The Yorkshire Ridings Society is a group affiliated to the Association of British Counties calling for the wider recognition of the historic borders of Yorkshire, and its traditional subdivisions, the North, East and West Ridings.
The Yorkshire Ridings Society was founded in 1974 in response to the Local Government Act 1972, which it saw, alongside subsequent local government reform, as a threat to Yorkshire's identity. Colin Holt, a founder member, was the long-time chairman of the group until his death in April 2006. The current Chairman (2009) is Councillor Chris Abbott.
The group has promoted Yorkshire Day annually on 1 August since 1975 to raise awareness of its cause. The group dates the founding of the county of Yorkshire to 875 AD.
Associated groups include the Saddleworth White Rose Society, which handles Saddleworth (historically in the West Riding, but part of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham of Greater Manchester since 1974), and Unite Craven, who are concerned with the western part of Craven (including Barnoldswick, Earby and the former Bowland Rural District) which was made part of the non-metropolitan county of Lancashire in 1974.
In 1977 the society's founding committee published What future for Yorkshire? in reply to the Government's white paper on devolution. It proposed as a "starting point" :
- The abolition of the county councils created in 1974 as soon as possible.
- The metropolitan boroughs to be become "boroughs" or "cities" with the powers of pre-1974 county boroughs.
- Retention of the non-metropolitan districts established in 1974.
- Three new cities or boroughs for York, Hull and Middlesbrough and their hinterlands.
- Possible introduction of a similar borough covering the Selby coalfield.
- County-wide services to be provided by a "consortium" of district councils.
- A Yorkshire Provincial Assembly to cover the pre-1974 Yorkshire Ridings.
According to the society's website, their current aims are:
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