Wessex Businesses 2020

In the early days of the Society, we did a count of the number of businesses with Wessex in their name within Wessex, and in the UK as a whole. This data was published in The Case For Wessex, a 2002 statement by the now-defunct Wessex Constitutional Convention, and showed that there were 431 "Wessex" businesses in the UK, 392 of which were in Wessex.

Widespread access to the internet was still in its infancy back then, and we were forced to consult the Phone Book CD in Bristol Central Library for this information. Fortunately, there are a number of websites performing the same function nowadays. The one I used for this survey was Thomson Local, as it seemed by far the most comprehensive. A search reveals that there are 2597 "Wessex" businesses in the UK, of which the ones within Wessex are broken down by ceremonial county below:

Berkshire15
Bristol43
Devon29
Dorset162
Gloucestershire25
Hampshire222
Isle of Wight7
Oxfordshire43
Somerset115
Wiltshire85
Total746

This suggests that in the nearly two decades since we last carried out this survey, the use of Wessex in business names has grown exponentially, but the proportion of those businesses located within Wessex has shrunk enormously. Could the Wessex movement, in promoting awareness of the name of our region, be a victim of its own success, uprooting that name from its connection to a specific region?

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