The Flag Institute is an educational charity headquartered in London, UK. It claims to be the world's largest flag organisation. It maintains a UK Flag Registry and offers advice and guidance about flags and their usage.
|Predecessor||The Heraldry Society|
|Formation||23 April 1971|
|Type||Charitable incorporated organisation|
|Purpose||"research and documentation centre for flags and flag information"|
|United Kingdom and worldwide|
The Institute was formed out of the Flag Section of The Heraldry Society on St George's Day, 23 April 1971, by William Crampton, later President of FIAV, with Captain E.M.C. Barraclough, CBE RN, as its chairman. It is a membership-based vexillological organisation with over 500 members from all parts of the world, and provides advice and assistance to individuals and organisations including UK Government departments, the BBC, ITN, and many publishers, museums and libraries.
The Institute maintains the William Crampton Library, based in Kingston upon Hull, England and named in honour of its co-founder. Comprising over 40,000 flag related volumes it is thought to be one of the largest vexillology-based libraries in the world. It publishes a quarterly 24-page full colour journal, Flagmaster, and a virtual magazine called eFlags. Since 2006 it has sponsored an annual public lecture on a flag-related topic, known as the 'Perrin Lecture'. It holds twice yearly meetings for its members in various locations around the United Kingdom. The Institute itself is governed by a Board of five elected Trustees who are advised by an appointed Council of members.
The Flag Institute was congratulated by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, on its first 40 years of service to the United Kingdom. In May 2011 he said:
Let me start by congratulating the Flag Institute on its first 40 years. 40 years as a respected source of help and advice. Not only to the UK Government, but to the United Nations and other organisations around the world. 40 years of bringing together enthusiasts, educating the public, and spreading knowledge.....The UK is very lucky in having – in the Institute – a group of dedicated and informed people who do a great deal to make sure that that respect is given. In your first 40 years you have established your credentials not just in this country, but on the world stage.
Following a postal ballot of members, the Institute became a charity at its annual general meeting in Worcester on Saturday 17 November 2012.
The Flag Institute's constitution states that its objectives are;
Under the supervision of their Chief Vexillologist Graham Bartram, the Institute keeps a registry of flags for the countries, regions and counties of the UK. Flag designs with which its officers have been involved include those for the badge and ensign of the UK Border Agency and the flag of the UK Supreme Court.
All Scottish flags must, by law, be authorised by Lord Lyon and recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. The Earl Marshal and the College of Arms are legally responsible for the flying of flags on land in the rest of the UK. The College of Arms and the Court of the Lord Lyon maintain official registers of flags.
With the impending Scottish independence vote in mind, in 2013 the Flag Institute members were asked for suggested designs of a post-independence UK flag. Five designs were showcased in the media to stimulate discussion, several of them incorporating elements of the Welsh flag of St David.
Until early 2010 the national flag of the United Kingdom was only flown from the Houses of Parliament when Parliament was actually sitting, and when the Houses rose it was taken down and the flagpole left bare. The Flag Institute with the Flags and Heraldry Committee campaigned to see the flag flown permanently, to signify the enduring sovereignty of Parliament and to act as the foremost flag of the kingdom, day and night every day of the year. In early 2010 Black Rod agreed that this should be so and since then the flag has flown all the time.
On 14 May 2011 at the Flag Institute Spring Meeting, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, announced his intention to liberalise flag flying regulations in the UK. The resulting discussion paper titled Liberalising the regime for flying flags was published by DCLG in January 2012. New regulations were laid before Parliament on 17 September 2012 and came into force on 12 October 2012.
Charles Ashburner, Chief Executive of the Flag Institute, said;
This really is a new Freedom to Fly Flags. In our super fast world of instant news and ever changing technology, flags remain the ultimate symbol of identity. The deregulation of flag flying regulations is something which everyone who believes in freedom of expression should support. [This is] an important step towards encouraging and protecting the huge variety of different community and individual identities of which British society should be so proud.
The Flag Institute is governed by six elected Trustees, currently;
First published in the United Kingdom in 2010 by the Flag Institute in association with the Flags and Heraldry Committee of the UK Parliament and with support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Flag of Berkshire is the flag of the historic county of Berkshire in England. The flag was registered with the Flag Institute as the flag of the county in March 2017. The flag was adopted after the design was submitted by a number of county-based bodies as well as the Lord Lieutenant of the county. Prior to adoption, a banner of the arms of the former Berkshire County Council (abolished in 1998) had been occasionally used to represent the county.Flag of Cheshire
The Cheshire flag is the flag of the county of Cheshire in North West England. It was registered by the Flag Institute on 10 April 2013, the design being a banner of arms of the former Cheshire County Council, granted on 3 May 1938.Flag of County Durham
The Flag of County Durham is the flag of the historic county of Durham. It was registered with the Flag Institute as the flag of the county in 2013, after winning an online competition to decide a flag for the county.Flag of Dorset
The flag of Dorset (also known as the Dorset Cross, and Saint Wite's Cross) is the flag of the English county of Dorset. It was chosen as the flag of Dorset on 16 September 2008 following a vote open to all Dorset residents, and organised by Dorset County Council. The unitary authorities of Bournemouth (historically part of Hampshire) and Poole declined an invitation to participate. The flag has subsequently been registered at the Flag Institute and added to their UK Flags Register.Flag of Greater Manchester
The Flag of Greater Manchester is the unofficial flag of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester in England. It is not registered with the Flag Institute, which will not register flags for counties other than for historic counties. As a flag representing a county it is given special legal status by the UK Flag Flying Regulations.Flag of Herefordshire
The Herefordshire flag refers to proposals for a flag of the English county of Herefordshire. No design has yet been registered with the Flag Institute.Flag of Hertfordshire
The flag of Hertfordshire is the flag of the English county of Hertfordshire. The flag is a banner of the arms of Hertfordshire County Council. On 19 November 2008 the Council passed a resolution that the design is a fitting and proper emblem for the county and its people. The council subsequently registered the banner of arms as the flag of the county with the Flag Institute and it now appears on the latter's registry of local flags.Flag of Kent
The Flag of Kent is the flag of the English county of Kent. It features the white horse of Kent on a red background, a theme used in several other Kent related coats of arms and logos or symbols. It is sometimes referred to as the Invicta Flag or Invicta Flag of Kent, after the motto of Kent, Invicta.The Flag Institute note, in the flag's entry on the UK Flags Register that:
This is the traditional flag of Kent, supposedly based on that of Horsa, the Jute. Horsa was the brother of Hengest, who founded the Kingdom of Kent in 449. The first recorded reference is in 1605.
