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The stable political situation in Britain from around following the Glorious Revolution , in contrast to other European countries where absolute monarchy remained the typical form of government, can be said to be a factor in favouring Britain as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.


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Britain also had high quality coal. Historian Jeremy Black states, "an unprecedented explosion of new ideas, and new technological inventions, transformed our use of energy, creating an increasingly industrial and urbanised country. Roads, railways and canals were built. Great cities appeared. Scores of factories and mills sprang up. Our landscape would never be the same again. It was a revolution that transformed not only the country, but the world itself. Pottery manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the Industrial Revolution.

Meeting the demands of the consumer revolution and growth in wealth of the middle classes that helped drive the Industrial Revolution in Britain, Wedgwood created goods such as soft-paste porcelain tableware bone china , which was starting to become a common feature on dining tables. With his role in the marketing and manufacturing of James Watt 's steam engine, and invention of modern coinage , Matthew Boulton is regarded as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in history. Selling Welsh flannel , he created mail order catalogues, with customers able order by mail for the first time, and the goods were delivered by railway.

The UK has had a long history of car making. In addition to the company's reputation for superior engineering quality in its cars, Rolls-Royce Limited was known for manufacturing the high-powered "R" engines, including the iconic Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine which was used for many World War II aircraft. Bentley in in Cricklewood , North London, and, like Rolls Royce, is regarded as a British luxury automobile icon.

Aston Martin was founded in by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford , and became associated with luxury grand touring cars in the s and s, and with the fictional British spy James Bond. Jaguar was founded in The Jaguar E-Type sports car was released in ; Enzo Ferrari called it "the most beautiful car ever made". The Land Rover launched in and specialises in four-wheel-drive.

The Mini was released by the British Motor Corporation in and became a s cultural icon. The performance versions, the Mini Cooper, was a successful rally car. It has been named Britain's favourite car in a poll. The United Kingdom was created as an Anglican Christian country, and Anglican churches remain the largest faith group in each country of the UK except Scotland, where Anglicanism is a small minority. William Tyndale 's s translation of the Bible was the first to be printed in English, and was a model for subsequent English translations, notably the King James Version in The Book of Common Prayer of was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English, and the marriage and burial rites have found their way into those of other denominations and into the English language.

In 17th-century England, the Puritans condemned the celebration of Christmas. The calendar reform became a major point of tension between the Anglicans and Puritans. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old-style Christmas generosity. Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities; and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. Following the Restoration, Poor Robins Almanack contained the lines:.

The diary of James Woodforde, from the latter half of the 18th century, details Christmas observance and celebrations associated with the season over a number of years. In the early 19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration. In , Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol that helped revive the "spirit" of Christmas and seasonal merriment. Dickens repeats the phrase at the end of the story; symbolic of Scrooge's change of heart.

In the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Henry Cole , leading to the exchange of festive greeting cards among the public. The movement coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism , which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances. In , the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights , ornaments , and presents placed round it. The oldest and largest youth charity in the world, its aim is to support young people to belong, contribute and thrive in their communities.

It seeks to bring salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry. The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world — a legacy of the British Empire.

East Is East

It is the ultimate legislative authority in the United Kingdom: the devolved parliaments and assemblies in Scotland , Northern Ireland and Wales are not sovereign bodies and could be abolished by the UK Parliament, despite each being established following public approval as expressed in a referendum. The UK's two major political parties are the Labour Party and the Conservative Party , who between them won out of seats in the House of Commons at the most recent general election. The Scottish National Party Scotland only lost 21 of their seats in the House of Commons from the previous election; they remained the third-largest party by seats held, despite the Liberal Democrats making gains.

The United Kingdom has an uncodified constitution , the Constitution of the United Kingdom , consisting mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes , judge-made case law , and international treaties. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law," the UK Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution. However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.

British constitutional documents include Magna Carta foundation of the "great writ" Habeas corpus — safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action , the Bill of Rights one provision granting freedom of speech in Parliament , Petition of Right , Habeas Corpus Act and Parliament Acts and A separate but similar document, the Claim of Right Act , applies in Scotland. Jurist Albert Venn Dicey wrote that the British Habeas Corpus Acts "declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty".

