Wrexham wins city status as part of Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Wrexham has been awarded city status as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

A large sign for Wrexham, in the style of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, USA, installed on the Bursham Bank. It has since been removed
A large sign for Wrexham, in the style of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, USA, installed on the Bursham Bank. It has since been removed

The Cabinet Office has confirmed it is one of eight places to win the coveted status.

Stanley, the capital of the Falklands Islands, is the first overseas territory to win the competition for city status, while Douglas on the Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man has also claimed the civic honour.

Other places that will become cities are Bangor in Northern Ireland, along with Colchester, Doncaster and Milton Keynes in England, plus Dunfermline in Scotland.

Dudley, in the Black Country, missed out on this occasion.

Wrexham co-chairmen Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds at the Racecourse Ground

Wrexham’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a Unesco World Heritage Site and the region, which is a base for firms including JCB and Kellogg’s as well as aerospace giants such as Magellen and Cytec, is to become home to the new National Football Museum of Wales. Wrexham Football Club, which was set up in 1864, has the world’s oldest international ground, and now boasts Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney as co-owners.

Wrexham, as well as the other seven places nominated, are some of the places that “make Britain great”, according to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay.

He said: “What was clear to me during the process of assessing each application was the pride that people felt for their communities, local cultural heritage and the Royal Family.

“As we celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s colossal contribution to society, I am thrilled that we are able to recognise some of the many places that make Britain great.

“It is also incredibly reflective of Her Majesty’s global outlook and years of international service that applicants from the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have been selected as winners for the first time.”

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The new cities can expect a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there, according to the Cabinet Office.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries described city status as “a huge accolade” adding: “This competition showcases the best of Britain and the Overseas Territories and will act as a lasting legacy of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”

The Cabinet Office said Perth in Scotland, which was granted city status in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, has seen its local economy expand by 12 per cent in the decade after it secured its new title.

The announcement of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee civic honours brings the number of official cities in the mainland UK to 76, with 55 in England, eight in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.

Of the six new cities across the UK mainland, the largest is Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, which had a population at the 2011 census of 171,750. The next largest is Colchester in Essex (population: 119,441), followed by Doncaster in South Yorkshire (109,805); Wrexham in Clwyd, north Wales (61,603); Bangor in Northern Ireland (61,011); and Dunfermline in Fife, east Scotland (49,706).

Outside mainland UK, Douglas on the Isle of Man recorded a resident population of 26,677 in its 2021 census. Stanley on the Falkland Islands had a resident population of 2,458 in 2016, according to its most recent census.

In terms of history, the new UK cities range from Britain’s first recorded settlement (Colchester) to a town that was formally established as recently as 1967 (Milton Keynes).

A town becomes a city only by the award of a royal charter – not, as is sometimes thought, because it has a cathedral.

Dunblane in Stirling has a cathedral but is not a city, while Brighton & Hove in East Sussex is a city but does not have a cathedral.

This year has already seen one town granted city status: Southend-on-Sea, which became a city on March 1 as a tribute to the late Sir David Amess MP, who campaigned for the change throughout his career. Before 2022, the last time the UK’s list of cities was expanded was in 2012, when Chelmsford in Essex, Perth in Scotland and St Asaph in Denbighshire were awarded the right to call themselves cities following the Diamond Jubilee civic honours competition.

In 2002, Preston, Stirling, Newport, Lisburn and Newry were awarded city status to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

St David’s in Pembrokeshire is the smallest UK city, with a population at the 2011 census of just under 1,400.

Birmingham is officially the UK’s largest city, with a population at the 2011 census of 1.1 million.

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