How to label cities (United Kingdom)
This forms part of UK Editing Best Practice. Editors are encouraged to follow these guidelines.
City and County Naming
- Changed following a discussion and vote on the forum: The (County) Suffix - Aug 2012
The City field should be used to specify the city, town or village for all the streets within it.
Rural roads that are in-between towns should be be left with No city.
Where possible, the simplest unique name should be used. In the case where two towns share the same name, the County can be added in brackets afterwards. For example, "Preston (Dorset)" would distinguish it from the city in Lancashire. It is preferable to have no suffix on whichever town is the larger or more well known.
The Gazetteer of British Place Names is a good reference source for checking for duplicate names.
The editor will display the error message "The highlighted road is too far from the city it was added to" when attempting to add a duplicate name. This is to prevent smudges and means that a different name will need to be chosen for that town or village.
In the very rare case where two towns within the same country have the same name (as well as in other counties), then one of them can have a double space before the suffix. For example: "Fenton (Lincs)" and "Fenton (Lincs)".
- If a particular town has already been named using the old convention, then continue using it.
- The 53 Cities in the UK do not require a suffix, even if other towns share the same name.
- For large cities, it may be necessary to split it up into suburbs (see below).
- List of cities in the United Kingdom
- Gazetteer of British Place Names
- List of Towns in England, Scotland and Wales
- List of Post Towns in UK - duplicate names shown in bold
For very large cities with suburbs, then the suburb should become the name of the town with the city name as the suffix. This is particularly important for generating useful the traffic reports, especially when there are long arterial or ring roads that go through several parts of the city.
Examples 1. "Colton (Leeds)" 2. "Old Trafford (Manchester)" 3. "Kingswood (Bristol)"
NOTE: London is an exception to these guidelines and '(London)' is not normally included. ( See this forum topic)
Postal Vs. Actual Addresses
In some areas the postal address does not match the county. This happens frequently in parts of London, e.g. Enfield is in Middlesex for Royal Mail, Bromley is in Kent and Hornchurch is in Essex, but they are all part of Greater London and some are Unitary Authorities and so in effect are their own "County". As they are the largest with their names, the simplest unique name rule comes into play, so they are shown as Enfield, Bromley and Hornchurch with no suffix.
A different example is Belmont, which has two instances in Greater London. The Gazetteer lists another six around the UK. As it would be difficult to determine which of these is the largest, both of them should have a County suffix. Belmont in the London Borough of Sutton should be "Belmont (Surrey)". Belmont in LB Harrow should be "Belmont (Middx)".
The exception of Middlesex, which is no longer a county but some towns still retain their postal addresses, has been discussed. See UK City Names Forum Topic for this.
English County Abbreviations
The abbreviation used should reflect the current county or unitary authority. For more details of county names and their history see UK_Counties.
To decide which qualifier you should be using, use the OS Opendata map. In the Boundary Layer menu turn on "County, Unitary Authority and Metropolitan". Then use the corresponding abbreviation from the following list:
- Co Durham
- E Sussex
- N Lincs
- N Yorks
- NE Lincs
- S Glos
- S Yorks
- Tyne & Wear
- W Mids
- W Sussex
- W Yorks
Welsh District Abbreviations
The following abbreviations should be used for Welsh Districts (generally as per Gazetteer):
- Bl Gwent
- Neath P T
- Rhonddha C T
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