- See also Midlands (disambiguation).
In general, the midlands of a territory are its central regions. The Midlands (with a capital M) usually means the English Midlands, which broadly correspond to the medieval kingdom of Mercia.
The area is generally considered to include the counties of Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and Worcestershire. It lies between Southern England, Northern England, East Anglia and Wales.
The Midlands is often divided into the West Midlands and East Midlands. These are both administrative regions of England, but do not not fully cover the traditional region of the Midlands. They exclude parts of northern Lincolnshire, now part of Yorkshire and the Humber, and Peterborough, which was once part of Northamptonshire but is now included with Cambridgeshire in the East of England Region.
Its largest conurbation, including the cities of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Coventry, is approximately covered by the West Midlands metropolitan county, although confusingly this is a much smaller area than the West Midlands region. Parts of the East Midlands are also densely populated, particularly the triangle formed by the cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the Midlands has been seen as a major industrial area, although, as in the rest of the UK, employment in manufacturing has been in decline for some time now. This has influenced perceptions of the southern boundary of the Midlands, as the regions further south were traditionally less industrialised (but also often more prosperous). Due to the decline of manufacturing this distinction has become less relevant and clearcut. Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire may now sometimes be considered to be part of the Midlands, albeit at the far southern edge. Similarly, Cheshire could be considered part of the Midlands, although it is more often associated with the North West.
The South Midlands is an area identified by the government for development. This consists of Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire with northern Buckinghamshire. Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire are not usually considered part of the Midlands and are in the administrative regions of the South East and the East of England respectively.
Important cities and towns