Douglas and Peel have been joined by the capitals of the Falklands, Cayman Islands and Gibraltar in seeking city status.

A contest, to be held next year, will determine which of the towns will be granted city status, as part of celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

This year is the first that towns from British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependences have been allowed to seek city status. The successful bids will be announced in June 22.

There are no set rules or minimum population for city status, which is officially awarded by the Queen on the advice of government ministers. While people often associate having a cathedral with a place achieving city status, that historical requirement was proven not necessary when Birmingham became the first town to become a city without one in 1889.

Successful bidders will join 69 current cities in the UK – with 51 in England, six in Wales, seven in Scotland and five in Northern Ireland.

On Island

Here on the Isle of Man, we have Douglas and Peel seeking to be granted city status.

In Douglas’ favour is its role as the island’s capital, as well as its place at the heart of the island’s government and business centre.

Douglas Council leader Claire Wells said: ‘The civic honours competition presents an opportunity to celebrate the compelling mix of history, heritage and culture, diversity, civic pride, record of innovation and strength of community that distinguishes the capital of the Isle of Man, Douglas, a town like no other, the island’s legislative centre and seat of the Manx parliament, Tynwald. In submitting the application, we have been encouraged by the level of support received from Douglas MHKs who clearly share the council’s view that Douglas is indeed worthy of city status. ‘

Against this, Peel, which has long been regarded as a city despite its status, even going as far back as being referred to ‘Sodor Cathedral City’ in Papal Bulls of 1253 and 1349, is seeking what some consider to be confirmation of what they know to be true.

The Cathedral’s Dean, the Very Reverend Nigel Godfrey, said: ‘Our town’s history stretches back to the Viking invaders and to the mission of St Patrick in sending his disciple German.  It is the home of Manx Celtic language scholars and Manx kipper smoke houses that have survived after the tourism boom of the twentieth century. We are delighted to have submitted our claim for formal City status, in partnership with Peel Commissioners.’

The Contenders

The full list of towns seeking city status:

  • Alcester, Warwickshire
  • Ballymena, County Antrim
  • Bangor, County Down
  • Blackburn, Lancashire
  • Bolsover, Derbyshire
  • Boston, Lincolnshire
  • Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Coleraine, County Londonderry
  • Colchester, Essex
  • Crawley, West Sussex
  • Crewe, Cheshire
  • Doncaster, South Yorkshire
  • Dorchester, Dorset
  • Douglas, Isle of Man
  • Dudley, West Midlands
  • Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dunfermline, Fife
  • Elgin, Moray
  • George Town, Cayman Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Goole, East Yorkshire
  • Greenock, Renfrewshire
  • Guildford, Surrey
  • Livingston, West Lothian
  • Marazion, Cornwall
  • Medway, Kent
  • Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
  • Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
  • Newport and Carisbrooke, Hampshire
  • Northampton, Northamptonshire
  • Oban, Argyll and Bute
  • Reading, Berkshire
  • Peel, Isle of Man
  • St Andrews, Fife
  • Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
  • South Ayrshire, Ayrshire and Arran
  • Warrington, Cheshire
  • Warwick, Warwickshire
  • Wrexham, Clwyd

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