Weird boundaries

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Piatkow
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Piatkow » Sun Feb 25, 2018 20:57

Viator wrote:
P.S. It's just occurred to me that in the course of my daily journey to school -- in a near straight line (with home and school both in Warwickshire) -- I crossed five "traditional county" boundaries in little more than five miles!
Never managed that but I used to commute from Billericay to Pall Mall crossing five different police forces:
Essex, British Transport, City of London, Metropolitan and Royal Parks (the latter now defunct of course).

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Chris Bertram
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Chris Bertram » Sun Feb 25, 2018 21:25

Piatkow wrote:
Viator wrote:
P.S. It's just occurred to me that in the course of my daily journey to school -- in a near straight line (with home and school both in Warwickshire) -- I crossed five "traditional county" boundaries in little more than five miles!
Never managed that but I used to commute from Billericay to Pall Mall crossing five different police forces:
Essex, British Transport, City of London, Metropolitan and Royal Parks (the latter now defunct of course).
I'd discount BTP from that as they're not a territorial police force.
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lefthandedspanner
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by lefthandedspanner » Mon Feb 26, 2018 01:13

The historic Yorkshire/Lancashire border didn't make a lot of geographical sense - for instance, Saddleworth and Barnoldswick (west of the Pennines) were part of Yorkshire, while Todmorden (east of the Pennines) was part of Lancashire.

The most confusing part was near Mossley where it met Cheshire (and Lancashire), and explains why Mossley is in a different postal area and local government district to all the other towns around it.

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Fenlander » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:06

RichardA626 wrote:Some of the merged Co-operative societies can cover odd areas.
I've tried and failed to use use my Lincolnshire Coop divi card in more Coops in Lincolnshire than I've succeeded to. I don't shop with them at home because they've withdrawn from the supermarket size shops and gone corner shop sized, and they're too expensive & inadequate for weekly shopping. Out on the road however they're more use for a meal deal type shop.

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Robert Kilcoyne » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:56

lefthandedspanner wrote:The historic Yorkshire/Lancashire border didn't make a lot of geographical sense - for instance, Saddleworth and Barnoldswick (west of the Pennines) were part of Yorkshire, while Todmorden (east of the Pennines) was part of Lancashire.

The most confusing part was near Mossley where it met Cheshire (and Lancashire), and explains why Mossley is in a different postal area and local government district to all the other towns around it.
The Lancashire/Cheshire border in that area did not make much sense either. A significant part of Stalybridge, which I have always considered to be a Cheshire town, was in fact in Lancashire.

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Chris Bertram
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Chris Bertram » Mon Feb 26, 2018 13:15

lefthandedspanner wrote:The historic Yorkshire/Lancashire border didn't make a lot of geographical sense - for instance, Saddleworth and Barnoldswick (west of the Pennines) were part of Yorkshire, while Todmorden (east of the Pennines) was part of Lancashire.
Latterly, Todmorden had been part of the West Riding in its entirety, the boundary being moved in 1888. Prior to that it had divided the town along the River Calder and the Walsden Water. So it's incorrect to say "Todmorden was in Lancashire". Only part of it was.

Of course, boundaries have often followed rivers and streams, though they often divert around a town to avoid the kind of situation above. Subsequent problems can arise when the river changes course - often only slightly - but the boundary remains in its previous location.
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Viator
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Viator » Mon Feb 26, 2018 22:29

Chris Bertram wrote:Of course, boundaries have often followed rivers and streams, though they often divert around a town to avoid the kind of situation above. Subsequent problems can arise when the river changes course - often only slightly - but the boundary remains in its previous location.
I've often wondered how the mid-stream line of a watercourse, when it serves as a boundary line, is determined -- geometrically/cartographically, that is. An additional complication is that sometimes the boundary line is specified as being equidistant from both banks (in itself an ever-shifting and, surely, fractally variable concept) and sometimes as being decided by the channel of deepest flow (do they send people out with flow-meters and sounding-lines every now and then?).

A similar thing occasionally worries me on sleepless nights concerning how they fix those international maritime borders you see on maps. I imagine it has something to do with arcs centred upon headlands (and straight lines connecting their intersections?), but it still feels immensely complicated to me. Any marine cartographers out there?

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wrinkly
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by wrinkly » Tue Feb 27, 2018 00:04

The best way to define a boundary is to put it where you want:

https://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/maps/ind ... =7&layer=0

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FleetlinePhil
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by FleetlinePhil » Tue Feb 27, 2018 08:52

Chris Bertram wrote:
lefthandedspanner wrote:The historic Yorkshire/Lancashire border didn't make a lot of geographical sense - for instance, Saddleworth and Barnoldswick (west of the Pennines) were part of Yorkshire, while Todmorden (east of the Pennines) was part of Lancashire.
Latterly, Todmorden had been part of the West Riding in its entirety, the boundary being moved in 1888. Prior to that it had divided the town along the River Calder and the Walsden Water. So it's incorrect to say "Todmorden was in Lancashire". Only part of it was.

Of course, boundaries have often followed rivers and streams, though they often divert around a town to avoid the kind of situation above. Subsequent problems can arise when the river changes course - often only slightly - but the boundary remains in its previous location.
Even the revised border does not make perfect geographical sense, as it lies at the limit of the built-up area of Todmorden but around a mile short of the watershed between the Yorkshire and Lancashire Calders.

Incidentally, is this the only place in the UK where two rivers with the same name share a watershed?

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by owen b » Tue Feb 27, 2018 21:42

FleetlinePhil wrote:
Incidentally, is this the only place in the UK where two rivers with the same name share a watershed?
There is a watershed in the area of the A342 south east of Devizes where water flowing west ends up in the Bristol River Avon and water flowing south ends up in the Christchurch River Avon.
Owen

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by KeithW » Wed Feb 28, 2018 18:48

Steven wrote:
It was absolutely bonkers! I have a mental picture of early Victorian-era criminals desperately riding on horseback across a county exclave boundary to escape the clutches of the County Sheriffs - rather like a 19th century Dukes of Hazzard...

You can see exactly why the Detached Parts Act was needed; and then later than that why the 1888 Local Government Act set up these new-fangled Administrative Counties as being based upon, but different to, the historic counties.
Under English common law that doesn't work, the doctrine of hot pursuit allows police to pursue malfeasants across county boundaries. The precedents were established as early as the 14th century. Where it did break down was the border land between Scotland and England. Not only did the 2 nations have different legal systems but there was an area along the border where no boundary had been agreed. Called The Debatable Lands it really was bandit country. The biggest of the Reiver clans (the Armstrongs) could put as many as 3000 men in the field. At the Battle off Flodden the English lined up on one ridge, the Scots on another and the Borderers waited to one side until the outcome was clear and suddenly decided they were all English to claim their share of the pillage. The death of James IV in this battle prompted his successors James V and VI to crack down hard on the border clans. James V imprisoned several of the Scottish border lords and hanged the leader of the Armstrongs along with 31 of his sub chiefs. Worse still for them James VI became James I of England and asserted sovereign control over the entire region.

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FleetlinePhil
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by FleetlinePhil » Wed Feb 28, 2018 19:26

owen b wrote:
FleetlinePhil wrote:
Incidentally, is this the only place in the UK where two rivers with the same name share a watershed?
There is a watershed in the area of the A342 south east of Devizes where water flowing west ends up in the Bristol River Avon and water flowing south ends up in the Christchurch River Avon.
Thanks for that, I'd often wondered.

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by crb11 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 20:19

There are a few oddities in the Cambridge/South Cambridgeshire border, which I know attempts have been made to sort out over the years, but the two sides can't agree. (The most sensible would be to put the N and W borders of Cambridge along the A14 and M11, but that would involve South Cambs giving up territory and there's nothing obvious to swap it with.)

Particular examples are that the border kinks south of Kings Hedges Road at one point to leave about 30 houses from one estate in South Cambs with the rest in Cambridge. The office I work in is in Cambridge, but the border cuts through the building so the canteen and rear car park are in South Cambs. And the Trumpington P&R site is also split between the two.
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Chris Bertram
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Chris Bertram » Wed Feb 28, 2018 20:35

You want a "border cuts through building" situation? Try living in Llanymynech, in Powys/Shropshire. The map doesn't quite convey the complications - the border is actually to the east of the main north-south road, and cuts through at least one pub, leaving the public bar in Wales and the lounge in England. In the days of dry Sundays in Wales, that really mattered!

Something similar happens in Knighton. The town here is entirely in Wales, but the border seems to cut through the outbuildings by the station, and the station itself is in England. Despite this, it has dual-language signage. This may be an instance where the border was formerly defined by the course of the River Teme - but the river has moved, while the border has stayed put.
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Reading » Tue Mar 06, 2018 13:36

If you go to https://wikishire.co.uk/map/#Wokingham@ ... r_detached you can see how parts of wokingham and Twyford were in Wiltshire.

