Unlike most other countries, us Brits are very pedantic about what we call a ‘city’. Elsewhere, a city is a large town. But here, a city has to have a cathederal, or a royal charter from the Queen making it a city. This means you get some very large towns which can’t become cities, and some cities which are no bigger than large villages, like Ely in Cambridgeshire.
I therefore propose a new system, based on something I heard some time ago on Home Truths on Radio 4:
- If it’s just a group of houses, it’s a settlement.
- If there is also a church, it is a hamlet.
- If there is also a pub, it is a village.
- If there is a branch of Woolworths, it is a town.
- And finally, if there is a branch of Marks & Spencer, it is a city.
What do you think – good system or bad?