Fury as Reading misses out as eight towns boosted to cities by Queen

‘Why has a roundabout been awarded city status?’: Surprise and confusion as Milton Keynes, Doncaster and Douglas on Isle of Man are among eight towns boosted to cities for Queen’s Jubilee… amid fury as Reading misses out again

  • Eight towns will receive city status as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations
  • Among the new cities are Colchester, Doncaster, Milton Keynes and Dunfermline
  • Douglas on the Isle of Man and Port Stanley in the Falklands are also included
  • The snub of Reading, which has applied several times in the past, prompted fury

The announcement that the likes of Milton Keynes, Doncaster and Douglas on the Isle of Man are to be given city status by the Queen has prompted confusion, with social media raging over an apparent snub of Reading.

It was announced earlier today that eight towns are to become cities as Her Majesty dishes out the honour as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations. 

Included in this is Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, which has become the first Overseas Territory to succeed in being given city status.

Bangor in Northern Ireland, Colchester, Dunfermline in Scotland and Wrexham in Wales have also been given the title.

The inclusion of some of these towns, which were among 39 to apply, has left people surprised, especially given some of the places to miss out which include the likes of Reading and Middlesbrough.

Port Stanley in 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

Milton Keynes is one of eight towns that are set to be made cities after being granted city status by the Queen. Pictured is Campbell Park in the town

Her Majesty has granted the honour as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Pictured is Dunfermline, another of the towns given city status

Middlesbrough was one of the towns to miss out, much to the disappointment of some. Pictured here is the River Tee running through the town

There was fury online as news filtered through that Reading, which has now applied for city status four times, has missed out. Pictured is an aerial view of Reading town centre

The snub of Reading, which has now applied four times for city status and has a population of nearly 350,000 people, prompted fury on social media.

The town had previously submitted bids in 2000, 2002 and 2012, with its latest application this year unsuccessful.

Stephen Bush joked on Twitter that Reading seems destined to remain a town for the ages. 

He wrote: ‘The year is 2100. The UK’s three remaining small villages are given “city status”. The UK’s only remaining town is still, inexplicably, Reading.’

News that Reading has been snubbed for city status again did not go down well on social media

Rafe Uddin responded be likening to the town to the village inhabited by Gauls in the Asterix comics, known for holding out against the Roman Conquest. 

‘One small village still holds out against city status’ he wrote, posting a picture off the famous map from the comic book. 

Adrian Bradley said: ‘One day every town in the UK will be a city. Except Reading. NEVER READING.’

Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, wrote: ‘Disappointed that Reading’s bid for city status was unsuccessful. 

‘But this doesn’t change the fact that my home town is a vibrant place to live and work with much to offer, including as an economic powerhouse. 

‘The Crossrail connection to Reading underlines our growing importance.’ 

However, some people agreed with the decision not to grant the town city status, with one person saying it was a ‘train junction, not a city’

However, not everyone was upset, with @twlldun saying: ‘Reading is a train junction, not a city.’

Peter West added: ‘Unsurprised that Reading missed out on City status (again) now that it’s officially a suburb of London.’

Others said it was odd that Milton Keynes was given city status, while some were left complaining about the choice of Dunfermline over the likes of Middlesbrough.

Josh Barrie wrote: ‘Milton Keynes is a roundabout. Why has a roundabout been awarded city status?’ 

@TunnockCup joked: ‘Calling Dunfermline a city is the thin end of the wedge. They’ll be giving city status to dumps like Perth next.’

Allan Kennedy said: ‘So that’s Inverness, Stirling, Perth and now Dunfermline that have become cities in the last 22 years. And only one of them deserved it.’

Leon Wobschall said: ‘Middlesbrough has a cathedral, university, port, nearby airport and is a regional centre. But it still isn’t a city…’ 

Becoming a city does not grant a town any extra rights, but it is thought to grant a place more prestige and increase the number of visitors.

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

Ministers worked with an expert panel to make their recommendations from the extensive list before it is handed to the Queen for approval. 

The Queen has made Port Stanley a city on the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War – as seven more towns across the British Isles are bestowed the high honour to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee

The capital of the Falkland Islands (pictured) is among eight towns to win the coveted city status

Among the stand out names on the list of places granted city status is Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. 

With a population of just over 2,000 people, the honour has been granted on the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, which ended on June 14, 1982 as Argentinian commander General Mario Menendez surrendered to the British in the town.  

The 10-week undeclared conflict began over British dependent territories located in the South Atlantic – the Falklands and associated island dependencies.

The fighting cost the lives of 255 British servicemen, three Falkland Islanders and 655 Argentinian soldiers.  

They are some of the places that ‘make Britain great’, according 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.

