historical names or names in other languages can be used in the lead if they are frequently used and important enough to be valuable to readers, and should be used in articles with caution. and

Dispute resolution
  1. Avoid revert wars: If there is a dispute regarding the naming convention in the contents of the article, to prevent revert wars the name from the title of the relevant article should be used in all occurrences until a consensus is reached on the relevant talk page(s). If the dispute is affecting more than one article, it should be discussed on the talk page of the main article about the place in question; if the dispute is affecting many pages, a template should be created to pull all the disputants into one discussion. See Template:Gdansk-Vote-Notice for an example of such a notice.
  2. Ask for help: If a consensus cannot be reached, it is recommended to ask for help at the Wikipedia:Requests for comment/History and geography."

Cosmopolitancats 08:22, 4 February 2007 (UTC)


Describing Altrincham as a "Cheshire town ... that is part of Greater Manchester" is potentially confusing to someone who doesn't know what you mean. It is important to mention Cheshire, but I think (IMHO) that I've clarified it a bit. --RFBailey 22:00, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

It's difficult to clarify "Cheshire town"; most towns now have no legal admin status, they're old parishes and boroughs that exist completely separately from the newer administrative areas (although the areas covered are sometimes the same) - borough councils are divided into wards not towns. Altrincham is a postal town in the postal county of Cheshire and a Parish in the diocese of Chester. (A fraction of it is also part of the ward of the same name but that's not what the article refers to). Given that it's not an administrative area it seems reasonable not to refer to it in these terms. But you're right it is confusing. However there's nothing actually inaccurate about "Cheshire town in Trafford" - and much of the postal town isn't in Trafford at all. Referring to administrative areas isn't usually a problem, Greater Manchester is a useful shorthand for saying that something's near Manchester, in fact it's better because it doesn't require a subjective judgement to be made. But usage of the older counties isn't wrong; If someone lives in the administrative authority of Bath and North East Somerset and says he lives in Somerset (which is also a neighbouring county council) he's saying something perfectly sensible - the name itself is a recognition that an administrative area or county council isn't the same as a county.
Basically what I'm saying is that although it's important to say that it's in Trafford and Greater Manchester, Cheshire shouldn't only be mentioned as if it's a former county or an old-fashioned preference on the part of a few of the residents - it's still in Cheshire.

(above comment left by

The (approximate) standard on Wikipedia is to use current administrative areas first. Given that Cheshire is a current administrative area and that Altrincham isn't in it, describing Altrincham as a "Cheshire town" is confusing, as you've agreed. Dioceses are even more complicated: in many cases they don't correspond to counties anyway (e.g. Shropshire is split between Lichfield and Hereford), and there are various different sorts of Parish: Parish Councils are a low tier of local government, and don't necessarily correspond to those used by the Church of England (or other churches), even though they share common ancestry.
The fact that people such as yourself prefer to keep regarding Altrincham as part of Cheshire (or West Kirby as part of Cheshire, Southport in Lancashire, Stourbridge in Worcestershire, Bath in Somerset, etc., is just indicative of the unpopularity of the New Counties created by the Local Government Act 1972.
BTW, don't forget to sign comments on talk pages (using ~~~~), so people can keep track of discussions. Why not register as a user if you're often going to make contributions, so people know who it is, especially since lots of people use the same IP address as you. --RFBailey 01:27, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I noticed this comment regarding Altrincham residents using 'Cheshire' as their postal address. I cannot, of course, comment on what the 'majority' do, but, I have two friends in Altrincham (adjacent to Dunham Forest golf club), one in Bowden and two in Sale (who, ironically, live on the banks of the River Mersey, so why aren't they in Merseyside?) who all insist strongly that they are 'in' Cheshire and also use 'Cheshire' as their postal address. Check out the 'Sale, Cheshire' article for a similar argument. You see, it's all a matter of belonging to 'The Cheshire Set'!

.......... and would add further, that any 'Local Government Re-Shuffle'/ 'administrative boundary change' / 'wards changed from one constituency to another' or 'any council activity whatsoever', would have no effect on the Royal Mails postal service. The 'post town' for Altrincham is Warrington, postcode beginning with WA, regardless of it being within the Trafford admin. area (and Warrington is 'in' Lancashire, although administratively, Cheshire). So, the residents of Altrincham may give their address as 'Timbuktu', as long as they give the Warrington postcode at the end of it. 12:44, 15 January 2007 (UTC) JemmyH.

Jhamez84 - you seem to have some sort of obscession with deleting the fact that most residents still include Cheshire in the address of the town. Nobody is arguing that Altrincham is not in Gtr. Manchester or that it is officially part of Cheshire. But what people are saying is that most people consider the town to be part of Cheshire (even though this is technically wrong). It is important to mention this at the start of the article, as it gives part of the impression of Altrincham (that it is similar to other Cheshire towns, even though officially it is not in Cheshire.) Please stop trying to delete this in the name of 'vandalism' as you know perfectly well that it is not. You're simply deleting this because you disagree with others opinions. And given that you don't live in Altrincham where as we do, then we are the best people to comment in articles about Altrincham. Stop abusing Wikipedia for your own little gains. Bob74 15:17, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Replied.... What I would add, is:
a) I delete the comment on the grounds that it is not a fact- it is an unsourced opinion.

