County Flags have become an important part of our regional and national identity. Most English counties have a recognised County Flag, but Staffordshire did not. The Flag Institute maintains the UK Flag Registry as a definitive record of county and community flags, and works with county organisations to come up with suitable designs. The county flags are based on the historic counties of the UK rather than the modern administrative areas, so Staffordshire includes Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and several other parishes that fall outside the boundaries of the modern Staffordshire County Council (SCC).
The Flag Institute had received two applications for a County Flag for Staffordshire, one from Staffordshire County Council and the other from the Staffordshire Heritage Group (SHG), an umbrella organisation for many cultural groups in Staffordshire. Both applications met the Flag Institute’s published criteria for applying, and both designs met the Institute’s design guidelines, so the Flag Institute decided that the only fair way to choose between them was to give the people of Staffordshire an opportunity to vote for the design they liked best.
The vote has now closed and the results are in. Voting was restricted to people who live or work in the historic county of Staffordshire, so voters were requested to supply their postcode (either work or home) and these have been checked against a list of all the valid postcodes in the historic county area.
The results are:
Total ballots submitted: 825
Total validated as being from someone who lives, or works, in Staffordshire: 784
Total validated as Staffordshire and actually choosing a design: 777 (ie. 7 people didn’t choose a design)
Votes for each design:
Staffordshire County Council: 211 (ie. 5 excluded) – 27.16% of validated votes
Staffordshire Heritage Group: 566 (ie. 30 excluded) – 72.84% of validated votes
The Staffordshire Heritage Group design is therefore the winner and it will be added to the Flag registry as the County Flag of Staffordshire. The Staffordshire County Council design will, of course, remain the Council’s own flag, as it is a banner of their arms.
The winning design is shown below:
The gold background and red chevron comes from the coat-of-arms of the de Stafford family and has been used in connection with the county since at least the 17th century. The knot is an ancient symbol of Staffordshire, used by many organizations, including the Staffordshire Regiment and Staffordshire Cricket.