Eight cities will be granted city status to mark Queen’s platinum anniversary
Eight record-breaking locations across the UK and beyond have been awarded city status to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The new towns that triumphed in a civic honors competition range from Colchester, Britain’s first recorded settlement, to Milton Keynes, a town officially founded in 1967.
This year, for the first time, was open to applications from the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories, with Stanley in the Falkland Islands and Douglas in the Isle of Man among the winners.
The remaining newly named towns are Doncaster in England, Dunfermline in Scotland, Wrexham in Wales and Bangor in Northern Ireland.
The new towns are among the areas of the UK that are “making Britain great,” said the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay.
He continued: “What struck me as I evaluated each application was the pride people felt in their communities, local 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 honor some of the many places that make Britain great.
“It also incredibly reflects Her Majesty’s global perspective and years of international service that, for the first time, applicants from the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies were selected as winners.”
According to the Cabinet Office, the areas receiving this year’s awards can expect a boost for local communities and a range of new opportunities for the people who live there.
Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, is the first overseas territory to achieve city status.
The Cabinet Office said his sustainable practices and civic pride were instrumental in sealing his victory.
The award comes at a particularly meaningful time for Stanley as it marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War, which saw residents gather to remember the sacrifices made during the conflict.
The Douglas Cultural Center on the Isle of Man’s Crown Dependency has also claimed the honor.
The Royal Hall at Douglas hosts annual flagship concerts by the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra, the Isle of Man Choral Society and the Manx Last Night of the Proms. It also hosts the annual Manx Music Festival and there is also an Isle of Man Film Festival as well as events celebrating Gaelic culture.
Doncaster’s success in gaining city status rested on its community spirit and resilience after the 2019 floods when locals rallied to provide aid.
It has more than 70 places of worship and its mosques and gurdwaras became pop-up vaccination centers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Originally a Roman settlement, it has an industrial heritage based on rail and coal.
Important locomotives, including the Flying Scot and the mallard were both built there.
Wrexham’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a Unesco World Heritage Site and the region, which has been a site for companies such as JCB and Kellogg’s and aerospace giants such as Magellen and Cytec, is set to be home to the new National Football Museum of Wales.
Founded in 1864, Wrexham Football Club boasts the oldest international stadium in the world and now boasts co-owners of Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
Dunfermline’s bid pointed out that its annual fireworks display attracts around 30,000 locals, while the Christmas lights event filled the town center with 10,000 people.
Dunfermline’s most famous son is Andrew Carnegie, whose role in developing the steel industry helped build America. His philanthropy founded the world’s public library system and he gave away $350 million—equivalent to $5.5 billion today.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack offered Dunfermline his “warmest congratulations”, adding: “Being granted city status can give places a real boost, from helping local economies grow, to raising their profile and promoting civic pride.
“For a place with such a rich royal history, it is fitting that Dunfermline becomes a city as we celebrate the platinum jubilee of our longest-serving monarch.
“Its beautiful green spaces and fantastic cultural attractions will ensure this new city thrives well into the future.”
Located at the mouth of Belfast Lough, Bangor became an important site for the Allies during the Second World War. In May 1944, Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed 30,000 assembled troops in Bangor just before ships departed for Normandy and D-Day.
Councilor Mark Brooks said the award for the town of Co Down was “extra special” because of its association with the anniversary.
“I am delighted to hear the news of Bangor’s success in the borough status bid,” said Mr Brooks, Mayor of North Down and Ards Borough Council.
“It would be an honor for the city and people of Bangor to welcome you at any time, but to come as part of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations makes it extra special.”
He added: “I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to Bangor’s application, both in terms of their words of support and, more importantly, in terms of their practical and ongoing work in the region.
“Bangor received a major boost today and I am very proud of this new and significant award for our district.”
Milton Keynes includes 27 Conservation Areas, 50 Proposed Monuments, 1,100 Listed Buildings and 270 Public Works of Art. It has 84,500 citizens who are volunteers and the city also claims to have a higher number of volunteers per capita than any other UK city.
The Open University was founded there in 1969.
Colchester has been a garrison town for the past 165 years and has been home to the 16 Air Assault Brigade, Britain’s rapid reaction force, for the past 21 years.
Culture Minister Nadine Dorries described the city status as “a great honour”, adding: “This competition showcases the best of Britain and the Overseas Territories and will serve as a lasting legacy of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”
Perth, which was granted city status in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, has seen its local economy grow 12 percent in the decade since it received its new title, the Cabinet Office said.
With additional reporting from PA
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