:b) I further deleted not for "own little gains" (whatever they may be), I delete it because I have the article's best interests at heart.

c) Comments like the above are agressive, misguided and unhelpful, and not within the spirit of Wikipedia's aims.
Again for my motivation (which is merely backed up by policy), please read my reply. My earlier comment is above improving the article's content. Jhamez84 16:13, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Having watched this escapade for a couple of days, may I say that you are being completely unfair with regards to this issue. If the policy stands that editors get to dictate what goes into every article then what is the point of Wikipedia?? I agree with Bob74 above that every person in Altrincham uses Cheshire in their address (whether right or wrong) and it is ridiculous that you are demanding that it should be removed. I noticed on Bob's Talk page, you spelt Altrincham as 'Altringham' which shows your lack of knowledge of the town. No source is required at all for this - the vast majority of info in the article (and most other articles) is sourceless (eg. Altrincham being wealthy). Everybody in Altrincham uses Cheshire in the address (not the just the majority). It is a fact and I will also continue to write it in. I recommend that you change this absurd policy. Thanks. Chiving 18:26, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

You would be advised that multiple accounts on Wikipedia are a) expressly forbidden, and b) tracable upon request. The policy stands. Jhamez84 18:46, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I think the new compromise regarding the counties is acceptable. RRJ 12:28, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Sometimes it is important for us to remember that some things are granted. For instance, everyone takes it for granted that the City of London is the Capital of England. It is unsourced however on the article. In the same way, local knowledge doesn't always have to be sourced if it is so commonly known. That's the benefit of local knowledge and contributers.
This doesn't mean that discussion shouldn't be used to question and consider the ammendment and deletion of material. It does, however, mean that the Wiki "rules" have to be applied in moderation. If I were to apply these consistently and thoroughly I suspect I could legitimately remove over 50% of all articles. This wouldn't further Wikipedia but would mean it ran a tight ship! Candy 08:45, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

My goodness - what a fuss.

Can I just remind people that the use of a county name long after it ceased to be the correct administrative unit is a long established tradition in English local history and I'm a bit surprised it hasn't been raised before this. A lot of the residents of London Boroughs (ie part of Greater London in adminsitrative terms) continue to use the names of the counties which they used to be part of in their addresses - including ones like Middlesex that ceased to exist very many years ago! If you've not lived in an area where there has been change or don't have relatives or friends who live in such an area you may not be aware of this phenomena.

People continue to use a historical name because it is an important part of retaining the identity of a place and consequently the identify of self. Local government reorganisations come and go. I can quote you chapter and verse in relation to the Redcliffe-Maud Report and its aftermath the subsequent reorganisation of local government (why do you think SELNEC failed to get off the ground?), academic texts on geographical perception and the importance of geographical boundaries which never ever change (eg the River Mersey) if you like. The 'fact' that it is important for some people to continue to use a name in their address is just as important as the 'fact' that changes boundaries of administrative units. If it weren't then the use of the name 'Middlesex' would have been discontinued a long time ago - but it hasn't been. It could be argued that the 'fact' of where people think they live is actually more important that the administrative unit where they currently live technically as history tends to suggest that it is more enduring.

And I come from an area adjacent to Altrincham, live in London, am amused by people I know who still think they live in Middlesex and and continue to address my Christmas cards home with 'Altrincham, Cheshire' in the address - because that's where I come from. I don't think I've ever come across anybody who used Trafford in their address. It's important to record facts about local culture as well as facts about local government units. Please respect the knowledge of 'local people' - wherever they may live.

For the record, (and I have academic status in this matter) in my expert opinion, this article should clearly record that:

  • Altrincham is town which is located in the southern part of the metropolitan borough of Trafford and that this arrangement dates back to 1 April 1974.
  • Altrincham was part of the county of Cheshire for many hundreds of years and, as a result, many of its inhabitants still consider Altrincham to have a very strong relationship with Cheshire and use Cheshire in their postal address.

I wouldn't go so far as to describe it as a town in Cheshire as that is technically incorrect - but I would recognise the need to recognise local heritage and what that means to this day at a local level. I trust this statement provides evidence of sufficient expertise for the necessary amendments to be made.

