Rochester City Status loss – an embarrassing blot on the history of a truly beautiful area.

As you enter Rochester, you are greeted with brown signs announcing that you are approaching ‘Historic Rochester’. The more mature among us will remember a time when Rochester was still a city and proud of it we were too.

If you’ve ever wondered why Rochester is no longer a City, here’s some interesting facts we found on the City of Rochester Society website. The society was founded in 1967 to help conserve the historic City as a pleasant place to visit.

The Society is still active today, helping to improve the environment and quality of life in Rochester for residents and visitors alike.

Why was Rochester City status lost?

The first Royal Charter to recognise Rochester’s city status was granted during the reign of King Henry III in 1227.

In 1974 the City of Rochester became part of a new Borough of Medway, which also included the former Borough of Chatham and part of the former Rural District of Strood.  Before the merger, and at the special request of the outgoing city council, the Queen granted Letters Patent which maintained the status of Rochester as a city within the Borough of Medway.  In 1982, following a change of name to Rochester upon Medway, the Queen again granted Letters Patent which extended Rochester’s city status to the whole of the Borough; hence the area became the City of Rochester upon Medway.

In 1998 Rochester upon Medway City Council and Gillingham Borough Council were abolished and a new unitary authority – Medway Council – created for the whole of the Medway Towns. 

Advice was given by the Government to the outgoing city council as to the steps it should take if city status were to be retained.  That advice was rejected and so our city status lapsed.

Source: City of Rochester Society website

Learn more

Visit the City of Rochester Society Website to learn what can be done to restore Rochester’s City status:

Rochester city status coat-arms

If you are interesting in learning more or even supporting the cause, you may wish to consider becoming a member. Adult membership is £10 for a year. Visit the membership page here

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