BBC News

Jubilee cities: Chelmsford, Perth, St Asaph and Armagh


Chelmsford in Essex, Perth in Perthshire and St Asaph in Denbighshire have been announced as the winners of a competition to be granted "city status".

The Queen chose to grant the accolade to the three towns as part of celebrations to mark her Diamond Jubilee this year.

Armagh in Northern Ireland has been granted the honour of a lord mayor.

But what makes these locations so special?

Chelmsford, Essex, England

Chelmsford, which has a population of nearly 160,000 peopleundefined

It is home to Essex County cricket team and Anglia Ruskin University, and is one of the fast-growing towns in the south-east of England.

image captionThe Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd is Grade I listed

It has Roman origins and in 1199 King John granted the town a royal charter so that a market could be held on a weekly basis.

It became Essex's county town in 1218 - a position it still holds.

For a week in July 1381, the city temporarily became the government's main base after King Richard II, who was in the area, ordered several decrees in his bid to quell the pivotal Peasants' Revolt.

During 1645 many of the victims of the Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins were tried, imprisoned and hanged in Chelmsford - giving the court there much exposure.

In more recent times Chelmsford has gained fame for co-hosting the V festival with its event taking place in Hylands Park.

Hylands House, also situated on the park, was the headquarters of the British SAS during the Second World War.

The accolade is also helpful for Chelmsford City Football Club - its founders added the city moniker when it was set up 74 years ago.

They named the club Chelmsford City under a misapprehension that the county town was a city.

Notable people associated with Chelmsford include the founder of radio Guglielmo Marconi who opened the first wireless factory in the town and Turner prize winning artist Grayson Perry.

Tourist attractions include Chelmsford Cathedral - which was given Grade I listed status in 2010 and Chelmsford Museum.

Perth, Perthshire, Scotland

Perthundefined, with many believing it is just reclaiming its crown.

Dr John Hulbert, provost of Perth and Kinross Council, said: "The City and Royal Burgh of Perth was the capital of Scotland from the 9th Century until 1437, and then officially the second city of Scotland until 1975.

"Even although city status was summarily removed when local government was reorganised, Perth has continued to be known as the 'Fair City'. Full restoration of its ancient dignity is long overdue."

Located on the banks of the River Tay, King William the Lion gave it its Royal Burgh status in the early 12th century.

The country's King James I was assassinated at Blackfriars Church in 1437 by followers of the Earl of Atholl.

And clergyman John Knox's rousing sermon against idolatry at St John's Kirk in 1559 meant the town played a significant role in the Scottish Reformation.

It later took on the "fair city" title thanks to Sir Walter Scott's 1828 story the Fair Maid of Perth.

Perth has a strong industrial heritage and at one time was famous for producing bleach, linen, leather and whisky and was well placed to become a railway hub.

The local authority is Perth and Kincross Council and notable people born in the town include author and statesman John Buchan and actor Ewan McGregor.

St Asaph, Wales

The small Denbighshire town has a population of 3,400 and was granted a royal charter by the Queen in 1995.

undefinedby a group including the local mayor and Bishop of St Asaph.

It was founded by St Kentigern ( Mungo) in 576AD and is situated in an area of outstanding beauty.

It also has a cathedral which is at the centre of a diocese covering a wide area and has been the base for two former archbishops of Wales.

Culture and religion have long played a central role in the area.

As part of the bid, the town highlighted its involvement in preserving the Welsh language through the translation of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer by Bishop Morgan and William Salisbury in 1567.

It is the home of North Wales International Music Festival which was launched in 1972.

Notable people include poet Gerald Manley Hopkins and songwriters George Henry and Felix Lloyd Powell who were behind the famous World War I number Pack Up your Troubles in your Old Kit Bag.

Before the announcement the town had promoted itself as "the city of music".

Armagh, Northern Ireland

Armagh was given city status by the Queen in 1994.

Itundefinedin Northern Ireland, after Belfast, to have a lord mayor.

The award is purely honorary and does not give any additional powers to County Armagh's county town.

The city has a rich history - believed to be the ancient capital of the region, it also has strong connections to Saint Patrick - who founded his Great Church on its hill in 445AD.

There remain two cathedrals dedicated to the saint - one a Catholic place of worship and the other Church of England.

The city - which is often referred to as "the city of saints and scholars" is also famous for its Georgian architecture and archaeological digs.

It is also home to the Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Planetarium and is currently in the midst of a regeneration scheme.

Notable people include the King of Ireland Brian Boru.

More on this story

  • Three towns win city status for Diamond Jubilee