England is associated with some significant symbols.
First and the most important is its flag which shows Saint George’s cross. The cross is red and placed on white background. The cross has its roots in medieval times when Saint George became a patron of England. It is said that Saint George was a high ranking officer in the Roman army. It is thought that he was tortured to deny his faith in Christ but he showed great courage and faith not to do it.
Another symbol tightly connected with England is The Three Lions Emblem which shows three golden lions on a red background. The symbol was used for the first time in 11th century but there was only one golden lion. A hundred years later king Richard the Lionheart added further two lions as a powerful symbol of the English Throne during the time of the Crusades.
The red rose is the national flower of England. The origins of the flower come from the time of civil wars (1455-1485) also called the Wars of the Roses when two royal houses were fighting. The red rose was an emblem of the royal house of Lancaster while a white rose was a symbol of the royal house of York.v
The oak, which constitutes a floral symbol of England, was chosen after King Charles II hid in and oak tree to be saved from parliamentarians. He managed to avoid detection. Since then the oak is said to represent strength and endurance. The Major Oak is an 800-1000 year old tree in Sherwood Forest.
England consists of 47 ceremonial counties
Tyne and Wear
East Riding of Yorkshire
Isle of Wight
John Bull is a national personification of Britain in general and England in particular, especially in political cartoons and similar graphic works. He is usually depicted as a stout, middle-aged, country dwelling, jolly, man. John Bull originated in the creation of Dr John Arbuthnot in 1712, and was popularised first by British print makers. Arbuthnot created Bull in his pamphlet „Law is a Bottomless Pit” (1712)”. Originally derided, William Hogarth and other British writers made Bull “a heroic archetype of the freeborn Englishman”. Later, the figure of Bull was disseminated overseas by illustrators and writers such as American cartoonist Thomas Nast and Irish writer George Bernard Shaw, author of “John Bull’s Other Island”.
Starting in the 1760s, Bull was portrayed as an Anglo-Saxon country dweller. He is almost always depicted in a buff-coloured waistcoat and a simple frock coat (in the past Navy blue, but more recently with the Union Jack colours). Britannia, or a lion, is sometimes used as an alternative in some editorial cartoons.
As a literary figure, John Bull is well-intentioned, frustrated, full of common sense, and entirely of native country stock. Unlike Uncle Sam later, he is not a figure of authority but rather a yeoman who prefers his small beer and domestic peace, possessed of neither patriarchal power nor heroic defiance. Arbuthnot provided him with a sister named Peg (Scotland), and a traditional adversary in Louis Baboon (the House of Bourbon in France). Peg continued in pictorial art beyond the 18th century, but the other figures associated with the original tableau dropped away.
Britannia is an ancient term for Great Britain, and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanikeor or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain. However, by the 1st century BC Britannia came to be used for Great Britain specifically. In AD 43 the Roman Empire began its conquest of the island, establishing a province they called Britannia, which came to encompass the parts of the island south of Caledonia (roughly Scotland). The native Celtic inhabitants of the province are known as the Britons. In the 2nd century Roman Britannia came to be personified as a goddess, armed with a trident and shield and wearing a centurion’s helmet.
The capital of England is London. Its population is about 7,5 millions.
Inner London is the name for the group of London boroughs which form the interior part of Greater London and are surrounded by Outer London. The terms Inner London and Central London cannot be used interchangeably to mean the same area. Inner London is officially the richest area in Europe with the most expensive street in Europe. It contains Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Westminster.
Outer London is the name for the group of London Boroughs that form a ring around Inner London. It includes Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton, Waltham Forest.
Left: Inner London, right: Outer London
Kent is a county in South East England, and one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. Kent has a nominal border with France halfway through the Channel Tunnel. Because of its abundance of orchards and hop gardens, Kent is widely known as “The Garden of England”– a name often applied when marketing the county or its produce, although other regions have tried to lay claim to the title. Kent’s location between London and the continental Europe has led to its being in the front line of several conflicts, including the Battle of Britain during World War II.
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall is the traditional homeland of the Cornish people and is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. Historically tin mining was important in the Cornish economy, becoming significant during the Middle Ages and expanding greatly during the 19th century when rich copper mines were also in production.