In Scotland the percentage is higher due to Scotland having a lower population as well having juries made up of fifteen people as opposed to twelve in England and Wales. The 17th-century English patriot John Hampden was a leading parliamentarian involved in challenging the authority of Charles I when he refused to be taxed for ship money in , and was one of the Five Members whose attempted unconstitutional arrest by the King in the House of Commons in sparked the English Civil War. The wars established the constitutional rights of parliament, a concept legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution in and the subsequent Bill of Rights Since that time, no British monarch has entered the House of Commons when it is sitting.

Other important British political figures include Sir Edward Coke , 17th-century jurist; the legal directive that nobody may enter a home, which in the 17th-century would typically have been male owned, unless by the owners invitation or consent, was established as common law in Coke's Institutes of the Lawes of England.

An influential thinker in the history of liberalism , 19th century philosopher, political economist and politician John Stuart Mill justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. A member of the Liberal Party , he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage. Robert Walpole is generally regarded as the first British Prime Minister — She became known as the " Iron Lady ", a term coined by a Soviet journalist for her uncompromising politics and leadership style.

English poet William Cowper wrote in , "We have no slaves at home — Then why abroad? Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs receive our air, that moment they are free, They touch our country, and their shackles fall. That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud. And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then, And let it circulate through every vein. The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement or service to the United Kingdom.

Candidates are identified by public or private bodies or by government departments or are nominated by members of the public. Nominations are reviewed by honours committees , made up of government officials and private citizens from different fields, who meet twice a year to discuss the candidates and make recommendations for appropriate honours to be awarded by the Queen. Historically a knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors.

By the Late Middle Ages , the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry , a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Since the early modern period , the title of knight is purely honorific, usually bestowed by a monarch, often for non-military service to the country. The modern female equivalent in the UK is damehood. The ceremony often takes place at Buckingham Palace , and family members are invited to attend. A few examples of knights are Sir Nicholas Winton : for "services to humanity, in saving Jewish children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia", [] Sir Elton John : for "services to music and charitable services", Sir Ridley Scott : for "services to the British film industry", [] and Sir Richard Branson : for "services to entrepreneurship".

The suffix " shire " is attached to most of the names of English, Scottish and Welsh counties. Shire is a term for a division of land first used in England during the Anglo-Saxon period. This suffix tends not to be found in the names of counties that were pre-existing divisions.

Essex , Kent , and Sussex , for example, have never borne a -shire , as each represents a former Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Similarly Cornwall was a British kingdom before it became an English county. The term "shire" is also not used in the names of the six traditional counties of Northern Ireland. The use of the British imperial system of measure , particularly among the public, is widespread in the United Kingdom and is in many cases permitted by the law.

An example of giving one's body weight would be: 11 and a half stone , or 11 stone and 7 pounds. Distances shown on road signs must be in yards and miles , while miles per hour appear on speed limit signs and car speedometers. Drivers in Britain drive on the left. Research shows that countries driving on the left have a lower collision rate than those that drive on the right, and it has been suggested that this is partly because the predominantly better-performing right eye is used to monitor oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror.

On being shown a design he is said to have remarked that it resembled a zebra. In , the Green Cross Code was introduced to teach children safer road crossing habits. From , Mungo Jerry 's song " In the Summertime " featured in drink driving adverts. The building of roundabouts circular junctions grew rapidly in the s; there are now more than 10, in the UK [] The Cat's eye retroreflective safety device used in road marking was invented by Percy Shaw in British cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with the United Kingdom.

Historically, British cuisine meant "unfussy dishes made with quality local ingredients, matched with simple sauces to accentuate flavour, rather than disguise it". Anglo-Saxon England developed meat and savoury herb stewing techniques before the practice became common in Europe. Each country within the United Kingdom has its own specialities. Traditional examples of English cuisine include the Sunday roast ; featuring a roasted joint , usually roast beef a signature English national dish dating back to the ballad " The Roast Beef of Old England " , lamb or chicken, served with assorted boiled vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.

