Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely
was, from 1965 to 1974, an administrative county
An administrative county was an administrative division in England and Wales and Ireland used for the purposes of local government. They are now abolished, although in Northern Ireland their former areas are used as the basis for lieutenancy....
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
. In 1974 it became part of an enlarged Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west...
The Local Government Act 1888
The Local Government Act 1888 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which established county councils and county borough councils in England and Wales...
created four small neighbouring administrative counties in the east of England: Cambridgeshire, Isle of Ely
The Isle of Ely is a historic region around the city of Ely now in Cambridgeshire, England but previously a county in its own right.-Etymology:...
Huntingdonshire is a local government district of Cambridgeshire, covering the area around Huntingdon. Traditionally it is a county in its own right...
and the Soke of Peterborough
The Soke of Peterborough is an historic area of England that is traditionally associated with the City and Diocese of Peterborough, but considered part of Northamptonshire...
. Following the Second World War, a Local Government Boundary Commission
The Local Government Boundary Commission was established in 1945 to review the boundaries of local authority areas in England and Wales outside the Counties of London and Middlesex. The Commission produced its report in 1948 which proposed large changes to county-level areas of local government and...
was formed to review county-level administration in England and Wales. The commission was of the opinion that counties needed to have a population of between 200,000 and 1 million in order to provide effective services. Accordingly, they recommended the amalgamation of all four counties into a single entity. The commission's recommendations were not carried out, however.
The reform of local government was returned to in 1958, with the appointment of a Local Government Commission for England. The four counties were included in the East Midlands General Review Area, and the LGCE made its draft proposals in April 1960. The commission identified particular problems in the administration of Cambridgeshire, where the city of Cambridge had 50% of the population and over two thirds of the rateable value of the county. Cambridge was large enough to qualify for county borough
County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in...
status and be removed from the administrative county, but it was felt that this would render the remainder of Cambridgeshire, which would consist of three rural districts, too small to effectively deliver local services. The LGCE made draft proposals to constitute Cambridge a county borough and create a new administrative county by merging the remainder of the county with the Isle of Ely, Huntingdonshire and the Soke of Peterborough. There was considerable opposition to the draft proposals, and the LGCE instead opted in its final report in 1961 to create two counties: Huntingdon and Peterborough, and Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, with Cambridge continuing to form part of the latter county.
The Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely Order was made on 14 February 1964, and placed before the House of Commons on 9 March 1964. The amalgamation was opposed by Sir Harry Legge-Bourke
Major Sir Edward Alexander Henry Legge-Bourke KBE was a British politician.He served alongside Jock Colville as a Page of Honour from 1926. Educated at Eton College and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Legge-Bourke was commissioned into the Royal Horse Guards in 1934. He served there throughout...
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...
for the Isle of Ely
Isle of Ely was a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, centred on the Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire...
, noting that his constituents "in general were in favour of continuing with an independent county council with which they were entirely satisfied." Legge-Bourke asked why the Isle was to be abolished as a county, when Rutland
Rutland is a landlocked county in central England, bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire and southeast by Peterborough and Northamptonshire....
was being retained, and went on to state that some parts of the area had more interests in common with Peterborough than Cambridge. The MP for Cambridge
Cambridge is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first-past-the-post voting system....
, Sir Hamilton Kerr also objected to the creation of the new county, advocating the original draft proposals and the elevation of his constituency to become a county borough. Nevertheless, the order was approved by 144 votes to 84.
The new county was formed on 1 April 1965 from the areas of the administrative counties of Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely (with minor boundary changes) less Thorney Rural District
Thorney was a rural district in England from 1894 to 1974, situated to the east of Peterborough.It was created under the Local Government Act 1894, covering the parishes of Thorney and Stanground. It was considered part of the administrative county of the Isle of Ely...
. As well as becoming an administrative county, Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely also became a county for other statutory purposes. Accordingly the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire
This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. The title Lord Lieutenant is given to the British monarch's personal representative in the counties of the United Kingdom. The Lord Lieutenant is supported by a Vice Lord Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants which he or...
was retitled Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely. A High Sheriff
A high sheriff is, or was, a law enforcement officer in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.In England and Wales, the office is unpaid and partly ceremonial, appointed by the Crown through a warrant from the Privy Council. In Cornwall, the High Sheriff is appointed by the Duke of...
was also appointed to the new county, and a single commission of peace and court of quarter sessions established.
On the creation of the county an order under the Police Act 1964
The Police Act 1964 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that updated the legislation governing police forces in England and Wales, constituted new police authorities, gave the Home Secretary new powers to supervise local constabularies, and allowed for the amalgamation of existing...
came into force creating the Mid-Anglia Constabulary by merging the Cambridge City Police, Cambridgeshire County Constabulary, Isle of Ely Constabulary, Huntingdonshire Constabulary, and the Peterborough Combined Police Force. On further local government reform in 1974 this became the present Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom. In addition to the non-metropolitan county, the Police area includes the city of Peterborough, which became a unitary authority area in...
with the same boundaries.
The county ranked 33 out of 46
The county was divided into twelve districts: two municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...
s, four urban district
In the England, Wales and Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council , which shared local government responsibilities with a county council....
s and six rural district
Rural districts were a type of local government area – now superseded – established at the end of the 19th century in England, Wales, and Ireland for the administration of predominantly rural areas at a level lower than that of the administrative counties.-England and Wales:In England...
s. The districts, which were transferred from the previous administrative counties, were:
|| Area (acres)
|| Population 1961
|| Population 1971
| City of Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...
