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Libro Cultura Inglesa

1.1.1 Why is it called The United Kingdom?
The name United Kingdom refers to the union of four countries that were once
separated: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now
independent, only Northern Ireland remains part of the UK)
The United Kingdom is located in the north-west of the European continent
between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. It has a total land area of 244,100
square kilometers of which nearly 99% is land and the remainder inland water. It is
about 1,000 kilometers long from north to south.
If we take Mexico as a reference with its land area of 1,923,040 square
kilometers it can be said that Mexico is almost ten times bigger than the United
The UK´s full and official
name is the United
Kingdom of Great Britain
FIMEand Northern Ireland.
1.1.2 England
It is important to mention the fact
that England is the biggest country
in the United Kingdom and occupies
most of the southern two thirds of
Great Britain. The total area of
Eighty-four percent of the total population in the United Kingdom is concentrated
in England. The capital London, which is the house of the Royal family and also
seat of government, is also located in this country and at the same time all of Great
Britain has been ruled by the UK government in London since 1707.
Being the most important country of the United Kingdom, England is famous
around the world because of some different reasons, for example:
a) David Beckham, Manchester United soccer team, in fact soccer and rugby
are the most popular sports in this territory. Fish and Chips, the Big Ben, the Red
Buses, the black cabs, Oasis, Blur, the Beatles, the telephone boxes, London city
and tea.
b) Its long history, its Royal Family, The Castles and Historic houses. For
example, Windsor Castle is the oldest royal residence still in use.
c) Its educational institutes. It has some of the most famous higher education
institutions of the world like Oxford, Cambridge and London universities.
d) For some of the greatest pop stars of the world – such as the Beatles, the
Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Queen, Phil Collins, the Spice Girls and Oasis.
e) For William Shakespeare who wrote classics like Hamlet, Othello, and
Romeo and Juliet.
f) Its green hills and fertile lowlands because it rains most of the year in the
United Kingdom.
g) Its pubs. (English pubs are a part of everyday life here. They're pretty much
a community gathering place. Many people go there to watch a football
game, play pool or just have a beer.)
h) The English language which is spoken by hundreds of millions of people
today around the world. English is the official language of the United
Kingdom and the first language of most of the population. Both Wales and
Scotland land have their own languages but English is spoken more in both
i) Wimbledon which is one of the most important Tennis tournaments in the
world and it is played by the most famous tennis players.
By mentioning the information above, anyone can imagine the importance of The
United Kingdom in the world in aspects such as economy, sports, society, music,
show business among others and it can be understood why many people are
interested in knowing about these countries by reading about them or visiting them.
1.1.3 Who are the British?
People who are from any country that belongs to the United Kingdom are called
British. Because they are born in a country with its own nationality, British people
can also either be English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish (from Northern Ireland only).
So a citizen that was born in Scotland can be known as Scottish or British.
The citizens from The United Kingdom are proud of their bases as a civilization
and their legacy, British history is vast and full of interesting aspects that can surely
be attractive for the visitors to the country and the people who want to learn about
it. In order to understand their daily life, their government system, their society and
the different situations that had let this nation become a great and powerful one, it
is necessary to know and study their roots as a civilization which started many
years ago. It is known that after the pass of some ancient groups and many wars
the United Kingdom developed its legacy. Some groups that established in its
territory in ancient times were the Romans, The Celts, the Anglo Saxons and the
1.2 Ancient Civilizations in United Kingdom
1.2.1 The Celts
The Celts were thought to come to Britain around 500 BC.
Although Stonehenge is often associated with the Celts it had
been built many centuries earlier. The Celts came originally from central Europe
and settled in Britain, France and Spain. The period of time in Britain immediately
before the Roman period is known as the Iron Age. The name 'Iron Age' comes
from the discovery of a new metal called iron and the Celts were able to find out
how to make iron tools and weapons. It is known that before the Iron Age the only
metal used in Britain to make tools was bronze.
Roman and Greek writers described Celts as fierce and warlike people. They
were originally ruled by kings, but by the time Julius Caesar came to Britain,
around 55 BC, they had broken up into many tribes, each with a different leader.
Both men and women could hold positions of power and a very famous and
important leader was Queen Boudicca (you will read about her later). In the
powerful Celtic society, they practiced some occupations such as priest, doctor,
and perhaps also lawyers.
The Celts were farmers and introduced the iron plough to Britain. When they
were in a battle, they used chariots and painted their bodies with a blue dye called
woad. Even though the Celts did not have a written form of their language before
the arrival of the Romans, they had a
strong oral
tradition of storytelling performed by
(poets or storytellers). It has been said
were very fond of drinking alcohol and
practiced human sacrifice and to cut off
and display
the heads or their enemies.
One of the most important
influences of the Celts during their
existence and after it was in art
and design. Jewelry with Celtic
designs is bought today by people
around the world, and Celtic
designs were also used in the Arts
and Crafts Movement at the end
of the 19thcentury in Europe. One
The word Celt comes from
the Greek word, Keltoi,
which means barbarians
and is properly
pronounced as “Kelt”.
of the most distinctive Celtic
designs, from the Christian period,
is the Celtic cross which is still
used for graves and memorials. It
has a circle added to the four bars
of cross and is often elaborately
carved. This cross has been
adapted as a representative
symbol by some people who are
from Ireland, a country that
belongs to the United Kingdom.
“Celtic languages are divided into two-categories, Q-Celtic, which includes Irish,
Scottish Gaelic and Manx, and P-Celtic including Welsh, Cornish, and Breton ( the
language of Brittany in France). Although Celtic languages are official languages
as well as English, they are no longer spoken by most people. Welsh is spoken by
about 20% of the population of Wales”. (Oxford British and American Culture,
Nowadays, Celtic culture is very much alive is some
aspects; a good example could be Celtic music because as
in other countries, music can be related to the culture. In
the Celtic music traditional instruments such as the
bagpipes are used. People that are easily related to this
tradition are people from Scotland because in their tradition
they wear plaid skirts when they play the bagpipes. The
concept ‘Celtic’ is often used to describe the people and
culture of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall, even in
the regions where Celtic languages are not spoken. An
importance point of reference about the Celtic culture could be summarized as the
use of the iron to produce tools, their preference to have wars and the bagpipes
which were used in their festivities to play music and dance.
