Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Stafford. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders. It adjoins the ceremonial counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, and Shropshire.
The largest city in ceremonial Staffordshire is Stoke-on-Trent. Lichfield also has city status, though is considerably smaller. Wolverhampton and Walsall used to be in Staffordshire but are now within the West Midlands. Major towns include Burton upon Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cannock, Tamworth, and Stafford itself.
Staffordshire is divided into a number of districts. These are Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, the Borough of Stafford, Staffordshire Moorlands, and Tamworth. Stoke-on-Trent is administered as an independent unitary authority.
Historically, Staffordshire was divided into the five hundreds of Cuttlestone, Offlow, Pirehill, Seisdon, and Totmonslow.
The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of West Midlands. An administrative county of Staffordshire was set up in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888 covering the county except the county boroughs of Wolverhampton, Walsall, and West Bromwich in the south (the area known as the Black Country), and Hanley in the north. The Act also saw the towns of Tamworth (partly in Warwickshire) and Burton upon Trent (partly in Derbyshire) united entirely in Staffordshire.
Handsworth and Perry Barr became part of the county borough of Birmingham in the early 20th century, and thus associated with Warwickshire. Burton, in the east of the county, became a county borough in 1901, and was followed by Smethwick, another Black Country town in 1907. In 1910 the six towns of the Staffordshire Potteries, including Hanley, became the single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent.
A major reorganisation in the Black Country in 1966, under the recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England led to the creation of an area of contiguous county boroughs. The County Borough of Warley was formed by the merger of the county borough of Smethwick and municipal borough of Rowley Regis with the Worcestershire borough of Oldbury : the resulting county borough was associated with Worcestershire. Meanwhile, the county borough of Dudley, historically a detached part of Worcestershire, expanded and became associated with Staffordshire instead. This reorganisation led to the administrative county of Staffordshire having a thin protusion passing between the county boroughs (to the east) and Shropshire, to the west, to form a short border with Worcestershire.
Under the Local Government Act 1972, on April 1, 1974 the county boroughs of the Black Country and the Staffordshire urban district of Aldridge-Brownhills became, along with Birmingham, Solihull, and Coventry and other districts, a new metropolitan county of West Midlands. County boroughs were abolished, with Stoke becoming a non-metropolitan district in Staffordshire, and Burton forming an unparished area in the district of East Staffordshire. On April 1, 1997, under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, Stoke-on-Trent became a unitary authority independent of Staffordshire once more.
In the north and in the south the county is hilly, with wild moorlands in the far north and Cannock Chase an area of natural beauty in the south. In the middle regions the surface is low and undulating. Throughout the entire county there are vast and important coal fields. In the southern part there are also rich iron ore deposits. The largest river is the Trent. The soil is chiefly clay and agriculture was not highly developed until the mechanisation of farms.
Staffordshire is also home to the highest village in England, Flash. The village in the Staffordshire Moorlands stands at 463 m (1518ft) above sea level. This record was confirmed in 2007 by the Ordnance Survey after Wanlockhead in Scotland also claimed the record. The BBC's 'The One Show' investigated the case in a bid to settle the argument and Flash turned out to be the highest.
Staffordshire has an extensive network of canals including the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, Caldon Canal, Coventry Canal, Shropshire Union Canal and Trent and Mersey Canal.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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