Wisbech is a market town, inland port and civil parish with a population of 20,200 in the Fens of Cambridgeshire. The tidal River Nene runs through the centre of the town and is spanned by two bridges...
Chatteris is a civil parish and one of four market towns in the Fenland district of Cambridgeshire, England, situated in The Fens between Huntingdon, March and Ely...
| City of Ely UD
Ely Urban District was a local government district from 1894 to 1974 around the city of Ely in England.It was created in 1894 as an urban district of the Isle of Ely and was transferred to Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely in 1965....
| March UD
March is a Fenland market town and civil parish in the Isle of Ely area of Cambridgeshire, England. March was the county town of the Isle of Ely, a separate administrative county between 1889 and 1965, and is now the administrative centre of Fenland District Council.The town was an important...
Whittlesey, historically known as Whittlesea as the name of the railway station is still spelt, or Witesie, is an ancient Fenland market town around six miles east of Peterborough in the county of Cambridgeshire in England...
| Chesterton RD
Chesterton was a rural district in Cambridgeshire, England from 1894 to 1974.It was formed in 1894 as a successor to the Chesterton rural sanitary district. In 1934, under a County Review Order, its boundaries were altered, taking in the disbanded Swavesey Rural District and part of the disbanded...
| Ely RD
Ely was a rural district in England from 1894 to 1974. It was named after Ely, and surrounded it to the west and north. The district was created in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894 from the Ely rural sanitary district...
| Newmarket RD
Newmarket was a rural district in Cambridgeshire, England from 1894 to 1974. It surrounded the town of Newmarket, in Suffolk, on the north, west and south sides....
| North Witchford RD
North Witchford was a rural district in England from 1894 to 1974. It was named after the ancient hundred of North Witchford.It was formed in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894 based on the North Witchford rural sanitary district. It covered the parishes of Benwick, Doddington, Manea,...
| South Cambridgeshire RD
South Cambridgeshire was a rural district in Cambridgeshire, England from 1934 to 1974.It was formed in 1934 under a County Review Order. It was formed by merger of Linton Rural District and Melbourn Rural District and part of Caxton and Arrington Rural District.In 1965 it became part of the new...
| Wisbech RD
Wisbech was a rural district in Cambridgeshire in England from 1894 to 1974.It was formed from that part of the Wisbech rural sanitary district which was in Cambridgeshire, by the Local Government Act 1894. It covered the parishes of Elm, Leverington, Outwell, Parson Drove, Tydd St Giles, Upwell...
† Formerly in Cambridgeshire
‡ Formerly in Isle of Ely
Coat of arms
The county council was granted armorial bearings
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...
by the College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...
on 1 September 1965. The coat of arms was a combination of those of the two merged county councils. The blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...
of the arms was as follows:
Or a double tressure flory counter flory gules, overall on a bend wavy azure three crowns or; the shield ensigned by a mural crown
-Usage in ancient times:In Hellenistic culture, a mural crown identified the goddess Tyche, the embodiment of the fortune of a city, familiar to Romans as Fortuna...
or. Supporters: on either side a great bustard
The Great Bustard is in the bustard family, the only member of the genus Otis. It breeds in southern and central Europe, where it is the largest species of bird, and across temperate Asia...
proper, the exterior leg resting on a closed book gules, garnished or. Badge: Within an annulet issuant therefrom four fleurs-de-lys in cross an open crown or.
The gold field and red tressure flory counter flory
were taken from the royal arms of Scotland. This was in reference to the fact that the Earldom of Cambridge was held by David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...
in the twelfth century. The blue wave represented the River Cam
The River Cam is a tributary of the River Great Ouse in the east of England. The two rivers join to the south of Ely at Pope's Corner. The Great Ouse connects the Cam to England's canal system and to the North Sea at King's Lynn...
on which were three crowns from the arms of the Diocese of Ely
The Diocese of Ely is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury. It is headed by the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral in Ely. There is one suffragan bishop, the Bishop of Huntingdon. The diocese now covers Cambridgeshire and western Norfolk...
. The supporters were great bustards, a bird extinct in England, whose last habitat was said to have been in the county. The birds were differenced from those supporting the previous Cambridgeshire arms by the placing of a red book beneath their feet. The book came from the arms of the University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...
. The Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...
adopted also referred to the university, and was Sapientes Simus
or "Let us be men of understanding".
The county had only a brief existence: the Local Government Act 1972
The Local Government Act 1972 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974....
reformed all administrative structures in England and Wales outside Greater London
Greater London is the top-level administrative division of England covering London. It was created in 1965 and spans the City of London, including Middle Temple and Inner Temple, and the 32 London boroughs. This territory is coterminate with the London Government Office Region and the London...
. On 1 April 1974, Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely was merged with Huntingdon and Peterborough
Huntingdon and Peterborough was a short-lived administrative county in East Anglia in the United Kingdom. It existed from 1965 to 1974, when it became part of Cambridgeshire.-Formation:...
to form a new non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire, bringing into effect the amalgamation originally proposed in 1947.