(For the record, the area north of the Mersey - which forms the northern part of Trafford - was split from Cheshire in 1182 - hence the long established and documented tradition that the people in the north of the borough associate with Manchester and Lancashire and that the people south of the Mersey flood plain associate mainly with areas south of the river.) Cosmopolitancats 21:19, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I'd also add that I wouldn't look to the Wikipedia article on local government in the UK as any sort of reference in this matter - I've just taken a look at it and it's not very good. Cosmopolitancats 21:19, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Cosmo has spoken and it makes perfect sense to me. Candy 11:02, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm removing the 'citation needed' from the part about most people in Altrincham using Cheshire as the postal county. We've discussed this issue at length and most agree it is a well established fact about the town that does not require citation. It's on par with 'the sky is blue' and 'London is the capital of England'. Common knowledge does not require citation. RRJ 13:39, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

No this is not how Wikipedia works. These type of "common knowledge" statements are backed up within seperate articles for a start. They can however be challenged at any point by any editor using the citation required tags - this is not a bad thing, it actually stimulates a citation being found or the claim being removed. I object to that statement as I firstly do not believe it is encyclopedic (it is not in the Britannica, Encarta or other such encyclpedias) nor do I belive it is helpful as postal counties were abolished (no other article in the whole of the UK includes this info about former postal counties), nor do I find it likely that it is true.
Also, the sky is not blue, the sky is transparent, but it appears blue because of the reaction between Earth's gaseous atomosphere and sunlight - and this is actually sourced because someone protested and the article improved it's content. Again, I must express that multiple accounts are expressly forbidden on Wikipedia, and tracable upon request. Jhamez84 15:12, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

What do you mean you don't find it likely to be true? You find me one person who doesn't put Cheshire in their address and lives in Altrincham. You are the only person who finds this unacceptable. Everyone knows this is common knowledge and it will stay. There is no citation anywhere on the internet about this - and why would there be? It's just basic knowledge that people in Altrincham know. I've read the Wiki policy and this is fine under those rules. I'm going to give a warning to Jhamez84 on his talk page because of this continuing disruption despite the fact that the compromises had already been made earlier and seemed acceptable to everyone who commented. PS. Nobody has multiple accounts, so stop saying that there are. RRJ 18:02, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Jhamez is totally incorrect in his statement - see the wikipedia entry about Middlesex and the section on 'former postal county' - one of the counties referred to in my expert witness statement - which presumably he has either not read or has chosen to ignore. I thought it was also wikipedia practice to accept expert witness statements.
Is Jhamez saying that he has expert status in relation to the use of former postal counties in postal addresses within the UK (ie that he is expert and can refute its use in relation to Altrincham and places in Middlesex)? Can Jhamez cite what is his evidence to state that former county addresses are not used in postal addresses ("nor do I belive it is helpful as postal counties were abolished (no other article in the whole of the UK includes this info about former postal counties), nor do I find it likely that it is true. ")and that this is not recognised by the Post Office. I didn't know wikipedia was based on people's beliefs. Is Jhamez actually stating that all the people who are Altrincham born and bred who state that the old postal county address is still used in the address are actually lying about this fact? Because it is a fact - it actually happens - the issue is only about the quality of citation required and actually gettting a citation produced. Can Jhamez state what type of citation is required and why he has status in this matter? The issue about the postal county of Middlesex is identical to that of Cheshire and Altrincham. Note this BBC statement about the use of the Middlesex as a postal address[1]
At the present time people are going backwards and forwards endlessly about a detail which might require a citation - but it is a citation which is capable of being provided as it actually happens.

I offer the following wikipedia policy as an appropriate citation - the Wikipedia naming convention (places) [2] states as follows

Naming conventions (places) are guidelines on how to appropriately name articles about countries and regions, and places within each country or region. ..........

Follow local conventions

There are several methods in common use for the form of place names. Usually, the shortest form is preferred. However, certain place names always have a disambiguating term as well.

Generally, use the official English name for the place and its type.

* Example: the country has "oblasts" and its government officially translates them as "area", "region", or "zone", then they should never be renamed "province" to conform to another country or some master schema.

If there is not an official translation, then a general equivalent or obvious cognate should be used, until a better solution is found.

When there is any confusion, use "ShortName" or "ShortName Term" (capitalized) as appropriate, until locals or someone familiar with the country can offer a more correct version. Either form can easily be changed to a disambiguation page later.

Nota Bene: The testimony of locals and people familiar with the country should be considered above Google evidence. Google is very likely to have many results from news organizations and wire services. These remote reporters may be ignorant about local naming standards.''

My italics highlight the importance given by wikipedia policy on naming conventions to local knowledge of a situation. I believe this deals adequately with the issue in dispute.

I suggest that the matter is left as a statement which may still require a citation - and that people move on to address themselves to the rather more significant inadequacies of this article - which I would argue is a rather more important encylopeadic issue. Perhaps this section can now get back on track with the issue that Jhamez originally raised - with which I agree - that this article needs a lot more work. As indicated below I believe the recommended template is the place to start.
Finally - in relation to the comment about multiple accounts this does not apply to me personally but very nearly did just recently when the wikipedia log-in failed to work properly and I was on the point of creating another account - hence the following comment. Although multiple accounts in use at the same time may be forbidden, Wikipedia expressly states that another account MUST be created if a password is lost and cannot be retrieved. Might it not be wise to consider this before making assertions about multiple use?

Cosmopolitancats 01:21, 8 January 2007 (UTC)