The full English breakfast consists of bacon , grilled tomatoes, fried bread, baked beans , fried mushrooms , sausages and eggs.

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Black pudding and hash browns are often also included. It is usually served with tea or coffee. Fish and chips are also regarded as a national institution: Winston Churchill called them "the good companions", John Lennon smothered them in tomato ketchup, while George Orwell referred to them as a "chief comfort" of the working class. The last of these is consumed cold.

A quintessential British custom, afternoon tea , is a small meal typically eaten between 4 pm and 6 pm. The most popular drink in Britain, tea became more widely drunk due to Catherine of Braganza. It is traditionally accompanied with biscuits , sandwiches , scones , cakes or pastries such as Battenberg cake , fruit cake or Victoria sponge. The first English recipe for ice cream was published in Mrs.

Mary Eales's Receipts in London in , and arguably the earliest reference to an edible ice cream cone , "cornet with cream", appears in Agnes Marshall 's cookbook. When he ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread, others began to order "the same as Sandwich! White's Lemonade sold in Irn-Bru is the best-selling domestic soft drink. Sausages are commonly eaten as bangers and mash , in sausage rolls or as toad in the hole. Lancashire hotpot is a well-known stew. Popular cheeses include Cheddar and Wensleydale.

Sweet British dishes include scones, apple pie , mince pies , spotted dick , Eccles cakes , pancakes , sponge cake , trifle , jelly , custard , sticky toffee pudding , Tunnock's teacake , and Jaffa cakes ; the best-selling cake in the UK. Marmalade is a popular British spread for toast or sandwich: a spread famous for its association with Paddington Bear , a beloved bear in UK culture that featured in the critically acclaimed films Paddington and Paddington 2 Home baking has always been a significant part of British home cooking.

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Influential cookbooks include The Experienced English Housekeeper , Modern Cookery for Private Families by food author Eliza Acton that introduced the now-universal practice of listing ingredients and giving suggested cooking times for each recipe, and Isabella Beeton 's Book of Household Management A popular cake to bake, Victoria sponge named after Queen Victoria who enjoyed a slice with her tea , was created following the discovery of baking powder by English food manufacturer Alfred Bird in , which enabled the sponge to rise higher in cakes.

The hot cross bun is a popular British sweet bun traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but are now eaten all year round. With its logo and green-and-gold packaging having remained almost unchanged since then, Lyle's Golden Syrup was listed by Guinness World Records as having the world's oldest branding and packaging. Brown sauce is a traditional British condiment, with its best known variety HP Sauce named after and featuring an image of the Houses of Parliament on the label a popular spread on chicken and Bacon sandwiches. Scotland's Angus cattle is the UK's most popular native beef breed.

The pub is an important aspect of British culture, and is often the focal point of local communities. Referred to as their "local" by regulars, pubs are typically chosen for their proximity to home or work, the availability of a particular beer or ale or a good selection, good food, a social atmosphere, the presence of friends and acquaintances, and the availability of pub games such as darts or snooker. The pub quiz was established in the UK in the s. In , Richard II introduced a law that pubs had to display a sign outdoors to make them easily visible for passing ale tasters who would assess the quality of ale sold.

The owner or tenant licensee is known as the pub landlord or publican, while barmaids are a common feature in pubs. Alcoholic drinks served in pubs include wines and English beers such as bitter , mild , stout , and brown ale. On Christmas Day, goose was previously served at dinner ; however since appearing on Christmas tables in England in the late 16th century, the turkey has become more popular, with Christmas pudding served for dessert.

Invented in London in the s, Christmas crackers are an integral part of Christmas celebrations, often pulled before or after dinner, or at parties. Chinese restaurants and takeaways in addition to Indian are among the most popular ethnic food in the UK. The Quakers , founded by George Fox in s England and described by the BBC as "natural capitalists", had a virtual monopoly in the British chocolate industry for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, led by Cadbury of Birmingham, Fry's of Bristol and Rowntree's and Terry's of York.

