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The English Midlands, or the Midlands is the traditional name for the area comprising central England that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Merciamarker. It borders Southern England, Northern England, East Angliamarker and Walesmarker. Its largest city is Birminghammarker, and it was an important location for the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. The greater part of the area is now administered as the Government Office Regions of the West Midlands and East Midlands, though parts of the traditional Midlands are also in surrounding regions, namely Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Peterboroughmarker (East of England), Oxfordshire (South East), Gloucestershiremarker (South West) and Northern Lincolnshiremarker (Yorkshire and the Humber).

Extent of the Midlands

The two Government Office Regions of West and East Midlands.
The Midlands does not correspond to any current administrative area, and there is therefore no strict definition. However, it is generally considered to include the counties of Derbyshiremarker, Gloucestershiremarker, Herefordshiremarker, Leicestershiremarker, Lincolnshiremarker, Northamptonshiremarker, Nottinghamshiremarker, Oxfordshire, Rutlandmarker, Shropshiremarker, Staffordshire, Warwickshiremarker, the West Midlands and Worcestershire. The 2001 census included Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in the Midlands, though East Angliamarker (the collective name for these counties) is not usually considered part of the Midlands. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica describes Gloucestershire as "west midland", Bedfordshire as "south midland", and Huntingdonshiremarker as "east midland" counties respectively.

With more restricted boundaries than the traditional area known as the Midlands, two modern Government Office Regions together represent the latter: West Midlands and East Midlands. These are also constituencies of the European Parliamentmarker.

The West Midlands comprises the shire counties of (1) Staffordshire, (2) Warwickshiremarker and (3) Worcestershire (with their respective districts), the unitary counties of (4) Herefordshiremarker and (5) Shropshiremarker, the metropolitan boroughs of (6) Birminghammarker, (7) Coventrymarker, (8) Dudley, (9) Sandwell, (10) Solihullmarker, (11) Walsallmarker and (12) Wolverhamptonmarker, and the unitary boroughs of (13) Stoke-on-Trentmarker and (14) Telford and Wrekin. The East Midlands comprises the shire counties of (15) Derbyshiremarker, (16) Leicestershiremarker, (17) Lincolnshiremarker, (18) Northamptonshiremarker and (19) Nottinghamshiremarker (with their respective districts), the unitary county of (20) Rutlandmarker, and the unitary boroughs of (21) Derbymarker, (22) Leicestermarker and (23) Nottinghammarker. The two regions have a combined population of 9,439,516 (2001 census), and an area of 11,053 sq mi (28,631 km²).

The South Midlandsmarker is an area identified by the government for regional development purposes, consisting of Northamptonshiremarker and Bedfordshire with northern Buckinghamshire (what is now the Milton Keynes unitary authority). Bedfordshire and particularly Buckinghamshire are not usually considered part of the Midlands and are in the administrative regions of the East of England and the South East respectively, a further illustration of the fluidity of the perceived boundaries of the Midlands. Banburymarker in north Oxfordshire is often considered as the southern extremity of the English Midlands as it is relatively industrialised and many locals harbour an accent which is discernibly non-Southern. The town also has strong links with the Birmingham–Coventry industrial zone to the north.

The largest Midlands conurbation, which includes the cities of Birminghammarker and Wolverhamptonmarker, is approximately covered by the former metropolitan county (which also includes the city of Coventrymarker) of the West Midlands. Parts of the East Midlands are also densely populated, particularly the triangle formed by the cities of Leicestermarker, Nottinghammarker and Derbymarker, which also includes sizeable towns such as Loughboroughmarker and the Long EatonmarkerBeestonmarkerStaplefordmarker subconurbation.

Notable cities and towns

External links

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