1.2.2 The Romans in Britain
The Romans were the first group that invaded the United Kingdom about 2,000
years ago. Britain belonged to the Roman Empire for about 400 years and the
remains of the Roman influence in this place can still be seen in many places
today. They influenced and changed the country in aspects such as medical
practice, an administration and law system and this was possible due to their
domain of the British territory for almost four centuries and this can be said
because today, the ruins of Roman buildings, forts and roads still remain all over
the counties belonging to the United Kingdom. Another remarkable data to take
into consideration is the fact that many words of the English language are derived
from the Latin language of the Romans.
The first person who tried to conquer Britain was Emperor Julius Caesar who
arrived to Britain twice, once in 55 BC and again in 54 BC but he did not conquer
this land. It was until 43 AD when the Romans invaded Britain with the intention of
domain and make it part of their empire. It was not Julius Cesar who conquered
Britain, the invasion was led by the Emperor Claudius who needed about 40 000
soldiers. They quickly took control of southern England and from this time until 410
AD, Britain, or Britannia as it was known to the Romans, became part of the
Roman Empire.
The British made several revolts
against the Romans during the years
after conquest. The most important
rebellion was led by Queen Boudicca
in 60-61 AD during which many towns
were burnt to the ground but the
Roman invasion did not finish and with
When Boudicca was
defeated she killed
herself. She is often
shown in pictures
driving a chariot.
these rebellions crushed, the Romans then expanded their area of control and
conquered most of Britain including, by 81 AD, the south of Scotland. In 122 AD,
Romans began to build a wall across the north of
England as a defense against invading tribes from the
north. It was named Hadrian’s Wall because it was the
Emperor Hadrian who ordered it to be built. This structure
is a landmark that can be seen nowadays by tourists to
United Kingdom.
During the period of their rule, Romans founded many towns in Britain and
others grew considerably in size. The most important were Colchester
(Camulodunum), Lincoln (Lindum), St Albans (Verulanium) and London
(Londinium). Colchester which was the original capital of the Roman province, was
destroyed during Boudicca’s revolt, and because of this, London became the main
administrative and commercial center. During the third century, York (Eboracum)
became the main center for the north.
Roman towns fulfilled all the requirements, needs or demands that a citizen of
Rome would expect, among these things some can be mention such as a market
place, a town hall, baths, often supplied by water from an aqueduct, and
amphitheaters. The most outgoing remains of this eccentric town life in this period
are the Roman baths in the city of Bath where the bathing complex contains hot
and cold rooms and systems of drainage and under floor heating.
A very important tool for keeping control was an efficient road system and as it is
known, the Romans were excellent road builders. Do not ignore the famous phrase
“all roads lead to Rome” As it was mentioned before many words from the English
language come from the Latin Language, the word street comes from the Latin
word strata, which originally meant straight. The most famous Roman roads in
Britain are Watling Street, Ermine Street and the Fosse way. Today Roman routes
are marked on Ordinance Survey maps, and several modern roads follow their
The wealth of the Roman culture can be demonstrated thanks to the remains of
Roman Villas such as Fishbourne in Sussex and Chedworth. Most of these Villas
were richly decorated with paintings and mosaics that showed themes from Roman
myths. It is possible to see this decoration in some British places nowadays.
In the fourth century AD, the Roman Empire itself suffered attack from tribes
who came from central and Eastern Europe. Britain started being attacked from the
west and north by Scottish and Irish tribes and from the east by Germanic tribes
such as the Angles and Saxons. Roman soldiers in Britain needed to go away in
order to defend Rome and eventually, in 410 AD, the Emperor Honorious took a
difficult decision, he declared that Britain must defend itself. With the Romans
gone, the Germanic tribes could take control of most of England.
1.2.3 The Vikings
The Vikings were a group of people coming from Scandinavian countries
(Norway, Sweden and Denmark) who attacked and terrorized Northern and
Eastern Europe, including Britain and Ireland from the 8 th century to 11th century
AD. In Britain people knew them as Danes or Norsemen. The Viking age has
generally been associated with raids in which they committed all kind of crimes and
brutalities to the people they attacked but even though this is said to be true, there
is also evidence that they were Scandinavian raiders who came from small well
organized communities of hard working farmers and fishermen. It is wrongly
believed that the reason they started traveling by sea and invading territories was
because they had their population in Scandinavia increased and as a consequence
of this, the land was not enough for their inhabitants. Looking for a land to expand
their community became just an excuse because most of them were seeking
wealth, not land.
To talk about Vikings is to relate a story of
reconquest. Their most evident and
remarkable legacy was the formation of the
independent kingdoms of England and
It is reported that during the last decade
of the eight century in the year 793 the
monks of the monasteries in the island of
Lindisfarne, off the northeast coast of
The name Viking is
thought to derive
from vikingr, a word
for ’pirate’ in the early
England, were unpleasantly and unexpectedly surprised by the arrival of violent
raiders from the sea. Their misfortune is the first clearly dated event in the saga of
the Vikings.
The Vikings were excellent sailors and great soldiers, they have been accurately
described as the Norsemen who for two centuries raid the coasts of Britain and of
northwest France as in the islands of the north Atlantic, in the British Isles, in
Normandy, in Sicily and in the very heart of Russia, they also sailed from the coast
of Norway to the north of England and continue round the Scottish coast to Ireland.
Vikings from the same region later settle in the Scottish islands, Iceland and parts
of Ireland.
Coming mainly from Denmark, The Vikings invaded eastern Britain and
northwest France, and eventually settling in both regions. They also raid across the
Baltic and penetrate deep into Russia as traders.
Vikings were said to be cruel and violent toward their
enemies and inhabitants in the conquered regions but
they were also considered as very skilled in building ships,
craftsmen, explorers, traders and sailors. They traveled in
long ships called “Drakkars” which actually were long
narrow warships decorated with dragon heads. When you
see the term Viking, it is obviously related to the ships so
Vikings are famous for their ships. Although shipbuilding was a common activity in
Viking age around Northern Europe, archeological evidence shows that Viking
ships were lighter, slimmer and faster and this undoubtedly helped them to be
better sailors than those who used heavier ships. The development of this building
ability was influenced by the importance that the ships had in gaining or
maintaining power in the sea.
These ships were 15 meters long, and they had a mast and textile sails. There
was a lot of room below the deck, with a great capacity for the storage of all selling
goods, along with food and drink for several weeks. The water was kept in wooden
barrels or sacks of animal skin. When there was little or no wind, the ship was
rowed with four meters long ores, this was a remarkable characteristic; the ships
were not dependent on the wind.