Created in Doncaster, Yorkshire, Butterscotch boiled sweets is one of the town's best known exports. After Eights are a popular after dinner mint. A stick of rock a hard cylindrical stick-shaped boiled sugar is a traditional British seaside sweet, commonly sold at seaside resorts throughout the UK such as Brighton , Portrush and Blackpool. A " 99 Flake " commonly called a "99" which consists of ice cream in a cone with a Cadbury Flake inserted in it, is a hugely popular British dessert. Most of the major sports have separate administrative structures and national teams for each of the countries of the United Kingdom.

With the rules and codes of many modern sports invented and codified in late 19th-century Victorian Britain , in , IOC President Jacques Rogge stated; "This great, sports-loving country is widely recognized as the birthplace of modern sport. It was here that the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play were first codified into clear rules and regulations. It was here that sport was included as an educational tool in the school curriculum".

Both in participation and viewing, the most popular sport in the UK is association football. The rules were first drafted in England in by Ebenezer Cobb Morley , and the UK has the oldest football clubs in the world. The top three Welsh football clubs feature in the English league system. The first international football match was between Scotland and England in The first recipient of the Ballon d'Or , Stanley Matthews was knighted while still a player.

Scotland's Celtic and Rangers also have a global fanbase. Leicester City 's Premier League title win is regarded among the greatest sporting upsets ever. Early references to dribbling come from accounts of medieval football games in England. Geoffrey Chaucer offered an allusion to such ball skills in 14th-century England. In The Knight's Tale from the Canterbury Tales he uses the following line: "rolleth under foot as doth a ball". Football in Britain is renowned for the intense rivalries between clubs and the passion of the supporters, which includes a tradition of football chants , which are one of the last remaining sources of an oral folk song tradition in the UK.

The purchase of a football programme a pre-match magazine produced by the home team that gives details on that days game, including player profiles, recent form, interviews etc. The Football Association dropped its ban on floodlights in , and night games attracted increasingly large crowds of fans—some of them unruly—as well as large television audiences. The modern game of golf originated in Scotland, with the Fife town of St Andrews known internationally as the " home of golf ". In , rugby union was created when the first rules were written by pupils at Rugby School , Warwickshire.

The first rugby international took place on 27 March , played between England and Scotland. In , the Home Nations combined to form what is today called the British and Irish Lions , who now tour every four years to face a Southern Hemisphere team. The Wales team of the s, which included a backline consisting of Gareth Edwards , J.

Williams and Phil Bennett who were known for their feints, sidesteps and attacking running rugby, are regarded as one of the greatest teams in the game — all three players were involved in The greatest try ever scored in Jonny Wilkinson scored the winning drop goal for England in the last minute of extra time in the Rugby World Cup Final.

In , rugby league was created in Huddersfield , West Riding of Yorkshire , as the result of a split with the other Rugby code. The Super League is the sports top-level club competition in Britain, and the sport is especially popular in towns in the northern English counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. The Challenge Cup is the major rugby league cup competition. The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England in the s, and after its creation, tennis spread throughout the upper-class English-speaking population, before spreading around the world.

The tournament itself has a major place in the British cultural calendar. The eight-time Slam winner and Britain's most successful player Fred Perry is one of only seven men in history to have won all four Grand Slam events, which included three Wimbledons. The 'Queensberry rules' , the code of general rules in boxing , was named after John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry in , that formed the basis of modern boxing.

The s saw the emergence of heavyweight Frank Bruno who would become hugely popular with the British public. In the s, Chris Eubank , Nigel Benn , Steve Collins and Michael Watson had a series of fights against each other in the super-middleweight division, drawing audiences of up to 20 million in the UK. The Nigel Benn vs. Gerald McClellan fight in drew 13 million. The modern game of cricket was created in England in the s when round arm bowling was legalised, followed by the historical legalisation of overarm bowling in Influential to the development of the sport, W.

Grace is regarded as one of the greatest cricket players, devising most of the techniques of modern batting. The rivalry between England and Australia gave birth to The Ashes in that has remained Test cricket's most famous contest, and takes place every two years to high television viewing figures. The County Championship is the domestic competition in England and Wales. Originating in 17th and 18th-century England, the Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing.

Horse racing was popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings. The name " Derby " has since become synonymous with great races all over the world, and as such has been borrowed many times in races abroad. It is the most watched horse race in the UK, attracting casual observers, and three-time winner Red Rum is the most successful racehorse in the event's history. Bolton company J. The most successful male rower in Olympic history, Steve Redgrave won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games.

Cycling is a popular physical activity in the UK. In , inventor Frank Bowden founded the Raleigh Bicycle Company , and by , Raleigh was the biggest bicycle manufacturing company in the world. The Raleigh Chopper was named in the list of British design icons. Chris Froome has subsequently won the Tour de France four times , , and Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas won in Sprint specialist Mark Cavendish has won thirty Tour de France stages, putting him second on the all-time list.

In Ice Dance , many of the compulsory moves were developed by dancers from the UK in the s. The pair received perfect 6. Eddie was portrayed by Taron Egerton in the biographical sports comedy-drama film Eddie the Eagle. A great number of major sports originated in the United Kingdom, including association football, golf, tennis, boxing , rugby league , rugby union , cricket , field hockey , snooker , darts , billiards , squash , curling and badminton, all of which are popular in Britain.

Another sport invented in the UK was baseball, [] and its early form rounders is popular among children in Britain. Participation in women's team sport in addition to profile in the media has seen a rapid increase in recent years. The Highland games are held throughout the year in Scotland as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands , with more than 60 games taking place across the country every year.

The public also votes for the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year , presented to a non-British sportsperson considered to have made the most substantial contribution to a sport each year which has also captured the imagination of the British public. All of the services were founded in , based on legislation passed by the Labour Government that had been elected in with a manifesto commitment to implement the Beveridge Report recommendation to create "comprehensive health and rehabilitation services for prevention and cure of disease".

The NHS was born out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. At its launch by the then minister of health, Aneurin Bevan , on 5 July , it had at its heart three core principles: That it meet the needs of everyone, that it be free at the point of delivery, and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay. Florence Nightingale laid the foundation of modern nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London.

It was the first secular nursing school in the world , now part of King's College London. Nightingale wrote Notes on Nursing in The book served as the cornerstone of the curriculum at the Nightingale School and other nursing schools. Her social reforms improved healthcare for all sections of society in the UK and around the world. The top five pets in the UK for , starting with the most numerous, are: []. The breed's broad cheeks and relatively calm temperament make it a frequent media star. The Kennel Club , with its headquarters in London, is the oldest kennel club in the world, and acts as a lobby group on issues involving dogs in the UK.

Its main objectives are to promote the general improvement of dogs and responsible dog ownership. The event takes place over four days in early March.


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  7. As a multi-national state , the UK has no single national costume. However, different countries within the United Kingdom have national costumes or at least are associated with styles of dress. Scotland has the kilt and Tam o'shanter , and tartan clothing — its pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours — is a notable aspect of Gaelic culture. In England, the topic of a national costume has been in debate, since no officially recognized clothing is anointed "national".

    However, the closest to a national costume can be the smock or smock-frock. English Country Clothing is also very popular among rural folk, flat caps and brogue shoes also forming part of the country clothing. Certain military uniforms such as the Beefeater or the Queen's Guard are considered to be symbolic of Englishness. Morris dancers or the costumes for the traditional English May dance are sometimes cited as examples of traditional English costume, but are only worn by participants in those events.

    Designed in by the London hat-makers Thomas and William Bowler, the Bowler hat is arguably the most iconic stereotyped view of an Englishman complete with Bowler and rolled umbrella , and was commonly associated with City of London businessmen. Traced back to the north of England in the 14th century, the flat cap is associated with the working classes in the UK. Burberry is most famous for creating the trench coat : they were worn by British soldiers in the trenches in World War I. Martens boots often referred to as DMs have been the choice of footwear: in the s skinheads started to wear them, and they later became popular among scooter riders, punks , and some new wave musicians.

    Male mods adopted a sophisticated look that included tailor-made suits, thin ties, button-down collar shirts, Chelsea boots and Clarks desert boots. British sensibilities have played an influential role in world clothing since the 18th century. Particularly during the Victorian era , British fashions defined acceptable dress for men of business. Brummell is credited with introducing and establishing as fashion the modern man's suit, worn with a tie.

    The tradition of a white wedding is commonly credited to Queen Victoria 's choice to wear a white wedding dress at her wedding to Prince Albert in , at a time when white was associated with purity and conspicuous consumption because it was difficult to keep clean, and thus could not be worn by servants or labourers , and when it was the colour required of girls being presented to the royal court.

    London, as one of the world's four fashion capitals, is host to the London Fashion Week — one of the 'Big Four' fashion weeks. The current venue for most of the "on-schedule" events is Somerset House in central London , where a large marquee in the central courtyard hosts a series of catwalk shows by top designers and fashion houses, while an exhibition, housed within Somerset House itself, showcases over designers. However, many "off-schedule" events, such as On Off and Vauxhall Fashion Scout, are organised independently and take place at other venues in central London. For almost two decades, Princess Diana was a fashion icon whose style was emulated by women around the world.

    Fashion designer Mary Quant was at the heart of the " Swinging London " scene of the s, and her work culminated in the creation of the miniskirt and hot pants. The United Kingdom as a whole has a number of national symbols, as do its constituent nations. The Union Flag is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The first flag combined the cross of St George with the saltire of Saint Andrew to represent the Union of the Crowns in St Patrick's saltire was added when the Kindom of Ireland was unified with Great Britain in , and retained to represent Northern Ireland after partition in England occupies the first and fourth quarters of the arms except in Scotland, when its arms take precedence.

    Britannia is the national personification of the UK, while John Bull is a personification used in satirical contexts, and the national animals are the lion and the bulldog. The UK does not have a floral emblem, but each nation does. The Tudor rose represents England, a thistle Scotland, the flax flower and shamrock Northern Ireland, and the leek and daffodil Wales.

    The rose, shamrock and thistle are engrafted on the same stem on the coat of arms of the United Kingdom. Another major floral symbol is the remembrance poppy , which has been worn in Britain since to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. In the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday they are distributed by The Royal British Legion in return for donations to their "Poppy Appeal", which supports all current and former British military personnel.

    A familiar sight throughout the UK, the red telephone box and Royal Mail red post box are considered British cultural icons. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert in , the red telephone box features a prominent crown representing the British government. The post pillar box was introduced in the s during the reign of Queen Victoria following Sir Rowland Hill 's postal reforms in the s where the reduction in postal rates with the invention of the postage stamp Penny Black made sending post an affordable means of personal communication.

    The world's first postcard was received by Theodore Hook from Fulham , London in The sending and receiving of greeting cards is an established tradition in the UK, with card sending or card display in the home being an important part of British culture. Sir Henry Cole devised the concept of sending greetings cards at Christmas time. It is relatively tame and drawn to human activities, and is frequently voted Britain's national bird in polls. The association with Christmas arises from postmen in Victorian Britain who wore red jackets and were nicknamed "Robins"; the robin featured on the Christmas card is an emblem of the postman delivering the card.

    Sending Valentine's Day cards became hugely popular in Britain in the late 18th century, a practice which has since spread to other nations. When euery bryd comets there to chese his make. Thou art my love and I am thine. I drew thee to my Valentine. In , a British publisher issued The Young Man's Valentine Writer which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own.

    In , 60, Valentine cards were sent by post in the UK, despite postage being expensive. Each country of the United Kingdom has a separate education system. Power over education matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is devolved but education in England is dealt with by the UK government since there is no devolved administration for England. Most schools came under state control in the Victorian era ; a formal state school system was instituted after the Second World War.

    Initially, schools were categorised as infant schools , primary schools and secondary schools split into more academic grammar schools and more vocational secondary modern schools. Under the Labour governments of the s and s most secondary modern and grammar schools were combined to become comprehensive schools. England has many independent fee-paying schools, some founded hundreds of years ago; independent secondary schools are known as public schools. Eton , Harrow , Shrewsbury and Rugby are four of the best-known.

    Most primary and secondary schools in both the private and state sectors have compulsory school uniforms. Allowances are almost invariably made, however, to accommodate religious dress , including the Islamic hijab and Sikh bangle kara. Although the Minister of Education is responsible to Parliament for education, the day-to-day administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local education authorities.

    England's universities include some of the highest-ranked universities in the world: the University of Cambridge , Imperial College London , the University of Oxford and University College London are all ranked in the global top 10 in the QS World University Rankings.

    The London School of Economics has been described as the world's leading social science institution for both teaching and research. Schools are administered by five Education and Library Boards covering different geographical areas. Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education which, traditionally, has emphasised breadth across a range of subjects rather than depth of education in a smaller range of subjects.

    The majority of schools are non-denominational , but by law separate Roman Catholic schools, with an element of control by the Roman Catholic Church, are provided by the state system. Qualifications at the secondary school and post-secondary further education levels are provided by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and delivered through various schools, colleges and other centres. State schools are owned and operated by the local authorities which act as Education Authorities , and the compulsory phase is divided into primary school and secondary school often called high school , with the world's oldest high school being the Royal High School , Edinburgh in , [] which colonists spread to the New World owing to the high prestige enjoyed by the Scottish educational system.

    First degree courses at Scottish universities are often a year longer than elsewhere in the UK, though sometimes students can take a more advanced entrance exam and join the courses in the second year. One unique aspect is that the ancient universities of Scotland award a Master of Arts degree as the first degree in humanities. It is also among the Ancient Universities of Great Britain.

    The National Assembly for Wales has responsibility for education in Wales. A significant number of students in Wales are educated either wholly or largely through the medium of the Welsh language, and lessons in the language are compulsory for all until the age of There are plans to increase the provision of Welsh medium education as part of the policy of promoting a fully bilingual Wales. Scouting is the largest co-educational youth movement in the UK.

    The Americans’ and Asians’ Ideas about Each Other in T.C. Boyle’s “East is East”

    In , scouting in the UK experienced its biggest growth since , taking total membership to almost , The UK England in particular has one of the highest population densities in the world. Thus terraced houses are widespread, dating back to the aftermath of the Great Fire of London. As the first industrialised country in the world, the UK has long been urbanised.

    1 Introduction

    After the Second World War, public housing was dramatically expanded to create a large number of council estates. There are many historic country houses and stately homes in rural areas, though only a minority of these are still used as private living accommodation. In recent times, more detached housing has started to be built. Also, city living has boomed, with city centre populations rising rapidly. Most of this population growth has been accommodated in new apartment blocks in residential schemes in many towns and cities. Demographic changes see below are putting great pressure on the housing market, especially in London and the South East.

    Historically most people in the United Kingdom lived either in conjugal extended families or nuclear families. This reflected an economic landscape where the general populace tended to have less spending power, meaning that it was more practical to stick together rather than go their individual ways. This pattern also reflected gender roles. Men were expected to go out to work and women were expected to stay at home and look after the families. In the 20th century the emancipation of women , the greater freedoms enjoyed by both men and women in the years following the Second World War , greater affluence and easier divorce have changed gender roles and living arrangements significantly.

    The general trend is a rise in single people living alone, the virtual extinction of the extended family outside certain ethnic minority communities , and the nuclear family arguably reducing in prominence. From the s, the break-up of the traditional family unit, when combined with low interest rates and other demographic changes, has created great pressure on the housing market, in particular on accommodation for " key workers " such as nurses, other emergency service workers and teachers, who are priced out of most housing, especially in the South East.

    Some research indicates that in the 21st century young people are tending to continue to live in the parental home for much longer than their predecessors. When Brits were asked to rate their happiness yesterday on a scale of 1 to 10 in , respondents mean answer was 7. Northern Irish respondents were ranked the happiest of the United Kingdom with a mean of 7. They complained that pressure from exams and social media put them under stress. Young women and girls are socialising less in person and spending more time online though social relationships lead to contentment.

    Many young women and girls feel unsafe walking alone, over half aged from 13 to 21 have experienced harassment or know someone who has, almost half feel unsafe using public transport.