Wednesday, August 08, 2018


Driving to Abergavenny I was surprised to see a road sign indicating we were entering Monmouthshire. - and something Welsh too. Funny I though. Is it not Gwent Wales now? Research was called for.

My confusion stemmed from the fact that I was born in Newport, Monmouthshire , England in 1946. In 1970 my first born's with certificate states that his father's place of birth was indeed,  Newport, Monmouthshire , England . But his siblings born from 1972 onwards certificates say their father was born in Newport , Gwent, Wales. 

Now asked where one was born one cannot merely say Newport. There are many Newports and it seems three historic ways to designate where I was born. It is now 'none of the above'. It is according to the local council's website, Newport , South Wales. This is clearer than the start of the Wikipedia entry for Newport.

'Newport most commonly refers to:
  • Newport, Wales, United Kingdom
  • Newport, Rhode Island, United States'

 'The Local Government Act 1972 removed ambiguity about the legal status of the area by including the administrative county of Monmouthshire and the county borough of Newport into all acts pertaining to Wales, and in 1974 the borough was incorporated into the new local government county of Gwent. Gwent itself was abolished in 1996.'

I had blamed a Yorkshireman for this confusion, Harold Wilson  but he was a British Labour politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and from 1974 to 1976.

The real culprit is that traitor Heath. The Local Government Act 1972 was 'one of the most significant Acts of Parliament to be passed by the Heath Government of 1970–74 and is surpassed only by the European Communities Act 1972 which took the United Kingdom into the European Communities. '

Then post - Heath Gwent disappeared and became Monmouthshire for local government - but not Newport. It left Gwent but not Wales. 'The current unitary authority of Monmouthshire was created on 1 April 1996 as a successor to the district of Monmouth along with the Llanelly community from Blaenau Gwent, both of which were districts of Gwent.' Newport had gone from Monmouthshire England to Gwent, Wales. Gwent became Monmouthshire again but not Newport. It is not governed by Monmouthshire. 'Newport City Council is the governing body for the city of Newport, '

Clear as mud is it not? 

Thus started with observing a road sign. I do wish in Wales they would make up their minds. If they must have bilingual signs   -please STANDARDISE. At present some have English first then Welsh. Others are Welsh first then English. I know they want Welsh there and why; but be consistent. Welsh on top I would even concede as being better than present confusion. 

Finally I conclude with Wellington. 'Being born in a stable does not make one a horse.' -- The Duke of Wellington, when referred to as Irish . One's self identification matters. My father, born in Newport 1918, always supported Wales for rugby. he took me to Yorkshire as a babe in arms in 1947. I support England, Leeds United and Yorkshire for cricket.

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