The reason the Scandinavians were
so superior at sea was that they invented
the keel. Boats with a keel could not only
be rowed, but sailed as well. Thanks to
the keel the ships could be built wider
and more seaworthy, but still with a small
draught, using these fast boats made it
possible for them to reach places in a
short time and attack these places
quickly and violently.
The population was
terrorized by the
Vikings, the reason was
his ferocity and cruelty.
If you wonder how the Vikings could have disappeared if they were so violent
and powerful, the reason their conquering and occupation of many regions finished
could have been their conversion to Christianity by absorbing the beliefs of the
regions that they conquered. During the Viking age, many Scandinavians who
settled in Christian countries were converted to the new religion. They had the
opportunity to adopt the features of the new religion when they considered useful
and this was the way they gradually converted from Pagans to Christians.
The Vikings had many gods, according to the Eddas (a collection of Old Norse
poems which contain the most expansive source of Norse mythology). “The most
powerful god was the one-eyed Odin, the Allfather, god of warfare, justice, death,
wisdom and poetry. Probably the most popular god, however, was Thor, who was
stupid but incredibly strong. With his hammer Miollnir, crafted by the dwarfs, he
was the main defender of the gods against the giants. He was also the god of
thunder, and he was particularly worshipped by seafarers. Amulets of Thor's
hammer were popular throughout the Viking world. The brother and sister Frey and
Freyja, the god and goddess of fertility, were also important, and there were many
other minor gods and goddesses”.
As it was said before, Vikings adopted Christianity from the regions they
conquered. They came into contact with Christianity through their raids, and when
after settling in lands with a Christian population, they adopted Christianity. This
happened in Normandy, Ireland, and throughout the British Isles. It was not only a
conversion abroad, the Viking domain also saw a gradual conversion in
Scandinavia, the territory where they belonged to because Anglo-Saxon and
German missionaries arrived to convert the pagans. By the mid-11th century,
Christianity was well established in Denmark and most of Norway. Although there
was a temporary conversion in Sweden in the early 11th century, it wasn't until the
mid-12th century that Christianity was established in this place.
1.2.4 The Anglo Saxons
Rome was invaded by some tribes who were big in number
and as a consequence of this situation the Roman army left
Britain about AD 410 in order to go and defend their territory.
When they had gone, their conquered British territory was vulnerable and there
was no strong army to defend Britain, and tribes called the Angle, Saxon, and Jute
(the Anglo-Saxons) invaded them. These groups left their homelands in northern
Germany, Denmark and northern Holland and rowed across the North Sea in
wooden boats looking for new lands to domain and Britain was a very attractive
region for them to be conquered.
The three groups: the Angle, the Saxon, and the Jute are known as the AngloSaxons. They were warriors and farmers who came from north-western Europe.
The Angles and the Saxon tribes had more members and this is why they were the
largest of the three attacking tribes and so they are often known as Anglo-Saxons.
Invading Britain was an attractive target for the Anglo Saxons. The first intent of
domination occurred in the south and east England in the fourth century AD, but
they were beaten back by the Romans. The invasion was successful only after the
Romans left Britain in AD 410.
After Anglo Saxons had succeeded in invading Britain, during the second half of
the fifth century many more Anglo-Saxons arrived to take land for themselves. It is
for this reason that the era of the Anglo-Saxons is usually considered about AD
450.The Anglo-Saxon period lasted for 600 years, from 410 to 1066, and in that
time Britain's political landscape underwent many changes.
Talking about religion, it is recognized that the Anglo-Saxons were pagans when
they came to Britain, but, as time passed, they gradually converted to Christianity.
Because of this situation, a lot of the customs that nowadays are popular in
England come from pagan festivals.
Pagans were polytheists; it means that they adored lots of different gods. Each
pagan god controlled a particular part of everyday life: the family, growing crops,
love, healing, wisdom, metalworking, the weather, war, day & night and so on. In
Anglo Saxons religion it was necessary to ask for help to their gods in order to
ensure success in material things. For example, they might pray to a particular god
for a successful harvest, or for victory in battle.
Days of the Week
Certain days of the week are named after early Saxon Gods.
Monandæg( Moon's day - the day of the moon ),
Tiwesdæg(Tiw's-day - the day of the Scandinavian sky god Tiw,Tiu or Tig),
Wodnesdæg(Woden's day - the day of the god Woden (Othin) ),
Ðunresdæg( Thor's Day - the day of the god Ðunor or Thunor ),
Frigedæg(Freyja's day - the day of the goddess Freyja or Frigg, wife to Woden),
Sæternesdæg( Saturn's day - the day of the Roman god Saturn, whose festival
"Saturnalia," with its exchange of gifts, has been incorporated into our
celebration of Christmas.),
Sunnandæg( Sun's day - the day of the sun ).
As it was said before, the Anglo Saxons were pagans and had their own religion
beliefs, but with the arrival of Saint Augustine in 597 most of them in the country
were converted to Christianity.
Most of the information that has been obtained about the Anglo-Saxons comes
from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a year-by-year account of all the major events of
that time. Among other things it talks about the rise and fall of the bishops and
kings of who governed their territory and the important battles of the period. The
Anglo-Saxon domain came to an end in 1066, soon after the death of Edward the
Confessor, who had no heir. Because Edward did not have sons, Harold was
crowned king immediately after his dead, but in the French invasion he failed in his
attempt to defend his crown, when William and an invading army crossed the
Channel from France to claim it for himself. Harold was defeated by the Normans
at the Battle of Hastings in October 1066, and thus a new era was started.
As you know or may imagine, The
United Kingdom and the four countries
that belong to it have a life style which
can be considered first world. It could be
different from the aspects or customs
you are used to because they follow
different traditions, they have a different
government system, their historical basis
are older, they eat other kind of food or
they prepare other dishes. So the next
information will give you more specific
data about how different this emporium
is nowadays from what you have in your
The tourism employs
over 2 million people
(around 4% of the
working population).
2.1 Landmarks in the United Kingdom
There are many famous landmarks and beautiful places to visit in The United
Kingdom. They have a great history and beauty that are easy to admire. Maybe
you have seen some of them in photos, in television or in some movies. Here
some of them are presented.
2.1.1 Stonehenge
Undoubtedly this is one of the most attractive places in The United Kingdom
and also in the world. Stonehenge is a circle of ancient stones with the age
estimated at 4000 BC, it is one of most famous prehistoric monument sites in
Britain, and this monument is considered a megalithic monument in where some
aspects catch the attention. For example, the construction is made of large stone
blocks and it is thought that it was constructed during the late Neolithic and Bronze
Age. It is located in Salisbury Plain in the country of Wiltshire, in the United
Kingdom. The types of stone are bluestone,
sarson, Welsh Sandstone. Nevertheless it is said
that it was not constructed by British peopleso
there are people who claim that it should not
represent a significant British patriot trademark,
but a world patrimony instead. Some Mysteries
have been related to the stone circle, one of them
is why it was built. Scientists have studied this
monument for a long time due to the great
importance it has. It is said that this monument was used for religious ceremonies.
Some other people think that it was designed as a place to worship the sun; others
believe it may have been a place of sacrifice.
2.1.2Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s
official residence in London and it is
often used to receive and entertain
foreign visitors. This place has minimal
or no connection with the current
government of England becauseit is only
considered for a Royal Family use. The
Palace was originally built in 1705 for the
Duke of Buckingham and is located between the Green Park, Hyde Park and St.
James’s Park in London. It has 600 rooms and it is surrounded by a 40 acre
garden. It is open to visitors only during August and September when the Queen
makes her annual visit to Balmoral.
2.1.3 Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster is also known
as Houses of Parliament. The business of
Parliament is located in two places, the
House of Commons and the Houses of
Lords. The main purpose of the Parliament is
to evaluate the work of the government,
approve the new laws and debate about
government policy and some other issues.
The Palace of Westminster is an outstanding
building, one of the most well-known British prides and is officially a royal place. It
is located in one side of the river Thames in the London borough of the City of
Westminster. UK citizens and foreigners are able to attend debates, watch
committees, take tours inside the building, but people can only tour Parliament
every Saturday and during the summer when it is open. Most of the buildings seen
on the tour are relative new and were built in the mid-19th Century after a
devastating fire, but the route also incorporates some of the earlier original
buildings, such as Palace Westminster constructed in 1097 by William Rufus.
2.1.4 Tower of London
Tower of London is an official Royal Palace which is
considered World Heritage. This tower is in the north of
Thames River and it was constructed in 1066 under
supervision of William the Conqueror, following his
successful invasion in the same year. In the past, the Tower
of London was a fortress, prison and armory. The Tower, or
Bloody Tower as it is known, has been host to many famous
executions and imprisonments, including those of Anne
Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey and Sir Walter
Raleigh. The jewel House, which houses the Crown Jewels,
lies within the confines of the Tower of London. The people can visit this place and
it is free.
2.1.5 Windsor Castle
The Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and it
was a royal residence for over 900 years and
today is one of the homes of Queen in Windsor.
The royal standard flies from the round tower of
the castle when the Queen is in this residence.
This has been the most attacked castle in the
history of England, since Normans to Civil War
and the Second World War, its architecture is the
most representative of medieval times. It was built by the Normans from timber
and it was later rebuilt in stone.
2.1.6 Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall is a stone wall barrier which was
built to separate the Romans and the Picts tribes
in Scotland 2000 years ago. It allowed Roman
soldiers to control the movements of people
coming into or leaving Roman Britain. It was so
well built that you can still see parts of it today.
2.1.7 St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in
London, the cathedral survived the Second World War
and in this cathedral the wedding of Prince Charles and
Princess Diana was held. The dome of St Paul’s
Cathedral is the second biggest dome in the world, after
St Peter’s in Rome. The first St Paul’s Cathedral was
built in 604 AD but burnt down in 675. The rebuilt
cathedral was again burnt down in the Great Fire of
London in 1666. On September 2nd, 1666 the Great
Fire destroyed a large area of the city including the
cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren was given the task of designing and rebuilding (a
task that was to take him thirty five years to complete).
2.1.8 The Big Ben
Each country has a particular icon,
for example the Statue of Liberty in
the United States of America, the
Angel of Independence in Mexico or
the Eiffel Tower in France. England
has an icon called the Big Ben, a
clock that is called this way but it is
the Palace of Westminster’s clock.
The first clock was built in 1290 and in
1707 was demolished and the bell
that had this clock was sold to St
Paul’s Cathedral.
The Big Ben appeared
in many famous movies
like 102 Dalmatians,
Alice in Wonderland,
Dracula, 28 days later,
An interesting fact is that in this clock the citizens of
England and many other people who travel to the country
celebrate the New Year with fireworks. It is known that the
maintenance is not easy, the structure of the clock is very
old and cracked so the workers have to be very careful
when servicing up to the clock by the height of this
structure, the most complicated task is to put the clock on
time, and there are other enemies of the Big Ben such as
the wind, the doves, the snow, among other things. The
maintenance on the clock is pretty important because
many people take this clock as a reference for their
watches so it has to be very accurate in its time.
2.1.9 London Eye
This may be the most attractive place in England nowadays. The London Eye is
the tallest Ferris wheel with a 450 feet (135m) high in all Europe (the third one in
the entire world) and spins smoothly at a speed of 26 cm per second. Each
rotation takes around 30 minutes, in this time you can marvel at the majestic views
that spread around (on a clear day) up to 40 km in all directions. The London Eye
was officially opened by the ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair on December 31st, 1999,
in the new millennium; although it was opened to the public until March 9th, 2000
because of technical problems. The London Eye has become a 21st Century
symbol for Britain.
Since its opening, the Eye has become one of the major landmarks and tourist
attraction and one of the iconic sights of London. It even appeared in a Fantastic
Four Movie (Rise of the Silver Surfer, 2007) generating a lot of more fame.
The rime of the Eye is supported by tie roods and resembles a huge spooked
bicycle wheel. The lighting for the
London Eye was redone with LED
lighting from Color Kinetics in
December 2006 to allow digital control
of the lights as opposed to the manual
replacement of gels over fluorescent
tubes. From January 2011, its official
name was changed to the EDF Energy
London Eye, this is the UK´s most
popular paid for visitor attraction,
visited by over 3.5 million people a year.
2.2 Typical Food
“British cooking is not noted for saucing and subtleties on the excellence of the
raw materials, the rhythm of the seasonal crops and a simple style of preparation
that permits the flavors of the food to come through. Fish from the rivers, lakes and
coastal waters is one of our great prides. Never more than a few hours from the
net to the fishmonger´s slab and the housewife´s pot, it remains always fresh
enough to retain its true taste the main reason we cook so plainly. To sully a Dover
Sole, matchless fish, with a rich sauce would be a negation of nature´s intent”
(Adrian Bailey).
The indigenous and particular aspects of British cooking that have earned it a
culinary niche in the world´s cuisines date back centuries. As great meat eaters,
they perfected the art of roasting. The British cuisine is a set of habits and
adaptations of foods with the climate of the place and its history. In the times of
Shakespeare, people enjoyed breads made from a variety of flours, ate every
parts of the animal that came their way, and used clever tricks to trap birds,
feeding them with aromatic herbs to give flavor to their meat. To talk about typical
cuisine in England is to talk about simple food, a lot of vegetables, fish, breads,
cheeses, roasted meals, stewed meals, pies and above all potatoes, either made
in slices or made in mash. The bread was commonly accompanied with
pottage.Now, they have many ingredients imported for other places like India, so
England has recipes for exotic food like the Chicken tikka masala, which is a dish
composed of roasted chicken chunks in a spicy sauce. These are some of the
most popular dishes in England:
2.2.1 Fish and chips
This dish is the most popular fast food in all England. It
can be compared with the popularity that the hamburger
has in the United States of America or the tacos in
Mexico. It became popular in the 1860´s when railways
began to bring fresh fish straight from the east coast to
the cities overnight. It consists of different types of fish
(especially cod and hake) coated with flour and eggs
which is deep fried and served with chips, salt and
vinegar are usually added. The trick is to get fresh fish and not frozen. England is
internationally famous for its fish and chips and has a large number of restaurants
and take-away shops selling this dish. It may be the most popular and identifiable
English dish.
2.2.2 Yorkshire pudding
A type of bread made with butter. Sometimes it
has a cavity, but nearly all the time, has a hole in the
center. It is usually served with roast meat and
2.2.3 Roast Beef
This dish is made of beef roasted several hours in an oven until the meat (pork,
veal or lamb) drop juice or its color is brown. It is accompanied by roast potatoes
and other vegetables (generally boiled). It is often served
in their costume called Sunday Roast. It could be similar
than the “barbacoa” people eat in some regions of your
country on Sunday. It can be given the signature of
national dish of England.
2.2.4 Bubble and squeak
A traditional dish named after the sound it makes
while it´s cooking. It´s made from leftover’s
vegetables of a roast dinner, mixing them with mash
potato and slices of cabbage, carrots, beans,
Brussels and other vegetables. It´s served cold. As it
was mentioned before, the name was given as a
description of the action and sound made during the
cooking process.
2.2.5 Full English breakfast
In order to follow to the writer William Somerset
Maugham’ words: “To eat well in England, you should
have breakfast three times a day”. This means that in
England people eat three times a day, one of the
most important foods is in the early hours of the day
is breakfast. It is a dish consisting of eggs, bacon,
sausages, bubble and squeak, grilled tomatoes and
mushrooms. It is often served with tea or coffee. In
some regions black pudding is added. The full English breakfast is usually
consumed in the home on non-working days, when there is enough time to
prepare it or at a hotel or cafe.
The English Breakfast is
considered the most
abundant breakfast in the
2.2.6 Black pudding
A black sausage made form pig´s blood and fat.
It is very popular in Scotland and Ireland. It is
sometimes eaten with the full English breakfast. In
México it is known as a “moronga”.
2.2.7 Toad in the hole
Is a big Yorkshire pudding, covered with
sausages, served with vegetables and sometimes
served with onion gravy.
2.2.8 Tea
The famous tea is a very old tradition from the people
of England. It is made from boiling tea leaves in a
concoction. It is commonly black tea. Nowadays, the
British people follow the tradition of drinking it as it has
been done for ages.
2.2.9 Cheesecake
It is a dessert made of cheese, some cookies,
meringue and sweet sauce. It can also have many other
varies such as eggs, cream and some fruits: blueberries,
blackberries, lemons and oranges.
2.2.10 Apple pie
The truth is that there is not too much to explain, this is
one of the favorite desserts in England, it consists of a cake
or pie filling sweetened with apples. It is not surprising to
mention that Britons love this dessert either hot or cold and
it is a dessert that can be eaten in many parts of the world
and it is always related to the British cuisine.
2.2.11 Cheese
Served after dessert in Britain, the best quality
cheeses are not inexpensive (although you can buy
plenty of cheap versions in the supermarkets) but well
worth seeking out. Blue and white Stilton, Cheddar,
Red Leicester, Wensleydale, Sage Derby, Cornish
Yarg, Double Gloucester, the list goes on and on.
are no more farmers nowadays
because it is much easier to send
milk in bulk by road and rail to a
creamery or cheese factory than it
is to use it to make cheese yourself.
In 1900 there were almost 2000
farmers in Cheshire who produced
the country´s most famous product;
today there are only 19. There are
of course, commercial cheese
makers who produce fine Cheshire.
England is internationally
famous for the fish and
2.3 Holidays and traditions
The United Kingdom is a nation with a big culture; its
traditions are so rich and diverse and have been around for
hundreds of years. The Culture of the United Kingdom is
not only important for this nation because throughout
history they colonized countries such as the United States
of America, Australia, Canada, among other 32 countries.
The importance of these customs and traditions could be seen in all over the
world. For example, there are common holidays in the United Kingdom that are
celebrated in the entire world. There are many holidays and they are divided in two
categories, Official Days and Public Holidays.
2.3.1 New Year´s Day
One of the traditions all over the world is New Year´s Day. The tradition of
celebrating New Year on January 1st according to Georgian calendar officially
began in 1752. New Year celebrations made in the United Kingdomare pretty big
and famous, this is very evident by the number of tourists visiting the country
during New Year. All over the nation they use to throw parties where the British
people sing and dance. Fireworks are also seen in the sky, lights that entertain the
people. During the New Year in England, there is a tradition according to which
people keep the back door of their houses open to symbolize for their farewell to
the old year. On the same lines, they expect a dark haired and young man to
arrive at their threshold on New Year´s Day; it is considered a symbol for good
luck in the coming year.
2.3.2 Mothering Sunday
It could be considered the equivalent of Mother´s Day, it is a day when children
pay respect to their mothers and give some gifts and a card, like they do it in
America. This day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday on March.
2.3.3 Easter Monday
It is the time for three holidays (Monday, Thursday and Good Friday) and Easter
Sunday, these days are a festival and the time for giving chocolate Easter eggs,
but also Easter means much more than just that, Easter is the oldest and one of
the most important Christian Festival, the celebration of the death and coming to
life of Jesus Christ.
2.3.4 April Fool´s Day (April 1st)
It is one of the most awaited days of the year. Its main characteristic is that you
can prank to everyone and they cannot get mad at you. This holiday is a little
similar to the Mexican December 28th, on this day people play jokes to someone
else they want to, this day became popular in England around 1700´s so it is kind
of old, the kind of jokes that they made usually involve people persuading other
people to do something silly.
2.3.5 St. George´s Day (April 23rd)
England’s National day is St. George´s. This is a story that first appeared in the
6th century and it claims that St. George rescued a defenseless maid by slaying a
terrific dragon that could spew flames. The saint´s name was shouted as a battle
cry by English knights who fought under the red-cross flag of St. George during
the Hundred Years War (1338-1453). This was immortalized in one of
Shakespeare´s wonderful plays calledHenry V, in the lines:
“I see you stand like greyhound in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game´s afoot:
Follow you spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry ´God for Harry! England and Saint George!”
2.3.6 May Day (May 1st)
In the United Kingdom, as well as most of Europe, May Day is known as the
end of the winter and beginning of the summer, and it is looked forward to the
productive months. In ancient times it was a big festival celebrated through all the
country and celebrates with some music, dancing and games. Dancing was held
around maypoles and it had important people in story such as Robin Hood and
Jack in Green.
2.3.7 Trooping the Colors
This especial day is celebrated because British
people celebrate itasthe birthday of the Queen. Trooping
the color is being done this day and consists of a military
parade and a march in the past. It lasts like an hour and it happens on June 13th.
2.3.8 Nothing Hill Carnival Day and Summer Bank Holiday (Last Monday in
It is a carnival that is planned on the last Monday in August. Its origins date
from the 1960´s and it was celebrated by the Caribbean Immigrants. It is a joyful
celebration because it has a lot of customs and music. It is also one of the largest
carnivals in Europe.
2.3.9 Harvest Festival
It is a celebration of the food
grown on the land, ceremonies and
celebrations to ask for a good
harvest are very old. In England,
they have given thanks for
successful harvest for hundreds of
years, they celebrate this day by
singing, praying and decorating
The Harvest Festival day in
England is similar to
Thanksgiving in USA.
the churches, it is usually celebrated during the month of September.
2.3.10 Bonfire Night (November 5th)
If you have seen the movie “V for Vendetta” you will probably know that this
movie is based on the November 5th celebration. It is an important day in the
United Kingdom, especially in England. This day comes since 1605 and it is called
the Bonfire night (Guy Fawkes Night). Guy Fawkes was a catholic guy who tried to
explode the parliament and kill the king because the king had settled some laws
that the Catholics though were unfair.
2.3.11 Christmas Day(December 25th or the Monday immediately following if
Christmas falls on a weekend)
It is a truly magical seasonthat bringsfamiliesand friends together to share the
much loved customs and traditions which have been around for centuries. On this
holiday, people stay at home with their family. It´s very similar to the Christmas
celebrated in America.If both December 25th and December 26th fall on the
weekend, the following Monday and Tuesday are Bank Holidays. This means that
people do not work in order to observe both celebrations.
2.3.12 St. Patrick´s Day (March 17th)
St. Patrick´s Day is held in honor of the patron Saint of Ireland. The work of St.
Patrick (c.389-c.461) was vital for the spreading of Christianity in Ireland. Born in
Britain, he was taken off by pirates and spent the next six years being their
slave.Afterescaping, he started training as a missionary. Since London has a great
quantity of Irish people, it´s quite a big celebration. There is a big parade held on
the nearest Monday if it falls on a weekend of March. This annual parade usually
takes place in Trafalgar Square.
2.3.13 Tea time
In all Britain, the teatime is the most important
tradition every day. Afternoon tea was introduced in
England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in
the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry
around four o´clock in the afternoon. The evening meal
in her household was served fashionably late eight
o´clock, thus leaving a long period of time between
lunch and dinner. Drinking tea became a habit of hers and she began inviting
friends to join her. This pause for tea became a fashionable social event. During
the 1880´s upper-class and society women should change into long gowns, gloves
and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room
between four and five o´clock. Nowadays British drink 165 million cups of the stuff
and each year around 114000 tons of teaare imported. Traditionally, tea is served
at 11:00am and 4:00pm in the afternoon. For example, when four o´clock
approaches, mechanics in a London auto repair shop break for tea. Many
factories, offices and shops have facilities for tea making. Some supply the
ingredients free to employees, and others have installed automatic vending
Black tea is reddish in color, rich and full-bodied, and is a blessing indeed in a
cold climate. Black tea provides the population of Britain with that extra courage
required to get out of bed, especially on winter mornings.
2.4 The United Kingdom System of Government
The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy
with a constitutional Monarch. In a Monarchy, the king
or queen is the head of state, (now the UK has a
Queen, the Queen Elizabeth II) and a prime minister is
the head of government. This means that a king or
queen reigns with some limits to their power, alongside
with a governing body which is the Parliament. The
people vote in elections only for choosing some
members of Parliament (MPs) to represent them.
2.4.1 Constitution
The United Kingdom does not have a single, written constitution (a set of rules
of government). But this does not mean that the UK has an ‘unwritten constitution’.
In fact, it is mostly written, but instead of being one formal document, the British
constitution is formed from various sources including statute law, case law made
by judges, and international treaties. There are also some unwritten sources,
including parliamentary conventions and royal prerogatives.
2.4.2 The monarch and government
The monarchy is the oldest institution of government in the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom’s monarchy is considered the oldest of all modern
constitutional monarchies (other countries including Belgium, Norway, the
Netherlands, Spain and Monaco).
Most of the powers once exercised by the monarch have now been devolved to
ministers. In certain circumstances the monarch retains the power to exercise
personal discretion over issues such as appointing the prime minister and
dissolving Parliament, even though these powers may never be used in practice,
or may only be exercised symbolically.
In a process of change during which the monarchy's absolute power has been
gradually reduced, custom now dictates that the Queen follows ministerial advice.
The Queen performs a range of important duties, such as summoning and
dissolving Parliament and giving royal assent to legislation passed by the UK
Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales or the
Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Queen formally appoints important office holdersthat include the prime
minister and other government ministers, judges, officers in the armed forces,
governors, diplomats, bishops and some other senior clergy of the Church of
England. She also grants peerages, knighthoods and other honors.
2.4.3 The Privy Council and other work
The Queen holds Privy
audiences to her ministers and
officials in the UK and
accounts of
In international affairs,
the Queen has the power
to declare war and make
peace, to recognise
foreign states, to
conclude treaties
Cabinet decisionsand she reads dispatches and signs state papers.She is
consulted on many aspects of national life and she must show complete
impartiality in the advice she gives. The law states that a regent has to be
appointed to perform the royal functions if the monarch is absolute incapacitated.
The Privy Council was formerly the chief source of executive power in the state,
but as the system of Cabinet government developed in the 18th century, the
Cabinet took on much of its role. Now, the Privy Council is the main way in which
ministers advise the Queen on the approval of Orders in Council, such as those
granting Royal Charters or enacting subordinate legislation, or on the issue of
royal proclamations such as the summoning or dissolving of Parliament.
There are about 500 Privy Counselors, whose appointments are for life. The
Privy Council consists of all members of the Cabinet, other senior politicians,
judges and some individuals from the Commonwealth. Only members of the
government of the day play any part in its policy work. The prime minister
recommends new members of the Privy Council to the sovereign.
2.4.4 Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family
Born in London on April 21st,
great-greatgranddaughter of Queen Victoria
who governed almost 64 years,
1837-1901), Elizabeth became
Queen at the age of 25, on the
death of her father, King George
VI. She is the 40th monarch since
The Queen celebrate twice
her birthday, fist on date
when she was born, and
then in the parthy oficial in
UK (Second Saturday on
Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2nd, 1953 in
Westminster Abbey, despite having acceded to the throne
on February 6th, 1952 when her father died. British law
states that the throne is not left 'vacant' and therefore the
new monarch succeeds the old monarch immediately.
The official coronation usually takes place months later,
as it is considered a happy occasion and not appropriate
for the period of mourning.
Since the moment she
assumed the throne after her father
King George’s dead she decided to
be crowned as Elizabeth II. Isabel has
reigned the United Kingdom for 60
years. She is the head of the state in
all the countries that belong to this
Australia and New Zeland among
other thirteen countries.
When she assumed the
throne, Elizabeth II was the
head of the state in 32
changed and now this has
been reduced to only 16 due
In 2012 Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her diamond jubilee in the throne
because she has been the queen for 60 years. She is the British queen with more
years reigning. Her official name as a Queen is Elizabeth II but her real name is
Isabel Alexandra Mary. Elizabeth II was the third in line for getting the throne,
before her Prince David (Edward III) and her father
Prince Albert were the options for the throne. She
became a queen even this situation after Eduardo III
abdicated to the crown because he got married with
Wallis Simpson, who was not a Royal member. Her
father Albert did not have male children, when he got
married he only had two daughters (Isabel and
Margarita). Isabel became a queen after her father
died because of a thrombosis.
Isabel is married to Prince
Philippe, Duke of Edimburg and
they have been married for 65
years. He is 92 years old, Isabel is
86 years old and both have a good
Elizabeth II has seen passed 12
ministers, 12 presidents of the
United States of America, four
Sovietic leaders, five Russian
presidents, 5 Chinese leaders and 6
Elizabeth II does not like
the Palace ofBuckingham
as a residence, she
prefers Windsor Castle.
Nowadays the Queen is not as wealthy as
she was before. She pays taxes as any other
British citizen and she has lost privilege. Her annual
declaration indicates that she has less that 600
million dollar and that she has lost almost 120
million dollars in a year, even though this situation,
she is still a classy queen who keeps the glamour
and the good sense of fashion.
Some of Elizabeth II belongings are 2 Bentley cars, 3 Rolls-Royce cars, a
spectacular Phantom IV from 1950. She has been photographed driving a Land
Rover and other vehicles. She learned to drive in 1945 and she is the only person
in the United Kingdom who can drive without a driving license or plates. She does
not have a passport; she cannot be judged or fined. The Real collection is
composed by 100 carriages and in case that it is necessary to travel along the
United Kingdom, she has the Royal train for it.
During her long reigning, Elizabeth II has officially visited many countries.
She is the Queen that has traveled the most around the world. She has been to
Mexico twice, in 1975 when Luis Echeverria was the President and in 1983 with
Miguel de la Madrid. Mexico is the only Latin American country that her majesty
has visited twice.
The members of the royal family support the Queen in her public duties,
nationally and internationally. Official duties are undertaken by members of the
Queen’s close family, such as her children and her cousins (the children of her
father’s brothers), and their wives or husbands.
The royal family plays an important role in supporting and encouraging the
public and charity sectors, and around 3,000 organizations list a member of the
royal family as a patron or president. There are various charities and organizations
supported by a member of the royal family.
There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or isn't a member of the
royal family, but those carrying the title His or Her Majesty (HM), His or Her Royal
Highness (HRH) or Their Royal Highnesses (TRH) are generally considered
2.4.5 The Crown
The title to the crown derives partly from statute and partly from common law
rules of descent. Despite interruptions in the direct line of succession, inheritance
has always been the way royal power has passed down the generations, with sons
of the sovereign coming before daughters in succeeding to the throne.
When a daughter does succeed, she becomes Queen Regnant and has the
same powers as a king. The 'consort' of a king takes her husband's rank and style,
becoming Queen. No special rank or privileges are given to the husband of a
Queen Regnant.
Under the Act of Settlement of 1700, only Protestant descendants of Princess
Sophia, the Electress of Hanover (a granddaughter of James I of England and VI of
Scotland) are eligible to succeed. The order of succession to the throne can be
altered only by common consent of the countries of the Commonwealth of which
the monarch is sovereign.
The sovereign succeeds to the throne as soon as his or her predecessor dies.
He or she is at once proclaimed at an Accession Council, to which all members of
the Privy Council are called. Members of the House of Lords, the Lord Mayor,
Aldermen and other leading citizens of the City of London are also invited.
The coronation follows the accession. The ceremony takes place at Westminster
Abbey in London in the presence of representatives of both Houses of Parliament
and all the major public organizations in the UK. The prime ministers and leading
members of the Commonwealth nations and representatives of other countries
also attend.
2.4.6 The Cabinet
The Cabinet is a formal body made up of the most senior government ministers
chosen by the prime minister; is the committee at the center of the British political
system and the supreme decision making body in government.
