Counties of England, Wales and Scotland prior to the 1974 boundary changes - From GENUKI
From the Association of British Counties Website
The Association of British Counties (A.B.C.) is a society dedicated to promoting awareness of the continuing existence of the 86 traditional Counties of Britain. A.B.C. believes that the traditional Counties are a vitally important part of the history, culture and geography of Britain. It seeks to re-establish their use as the standard geographical reference frame of Britain and to further develop their use as a basis for cultural, sporting and social activities. A.B.C. is a non-party political and non-sectarian organisation.
Weren't many of the traditional Counties altered or abolished by local government reorganizations in the 1960s and 1970s ?
No, absolutely not. It is a commonly held misconception that the local government changes of the 1960s and 1970s actually altered the Counties of Britain. In fact they did no such thing. A (brief) history lesson is needed to explain why the Counties weren't altered.
Modern local authority areas were only created in 1889 (in England and Wales) and 1890 (in Scotland). Initially these areas were closely based upon the traditional Counties. However, they were always understood to be separate entities from the Counties themselves and, indeed, had separate terminology: they were labeled "administrative counties" and "county boroughs". Nobody ever confused the local government areas with the historic Counties themselves. After all, the Counties of England had, by 1889, already been in existence for over 800 years (many for centuries longer). Those of Wales and Scotland had also been fixed in name and area for several centuries.
The new county boundaries are solely for the purpose of defining areas of ... local government. They are administrative areas, and will not alter the traditional boundaries of Counties, nor is it intended that the loyalties of people living in them will change."