East Riding of Yorkshire

The East Riding of Yorkshire flag
Flag of the East Riding of Yorkshire

The ancient and 1889 boundaries of the East Riding extended northwards to Malton and Filey Brigg on the coast, following the banks of the River Derwent, which flowed north east from York. The western boundary was defined by the Ouse’s flow south westerly from the ancient capital to where it enters the Humber estuary at Goole. Over the water lay the ancient county of Lindsey, nowadays known as Lincolnshire. The 1974 restructuring brought major changes to the East Riding with the creation of a new county called Humberside. To confuse matters further this was divided north and south by the postal service, either side of the Humber estuary. Addresses north of this point would have “North Humberside” in their addresses, while their counterparts on the south bank were known as “South Humberside.” Hull was still the major settlement in the area, but now had places such as Scunthorpe and Grimsby included in the same region alongside Beverley, Driffield and Goole, originally part of the old West riding.

During the area’s time outside Yorkshire came the completion of the Humber Bridge in 1981, which linked the two banks of the estuary just outside Hull to Barton on Humber.

The creation of this new county proved to be very unpopular amongst both residents and politicians alike, who still maintained they were part of Yorkshire. According to one councillor at the time there was a campaign to get rid of Humberside from day one. By the early 90s it was a common sight in the area to see vandalised signs which bore the Humberside coat of arms and on entrance welcomed people to “England’s newest county.”

During a government review of the situation a decision was made in order to create four new unitary authorities, one in the city of Hull, rural East Yorkshire, centred on Beverley and the lands to the south of the Humber rightfully returned to their former county in the shape of North and North east Lincolnshire. The East Riding of Yorkshire was rightfully returned to god’s own county in April 1996, albeit slightly reduced in area than its ancient predecessor. The current boundaries end just north of Bridlington on the East coast and at Stamford Bridge in the west, although the area still managed to somehow retain Goole. Nowadays the area of the East Riding consists of around 590,800 people with Hull as its largest settlement. County Hall in Beverley is the administrative centre for the rural East Riding authority which also acts as an agricultural and religious centre with its 15th century minster.

The flat land to the north of Hull and south of the Yorkshire moors provides an excellent place to grow crops, including corn, oil seed rape and wheat to name but a few. The coastal towns of Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea are popular seaside resorts dotted with caravan and camp sites. This coastline is also famous for having the fastest rate of erosion in Europe, with parts of some villages close to falling into the North Sea.

The chalk Yorkshire Wolds are a more unspoilt and less heralded scenic area of the county to visit and is popular with walkers and cyclists. The Wolds are dotted with pretty villages, such as Warter, Huggate and the ever-amusing Wetwang, each with their own duck ponds a common feature in East Yorkshire settlements. Market Weighton, a pleasant market town at the heart of the riding was home to the Yorkshire giant, William Bradley who, at 7ft 9in tall, was the tallest recorded British man.

Just to confuse things for those outside the county, especially southerners, some of the area’s key institutions, such as the police force, fire service and airport, based on the south bank, retain the Humberside prefix and so the area is still referred to as this abolished and hated title. To its residents though, the East Riding is still very much part of Yorkshire.