The Lake District, also commonly known as The Lakes, and, often adjectivally, as Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous not only for its lakes and its mountains (or fells) but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets. It is the largest of the thirteen National Parks in England and Wales, and the second largest in the UK. It lies entirely within the modern county of Cumbria, shared historically by the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire. It contains the highest mountain and he deepest and longest lakes in England.
The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University or Oxford) is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096. Most undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly tutorials at self-governing colleges and halls, supported by classes, lectures and laboratory work organised by University faculties and departments.
Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
City of Westminster is located in the central part of the city of London. There is a number of historical landmarks and visitor attractions including Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. This borough was created in 1965. The name City of Westminster originate from Westminster Abbey, and live there about 250 thousand people. There will take place some of sport disciplines during Olympic Games 2012.
Just a short walk from the Thames, Westminster Abbey is a must-see and significant structure in British history. This beautiful gothic church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site popular with many visitors to London. Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day.The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.
The Palace of Westminster is also well-know English historic monument. Edward the Confessor (1042-1066) built a royal palace in the countryside outside the walls of London. Westminster Palace stopped being a royal residence after a fire in 1512. The Lords used to meet in Westminster Palace and after 1547 the Commons met there too. So it became the Houses of Parliament. In the late 17th century more streets were laid out and grand houses were built further north of the Thames. Pall Mall is named after a game called palle-maille, which was similar to croquet. King Charles II used to play it there. Today Westminster is also known for the Tate Gallery. Other attractions are the Cabinet War Rooms, which opened in 1984 and the Guards Museum.
Buckingham Palace is located in the City of Westminster and is known as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns. It has had this function since 1837 when Queen Victoria moved there.
However, the history of the building goes back to 1703 because it was initially built as a private townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham and known as Buckingham House then. Fifty-eight years later, Buckingham House was purchased by George III for his wife Queen Charlotte. It was meant to serve as a comfortable family home and therefore renovated, enlarged and transformed into a palace to meet the King’s requirements. Finally, in 1837 it was acquired by Queen Victoria as the official royal palace. Since then, it has been the sovereign’s official London residence. It has become one of the best known, best visited and most often photographed buildings in the world. Although it is used to host a number of Royal occasions, state entertainment and many official events, some areas of Buckingham Palace are opened to tourists on a regular basis.
10 Downing Street, colloquially known in the United Kingdom as “Number 10”, is the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, an office now invariably held by the Prime Minister.
Situated on Downing Street in the City of Westminster, London, Number 10 is one of the most famous addresses in the United Kingdom and the world. Almost three hundred years old, the building contains about one hundred rooms. There is a private residence on the third floor and a kitchen in the basement. The other floors contain offices and numerous conference, reception, sitting and dining rooms where the Prime Minister works, and where government ministers, national leaders and foreign dignitaries are met and entertained. There is an interior courtyard and, in the back, a terrace overlooking a garden of 0.5 acres (2,000 m2). Adjacent to St. James’s Park, Number 10 is near the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British Monarch.
Trafalgar Square is a tourist attraction in central London built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. It is in the borough of the City of Westminster. At its centre is Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year’s Eve. The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France. The original name was to have been “King William the Fourth’s Square”, but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name “Trafalgar Square”. The square was once famous for its feral pigeons, and feeding them was a popular activity.
Piccadilly Circus is a road junction and public space of London’s West End in the City of Westminster, built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly. In this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning “circle”, is a round open space at a street junction. The Circus is particularly known for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, as well as the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue of an archer popularly known as Eros.
Parks in London
Green Park Hyde Park St. James Park
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (born 30 November 1874 in Blenheim Palace, died 24 January 1965 in London) was a British Conservative politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century, he served as Prime Minister twice (1940–45 and 1951–55). A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States. Named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is widely regarded as being among the most influential persons in British history.
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
Margaret Thatcher (born 13 October 1925 in Grantham) is a British politician and the longest-serving (1979–1990) British prime minister of the 20th century, and the only woman ever to have held the post. A Soviet journalist nicknamed her the “Iron Lady”, which later became associated with her uncompromising policies. As prime minister, she implemented conservative policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism. After entering 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives. What is more in 1975 Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership.