All right; so I’ve put this question in General Questions, perhaps the correct forum.
So why was the configuration of counties in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland changed (the 1970s or so)?
You might try searching for the Local Government Act of 1972 (which came into force in 1974). Apparently, it was enacted to simplify administration.
For a map of the counties see http://www.robinsonresearch.com/EUROPE/BRITAIN/GOVT/local.htm
The changes were made as part of a general overhaul of local government by a Conservative government who wanted to be seen to be modernizing Britain. The main argument was that ancient boundaries, many of which dated back before the Norman Conquest, should be replaced with ones which were more ‘logical’. It was implemented in the same spirit as decimalization had been a couple of years earlier. It was never very popular and a few of the changes have since been reversed.
Well, how about in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland? Have changes been made since my 1995 atlas went to press?
What changes have been reversed? I’d heard tiny Rutlandshire was campaigning to be restored, but I didn’t know any reversals had actually taken place.
The campaign to restore Rutland was successful. It came back into existance in 1997. A number of other minor boundary changes were made elsewhere at the same time. This was done for party political reasons - the last Conservative government saw it as an easy populist measure which might improve their poll ratings among the voters of Middle England. It was but it didn’t.