Pictured: St Georges Church in Doncaster across the canal from the Waterfront with moored up house boats on the canal in front

Wrexham’s (pictured) 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

‘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.’

Douglas, which is capital of the Isle of Man, is home to 26,000 people and is a cultural hub where the Royal Hall is home to annual flagship concerts by the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra, the Isle of Man Choral Society, and the Manx Last Night of the Proms.

In recent years its industrial quayside and town centre have been regenerated, while it’s also home to birthplace f the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, of which the Queen is patron.

Douglas (pictured) is a cultural hub where The Royal Hall is home to annual flagship concerts by the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra, the Isle of Man Choral Society, and the Manx Last Night of the Proms

In May 1944, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to 30,000 assembled troops in Bangor, shortly before ships left for Normandy and D-Day. Pictured: The seaside town in Northern Ireland has been awarded city status to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Doncaster was originally a Roman settlement and has an industrial heritage that is built on rail and coal. 

It is the home of the classic St Leger horse race, which was first run in 1776, while The Flying Scotsman and The Mallard locomotives were both built there. 

Its bid showcased its community spirit and resilience after the floods in 2019 where locals rallied to provide relief.  

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, founded in 1864, has the world’s oldest international ground and gained more attention last year when it was bought by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

Dunfermline’s bid pointed out that its annual fireworks display attracts around 30,000 local people, while the Christmas light event packed the town centre with 10,000 people.

Milton Keynes was granted city status on its fourth application after previously failing in 2000, 2002 and 2012. Pictured: The lake and mansion house at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

Pictured: A view across the park and ground of Norman castle at Colchester in the summertime

Dunfermline’s most famous son is Andrew Carnegie, whose steel industry helped build America. His philanthropy started the world’s public library system, and he gave away the equivalent of 65 billion dollars in today’s money.

Bangor, due to being set at the mouth of the Belfast Lough, became a key site for allied forces during the Second World War. In May 1944, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech to 30,000 assembled troops in Bangor, shortly before ships left for Normandy and D-Day.

The Milton Keynes new town includes 27 conservation areas, 50 scheduled monuments, 1,100 listed buildings and 270 pieces of public art.

It has 84,500 citizens who are volunteers and the town also claims to have a higher per head of population number of volunteers than any other UK city. The Open University, was established there in 1969.

Milton Keynes was granted city status on its fourth application after previously failing in 2000, 2002 and 2012.

Colchester is Britain’s first recorded settlement and its first capital. It has been a Garrison Town for the past 165 years and for the past 21 years has been home to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the UK’s rapid response force.

City status: Its history, what it means and how it is granted 

What does it mean to become a city? 

Following today’s announcement, there are now 76 cities in the UK – 55 in England, eight in Scotland, seven in Wales and six in Northern Ireland. 

Whilst becoming a city does not grant a town any extra rights, it does bestow more prestige on a place, potentially boosting tourism and local businesses.

The Cabinet Office said Perth, 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.

Illustrating the impact that city status can have, Dunfermline resident Helen Law, who helped to win the honour for her town in the latest announcement, said it ‘means a lot’.

Speaking to the BBC, she said that when it comes to funding applications, the new status ‘will be seen as in our favour’.  

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. 

How does a town get city status? 

City status is officially granted by the Queen on advice of the Government. 

Her Majesty issues what are known as ‘letters patent’ – documents officially issued by the monarch.  

Towns can apply to the Government for city status via competitions run by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The competitions are timed with significant events such as jubilees. There is no mechanism for towns to gain city status outside of these competitions.

What is the historical importance of city status? 

Cities historically were settlements with cathedrals, which is why small places such as Ely in Cambridgeshire and Salisbury remain cities. 

Birmingham was the first town without a cathedral to be granted city status in 1889.

Many UK cities can date gaining their status to a charter several hundred years ago, whilst a much smaller number, including London, claim it from ‘time immemorial’. 

Others with city status predating records include Canterbury, Durham, ELy and Winchester.  

Which towns have most recently become cities? 

Southend was granted city status in October last year in tribute to murdered Conservative MP Sir David Amess, who had run a decades-long campaign for his town to receive the honour. 

Southend had been among the towns competing to get the honour as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.  

In the Diamond Jubilee competition in 2012, city status was granted to three towns out of 25 applicants: Perth in Scotland, Chelmsford in England and St. Asaph in Wales.

To mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, Preston, Stirling, Newport, Lisburn and Newry won bids to become cities. 

A competition was also held to mark the Millennium in 2000, with Brighton, Inverness and Wolverhampton getting city status.  

What are the largest and smallest cities in the UK? 

London is the largest city in the UK, with a population of more than nine million. The smallest is St David’s in Wales, which has only 1,600 residents.  

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