Why there is no such place as Tyne and Wear

Generally speaking, Richard Osman’s House of Games is one of television’s less contentious programmes.

Friday, 31st December 2021, 11:56 am

We might become irritated when some disc jockey has never heard of Botswana, but that’s about it for controversy.

However, a recent edition managed to rattle an inordinate number of cages when it referred to Tyne and Wear as a “county”. Oooh.

It is no more an English county than Narnia. This isn’t a matter of opinion. It’s a fact; and please don’t imagine that postcodes have any bearing on where people actually live. If they did, then Seaham would be in Sunderland and Washington would be in Newcastle.

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Very briefly; Sunderland, Jarrow, South Shields, Newcastle and others were moved from proper counties and dumped kicking and screaming into invented Tyne and Wear in 1974.

If you, or anyone you know, has ever encountered someone who approved of this deeply unpopular nonsense, please contact us. It would be a story with considerable novelty value.

Since the abolition (hurrah!) of Tyne & Wear County Council in 1986 Sunderland, Jarrow, South Shields, Newcastle et al have not been in any county.

Tyne and Wear exists only as geographical shorthand for the Metro, fire brigade and Amazon deliveries, but is otherwise not real.

We recently ran a feature on the subject and the response was overwhelmingly hostile to Tyne and Wear as a concept.

One of the few contrary comments was that we should “just move with the times”. Quite how pretending to live in a non-existent county equates to such a thing was not elaborated upon.

The closest anyone else came to a defence was the ever-attendant “don’t care” crew; although why anyone would assume that anybody cares that they don’t care is a durable mystery.

Furthermore, if any adult genuinely needs to ask why well over a millennium of history is important then, sadly, they will never be able to understand the answer.

Darlington manages to be simultaneously part of County Durham and a unitary authority; ie. it runs itself. Why can’t other places do the same?

In the meantime we can continue to remind people that Tyne and Wear DOES NOT EXIST.

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