The flag is an adaptation of the traditional arms of Kent to which the quote refers. These arms were attributed anachronistically to the Kingdom of Kent, but used by the Justices of Kent for many years. The arms were officially granted to Kent County Council on 17 October 1933 (and re-confirmed to its successor in 1975). The flag was accepted by the Flag Institute as that of the historic county on the basis of its traditional use.Flag of Lancashire
The Lancashire flag is the flag of the historic county of Lancashire.The Red Rose of Lancaster is a symbol for the House of Lancaster, immortalised in the verse "In the battle for England's head/York was white, Lancaster red" (referring to the 15th century War of the Roses). An unofficial Lancashire flag, a red rose on a white field, was never registered. When an attempt was made to register it with the Flag Institute, it was found that this flag had already been registered by the town of Montrose, Angus, several hundred years earlier with the Lyon Office. As the Flag Institute will not register two flags of the same design within the United Kingdom, Lancashire's official flag was registered — in 2008 — as a red rose on a gold field. The background was chosen as it, along with red, are the livery colours of the county.Flag of Northamptonshire
The Northamptonshire flag is the official flag of the English county of Northamptonshire. It was registered by the Flag Institute on 11 September 2014, the design being a gold cross fimbriated in black on a maroon background with a rose in the centre.Flag of Nottinghamshire
The flag of Nottinghamshire is the flag of Nottinghamshire, a historic county of England. It was registered with the Flag Institute in 2011.Flag of Oxfordshire
The Oxfordshire flag is the flag of the historic county of Oxfordshire in England. It was registered with the Flag Institute on 9 October 2017.Flag of Shropshire
The Shropshire flag is the county flag of Shropshire. It was registered with the Flag Institute in March 2012 and officially became the flag of Shropshire on April 19th 2013.Flag of Staffordshire
The Staffordshire flag is the flag of the county of Staffordshire. It was registered with the Flag Institute on 28 March 2016 following a competition between two rival designs. The winning design was proposed by the Staffordshire Heritage Group as a simplified version of the other candidate, the Staffordshire County Council Banner of Arms.Flag of Suffolk
The Suffolk flag is the registered flag of the county of Suffolk, England. It was registered with the Flag Institute on 9 October 2017. The Flag Institute registered the design after Suffolk County Council displayed the flag on the first "Suffolk Day", and after a number of requests by organisations in the county.Flag of Warwickshire
The Warwickshire flag is the flag of the historic county of Warwickshire in England. It was registered with the Flag Institute in August 2016. The flag was registered as a result of a campaign that secured the support of a dozen county organisations plus the sanction of both the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff.List of British flags
This list includes flags that either have been in use or are currently used by the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories and the Crown dependencies.
The College of Arms is the authority on the flying of flags in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and maintains the only official register of flags for these countries. It was established in 1484 and as part of the Royal Household operates under the authority of the Crown. The Lord Lyon King of Arms holds a similar role within Scotland. A separate private body called the Flag Institute, financed by its own membership, also maintains a registry of United Kingdom flags that it styles 'the UK Flag Registry', though this has no official status under UK law.List of English flags
This is a list of English flags, including symbolic national and sub-national flags, standards and banners used exclusively in England.
The College of Arms is the authority on the flying of flags in England and maintains the only official register of flags. It was established in 1484 and as part of the Royal Household operates under the authority of The Crown. A separate private body called the Flag Institute, financed by its own membership, also maintains a registry of United Kingdom flags that it styles 'the UK Flag Registry', though this has no official status under English law.Certain classes of flag enjoy a special status within English planning law and can be flown without needing planning permission as advertisements. These include any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign; the flag of the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United Nations or any other international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member; a flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within the United Kingdom; the flag of the Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, any Part of Lincolnshire, any Riding of Yorkshire or any historic county within the United Kingdom; the flag of St David; the flag of St Patrick; the flag of any administrative area within any country outside the United Kingdom; any flag of Her Majesty’s Forces; and the Armed Forces Day flag.White Rose of York
The White Rose of York (also called the Rose alba or rose argent), a white heraldic rose, is the symbol of the House of York and has since been adopted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole.