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Borough of Dacorum
Dacorum Coat of Arms.svg
Dacorum UK locator map.svg
Dacorum shown within Hertfordshire
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East of England
Administrative county Hertfordshire
Founded1 April 1974
Admin. HQ Hemel Hempstead
  Type Non-metropolitan district
  BodyDacorum Borough Council
   Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
   MPs: Gagan Mohindra
Mike Penning
  Total82.0 sq mi (212.5 km2)
  Rank 156th
  Rank Ranked 132nd
  Density1,900/sq mi (730/km2)
Time zone UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
ONS code 26UC (ONS)
E07000096 (GSS)
Ethnicity93.1% White
3.2% South Asian
1.4% Black
1.5% Mixed

Dacorum is a local government district with borough status in Hertfordshire, England. The council is based in Hemel Hempstead. The borough also includes the towns of Berkhamsted and Tring and surrounding villages. The borough had a population of 155,081 in 2021. [1] Dacorum was created in 1974 and is named after the ancient hundred of Dacorum which had covered a similar area. The borough of Dacorum is the westernmost of Hertfordshire's ten districts. It borders St Albans, Three Rivers, Buckinghamshire and Central Bedfordshire.



Dacorum means "hundred of the Danes" in medieval Latin. [lower-alpha 1] [2] The name appears to reference a period in Saxon times when the area formed part of the Danelaw which covered much of what is now eastern England, although the duration and extent of Danish occupation in this area is unclear and continues to be debated by historians. In 1086, the Domesday Book records a hundred called Danais (also meaning "of the Danes") and a neighbouring hundred called Tring; the two had merged into a single hundred by about 1200 which was thereafter called Dacorum. [3] From the seventeenth century onwards, hundreds gradually declined in importance as administrative divisions, with their functions passing to other bodies such as the county courts. The final administrative functions of hundreds were extinguished in 1886. [4]

The modern local government district of Dacorum was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the whole area of five former districts and parts of another two, which were all abolished at the same time: [5]

The new district was named Dacorum after the medieval hundred, which had covered a similar area. [6]

The district was granted borough status in 1984, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor. Hemel Hempstead had maintained Charter Trustees from 1974 to 1984. The amalgamation of the former local authorities was symbolised in the seven oak leaves which surround a tudor rose on the Dacorum coat of arms, issued in 1992. [7]


Dacorum Borough Council
Dacorum Borough Council.svg
William Allen,
Liberal Democrats
since 17 May 2023
Ron Tindall,
Liberal Democrats
since 17 May 2023 [8]
Claire Hamilton
since October 2020 [9]
Seats51 Councillors
United Kingdom Dacorum Council elections 2023.png
28 / 51
18 / 51
3 / 51
2 / 51
Plurality voting system
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
Meeting place
The Forum, Dacorum Borough Council.jpg
The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1DN

Hertfordshire has a two-tier structure of local government, with the ten district councils (including Dacorum Borough Council) providing district-level services, and Hertfordshire County Council providing county-level services. In some areas there is an additional third tier of civil parishes. [10]

Political control

The Liberal Democrats won a majority of the seats on the council at the 2023 election. Prior to 2023 the Conservatives had held a majority of the seats since 2003.

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows: [11] [12]

Party in controlYears
Labour 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1995
Labour 1995–1999
No overall control 1999–2003
Conservative 2003–2023
Liberal Democrats 2023–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Dacorum. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1995 have been:

Julia Coleman [13] Labour 19951999
Andrew Williams Conservative 199917 May 2023
Ron Tindall Liberal Democrats 17 May 2023


Following the 2023 election, the composition of the council was: [14]

Liberal Democrats 28
Conservative 18
Labour 3
Independent 2

The next election is due in 2027.


The council is based at The Forum on Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead. From the council's creation in 1974 until 2017, the council was based at Dacorum Civic Centre, also on Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead. That building had previously been called Hemel Hempstead Town Hall, having been built for Hemel Hempstead Borough Council in 1966 to replace the Old Town Hall on High Street. On 16 January 2017 the council opened its new headquarters at The Forum, on the corner of Marlowes and Combe Street, immediately south of the Civic Centre, which was demolished shortly afterwards. [15]


Since the last boundary changes in 2007 the council has comprised 51 councillors, representing 25 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. The whole council is elected together every four years. [16]


The borough's wards are: [16]


Hemel Hempstead is an unparished area. The rest of the borough is divided into 16 civil parishes, with Berkhamsted and Tring parish councils taking the style "town council". The civil parishes are: [17]


Coat of arms of Dacorum
Dacorum Coat of Arms.svg
Granted 21 January 1992.
A sprig of seven oak leaves Proper and acorns Or inflected to the sinister out of a mural crown Or.
Or seven oak leaves stalks inward Vert radiating from a Tudor rose Proper.
Two stags in trian aspect Proper attired and unguled Or gorged with a wreath Or and Gules ribbons flowing outward depending therefrom a bezant charged with oak leaves and a Tudor rose as in the Arms standing on a compartment Vert strewn with sprigs of oak leaves Proper and acorns Or. [18]

Town twinning

Two of the civil parishes in the borough also maintain their own separate twinning arrangements:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Berkhamsted is a historic market town in Hertfordshire, England, in the Bulbourne valley, 26 miles (42 km) north-west of London. The town is a civil parish with a town council within the borough of Dacorum which is based in the neighbouring large new town of Hemel Hempstead. Berkhamsted, along with the adjoining village of Northchurch, is encircled by countryside, much of it in the Chiltern Hills which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hemel Hempstead</span> Town in Hertfordshire, England

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Three Rivers is a local government district in south-west Hertfordshire, England. Its council is based in Rickmansworth. The district borders Hertsmere, Watford, St Albans, Dacorum, Buckinghamshire, and the London boroughs of Hillingdon and Harrow.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Little Gaddesden</span> Human settlement in England

Little Gaddesden is a village and civil parish in the borough of Dacorum, Hertfordshire 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Berkhamsted. As well as Little Gaddesden village, the parish contains the settlements of Ashridge, Hudnall, and part of Ringshall. The total population at the 2011 Census was 1,125. Little Gaddesden is an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and a conservation area protected by the National Trust.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dacorum Heritage Trust</span> English history advocacy group

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Danais (hundred)</span>

DanaisHundred was a judicial and taxation subdivision of Hertfordshire, in the west of the county, that existed from the 10th to the 19th century. It gave its name to the modern local government district of Dacorum, established in 1974, which covers a similar area. Danais was Latinised to Dacorum in 1196. The name Danais means the Hundred of the Danes and refers to its incorporation into the Danelaw for a period in the tenth century.

Tring was a hundred occupying an area now compromised by Dacorum, Hertfordshire. Tring hundred was absorbed by Dacorum in the 16th century.


  1. Dacorum literally means "of the Dacians", a term which was used in the Middle Ages for the Danes based on a legend (now dismissed as erroneous) that certain tribes from Dacia in south-eastern Europe had migrated to Denmark in the distant past.
  1. "Census 2021 Data".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Latin Dictionary, accessed 10 August 2022
  3. Williamson, Tom (2010). The Origins of Hertfordshire. Hatfield: Hertfordshire Publications. pp. 106, 226. ISBN   978 1 905313 95 2.
  4. Riot (Damages) Act 1886 (49 & 50 Vict. c. 38), s.2
  5. "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk , The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 12 May 2023
  6. "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk , The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 12 May 2023
  7. "About Dacorum". Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  8. "Council meeting, 17 May 2023". Dacorum Borough Council.
  9. Patel, Holly (6 August 2020). "Dacorum Borough Council appoints new chief executive". Hemel Today. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  10. "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk , The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 3 March 2023
  11. "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  12. "Dacorum". BBC Online . Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  13. "Tributes paid to former Hemel Hempstead Mayor Les Taber". Hemel Today. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2023. Julia Coleman was the leader of Dacorum Borough Council from 1995 to 1999...
  14. "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  15. "New £15m home for Dacorum Borough Council and library officially opens in Hemel Hempstead". Hemel Today. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  16. 1 2 "The Borough of Dacorum (Electoral Changes) Order 2007", legislation.gov.uk , The National Archives, SI 2007/139, retrieved 17 May 2023
  17. "Community connections". Dacorum Borough Council. Retrieved 17 May 2023.
  18. "East of England Region". Civic Heraldry of England. Retrieved 8 March 2021.