Bizarrely these things do still matter today - my old school has a "historic means of entry" which is linked to a bequest left by a c17th merchant who left money for the education of pauper children from the parishes of Newbury, Reading or Richmond (+ 1 girl from the city of London) - it still uses the boundaries extant at the time of the will to determine eligibility (which allows an easier entrance exam - fees are means assisted)

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by crb11 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 19:50

Another source of weird boundaries is Church of England dioceses, at least before they were tidied up in the 1840s with odd exclaves all over the place. The Monks Risborough area, for instance, included four Canterbury parishes and at least one Lincoln one. Even after this, Croydon (roughly the current borough) remained directly under Canterbury until 1984.
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by KeithW » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:27

Viator wrote: I've often wondered how the mid-stream line of a watercourse, when it serves as a boundary line, is determined -- geometrically/cartographically, that is. An additional complication is that sometimes the boundary line is specified as being equidistant from both banks (in itself an ever-shifting and, surely, fractally variable concept) and sometimes as being decided by the channel of deepest flow (do they send people out with flow-meters and sounding-lines every now and then?).
Worse sometimes the course of the river changes or is changed. The traditional boundary between Durham and North Yorkshire has always been the River Tees but when the river was straightened in 1810 this lead to major ructions when landowners previously in Durham found themselves in Yorkshire and vice versa with an act of Parliament being required to authorise it.

https://teessidepsychogeography.wordpre ... ndale-cut/
https://picturestocktonarchive.wordpres ... tees-1791/

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Viator » Tue Mar 13, 2018 15:59

FleetlinePhil wrote:
owen b wrote:
FleetlinePhil wrote:
Incidentally, is this the only place in the UK where two rivers with the same name share a watershed?
There is a watershed in the area of the A342 south east of Devizes where water flowing west ends up in the Bristol River Avon and water flowing south ends up in the Christchurch River Avon.
Thanks for that, I'd often wondered.
Not quite the same situation, but the River Neath has two tributaries named Clydach [1] -- and on the other side of the watershed which separates its catchment area from that of the Tawe the latter river also has two separate tributaries called Clydach [2].

None of these BTW has anything to do with the River Clydach that is crossed by the Head of the Valleys Road just before its confluence with the Usk [3], or with the Clydach that flows into the Rhondda Fawr! [4]

[1] At Resolven and at Neath Abbey
[2] At Pontardawe and at Clydach
[3] At Gilwern
[2] At Tonypandy
Last edited by Viator on Tue Mar 13, 2018 17:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Mark Hewitt » Tue Mar 13, 2018 16:10

FleetlinePhil wrote:
Chris Bertram wrote:
lefthandedspanner wrote:The historic Yorkshire/Lancashire border didn't make a lot of geographical sense - for instance, Saddleworth and Barnoldswick (west of the Pennines) were part of Yorkshire, while Todmorden (east of the Pennines) was part of Lancashire.
Latterly, Todmorden had been part of the West Riding in its entirety, the boundary being moved in 1888. Prior to that it had divided the town along the River Calder and the Walsden Water. So it's incorrect to say "Todmorden was in Lancashire". Only part of it was.

Of course, boundaries have often followed rivers and streams, though they often divert around a town to avoid the kind of situation above. Subsequent problems can arise when the river changes course - often only slightly - but the boundary remains in its previous location.
Even the revised border does not make perfect geographical sense, as it lies at the limit of the built-up area of Todmorden but around a mile short of the watershed between the Yorkshire and Lancashire Calders.

Incidentally, is this the only place in the UK where two rivers with the same name share a watershed?
Always surprises me just how far to the west Yorkshire ends up / ended up going. Think of it as an east coast thing but it almost makes it to the West coast and touches the M6 near Kendal.
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Re: Weird boundaries

Post by Chris Bertram » Tue Mar 13, 2018 16:45

Viator wrote:Not quite the same situation, but the River Neath has two tributaries named Clydach [1] -- and on the other side of the watershed which separates its catchment area from that of the Tawe the latter river also has two separate tributaries called Clydach [2].
The River Cam - the tributary of the Great Ouse that passes through Cambridge - is also known as the Granta. However, one of its tributaries, the River Rhee, is also known as the Cam, concurrently with the "main" river upstream of that confluence. This is still the "Cam or Granta", but has a further tributary also called Granta which joins it near Great Shelford. Of course, rivers in the Fens have often changed course, through the intervention of nature or that of man, but this appears not to be the case here.
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