Scottish regions on web forms

Map of the 32 local council areas in Scotland

Here’s a page on Wikipedia that I wish more web designers who write UK address forms would read: Subdivisions of Scotland.

It annoys me when I come to fill in an online form that the form designers haven’t done their homework and instead present me with an outdated list of Scottish regions from which to choose.

Living in Edinburgh I’m usually presented with either Lothian, which no longer exists, or Midlothian, which is south of Edinburgh and includes Dalkeith and Penicuik (I once managed to convince an English friend that it had a soft ‘c’ and was thus pronounced Penis-wick; it’s actually pronounced Penny-cook.).

To be fair, it wasn’t until I moved to Edinburgh in 2003 that I discovered the various regions and districts of Scotland that I’d been taught in school had been abolished on 1 April 1996, in favour of the current 32 local authority council areas of Scotland. I remember at primary school learning that Scotland had nine regions: Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Central, Fife, Grampian, Highland, Lothian, Strathclyde and Tayside, and within those 56 districts. I was living in London in 1996, which is probably how I missed the change. Now there are 32 local government areas in Scotland, with some councils sharing responsibility for Police and Fire, Health, and Sheriff Courts. Nothing is simple these days, is it!

So a gentle plea to web form designers: please replace “Lothian” on your forms with City of Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian, and East Lothian. And include the other 28 regions … sorry, areas too.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Former Scrum master at Safeguard Global, Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

3 thoughts on “Scottish regions on web forms”

  1. Gareth,
    You should try living in South Queensferry like me (and, indeed, your brother). Since the mid 70s SQ has been part of the city of Edinburgh (it had previously been West Lothian) and, since 1996, has therefore not been part of any of the ‘Lothians’ but part of the area called ‘City of Edinburgh’. But the post office insist that it is still part of West Lothian and hence I have to choose ‘West Lothian’ on web forms and credit card applications and stuff like that. In fact, the South Queensferry post office official stamp (used on things like road tax discs) reads ‘South Queensferry West Lothian’.

  2. Scotland wasn’t just divided into the nine regions until the new unitary authorities – but also three island authorities, Western Isles, Orkney, and Shetland. Unlike the mainland, these were unitary authorities (so the rejig in the 1990s meant nothing to these councils).

    But yes. Complicated and confusing.

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