Cabinet ministers are the highest-ranking ministers in the government, and most
government departments have one Cabinet minister (or more). Most Cabinet
ministers are titled ‘Secretary of State’ – although some have traditional titles, such
as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Whip.
Every Tuesday while Parliament is in session, the Cabinet meets in the Cabinet
room at 10 Downing Street to discuss the issues of the day. Historically the
Government Cabinets have met in the same room since 1856, when it was called
the Council Chamber.The Prime Minister chairs the meeting and sets its agenda;
he also decides who speaks around the Cabinet table, and sums up at the end of
each item.
In addition to the whole Cabinet meetings, exist a range of Cabinet committees
meet in smaller groups to consider policy with other ministers who are closely
involved with the relevant issue.The Prime Minister decides who will sit on these
small committees.
2.4.7 The Prime Minister
As head of the UK government, the Prime Minister oversees the operation of the
Civil Service and government agencies, he appoints members of the Cabinet, and
he is the main government figure in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister is
also, by tradition, the First Lord of the Treasury – and draws his or her salary in
that role, rather than as Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister's unique position of authority comes from majority support in
the House of Commons and the power to appoint and dismiss ministers. By
modern convention, the Prime Minister always sits in the Commons.
The Prime Minister presides over the Cabinet, he is responsible for allocating
functions among ministers and, at regular meetings with the Queen, he informs her
of the general business of the government. Others responsibilities include
recommending a number of appointments to the Queen. These include highranking members of the Church of England, senior judges and certain civil
appointments. He also recommends appointments to several public boards and
The Prime Minister's Office supports him in his role as head of government. This
includes providing policy advice, tracking the delivery of government commitments
and initiatives, and ensuring effective communications to Parliament, the media
and the public.
2.4.8 The Parliament: House of Commons and House of Lords
The main functions of Parliament are to
pass laws, to finance through taxation the
work of government, to scrutinize government
policy and administration, including proposals
for expenditure, and to debate the major
issues of the day.
Parliament at Westminster in London can
legislate for the UK as a whole and has powers to legislate for any parts of it
separately. However, it will not normally legislate on devolved matters in Scotland
and Northern Ireland without the agreement of the Scottish Parliament and the
Northern Ireland Assembly respectively. The Westminster Parliament still has UKwide responsibility in a number of areas including defense, foreign affairs,
economic and monetary policy, social security, employment, and equal
opportunities.In some cases, UK laws are sometimes extended to the Islands with
their agreement, for example in matters such as immigration and broadcasting.
Parliament does not conduct itself in this way. Its members work within the
common law and normally act according to convention. The House of Commons is
directly responsible to the electorate and during the 20th century the House of
Lords increasingly recognized the supremacy of the elected chamber.
The three parts of Parliament - the House of Commons, the House of Lords and
the Sovereign - only meet together on occasions of symbolic significance such as
the State Opening of Parliament when the Commons is summoned by the
Sovereign to the House of Lords. The agreement of all three is normally needed to
pass laws, but that of the Sovereign is given as a matter of course.
House of Commons
The House of Commons consists of 646 elected MPs. Of the 646 seats, 529
represent constituencies in England, 40 in Wales, 59 in Scotland, and 18 in
Northern Ireland.
After a Parliament has been dissolved and a General Election has been held,
the Sovereign summons a new Parliament. When an MP dies, resigns or is made a
member of the House of Lords a by-election takes place.
The chief officer of the House of Commons is the Speaker, elected by MPs to
preside over the House. Other officers include the Chairman of Ways and Means
and two deputy chairmen, who may all act as Deputy Speakers. They are elected
by the House as nominees of the government, but may come from the Opposition
as well as the government party. The House of Commons Commission, a statutory
body chaired by the Speaker, is responsible for the administration of the House.
Permanent officers (who are not MPs) include the Clerk of the House of
Commons, who is the principal adviser to the Speaker on the House's privileges
and procedures. The Clerk's other responsibilities relate to the conduct of the
business of the House and its committees. The Clerk is also accounting officer for
the House. The Sergeant at Arms, who waits upon the Speaker, carries out certain
orders of the House. He is also the official housekeeper of the Commons' part of
the Palace of Westminster and is responsible for security.
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the second chamber or upper house of the UK
Parliament. It works with the House of Commons to make laws, scrutinize the
actions of the government, and provide a forum of independent expertise. It
consists of the Lords Spiritual and the Lords Temporal.
The Lords Spiritual: include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of
York, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Durham, and the Bishop of Winchester.
Membership of the House of Lords also extends to the longest-serving other
bishops of the Church of England.
The Lords Temporal are hereditary or life peers. They may support a political
party; non-partisan Lords are called cross-benchers. Legislation since 1999 has
limited the number of hereditary peers and the largest number of peers in the Lords
are life peers (whose peerages are not inheritable).
The House of Lords Chamber spends about 60 per cent of its time on
legislation; the other 40 per cent is spent on scrutiny - questioning government and
debating issues and policy. Committee work takes place outside the Chamber.
Each sitting day the Members
of the Lords start by questioning
government ministers in the
Chamber to find out what they are
doing, or propose to do, on any
Questions’, Lords may then
examine and improve draft
All legislation has to be
provided by both Houses of
Parliament, a proposed piece
of legislation called a “Bill”.
This may have begun in the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
Members may also debate important topics to highlight what the House thinks on
an issue, signaling their views to the country and the government.
3.1 Education System in the United Kingdom
In first world countries like The United Kingdom education is a very important
aspect of their government and according to the education Act of 1944, all children
have a right to free school education and at the same time education is compulsory
between ages between five and sixteen. This means that going to school is an
obligation for all children. Something really interesting is the fact that almost 75% of
children stay at school beyond the age of 16 and 44% of them go on to higher
The diversity that exists between the different countries that form the UK
produces different needs and therefore different education systems. The United
Kingdom has an international reputation for giving home to several top universities
that are located across the countries that are part of it. As in many other countries,
the UK´s educational system is composed by several different levels of education
which varies in every autonomous country as the subjects and qualifications
required for studying.
The goals of the education at a national level are determined by the central
education authorities. They promote, manage, and supervise works for improving
the development of the curricula and national exams. They also offer the minimum
shares of educational provision. The Local Education Authorities (LEA) is the
responsible for the local and regional education management. It is focused on the
educational field and the Counselors that work in this department are publicly
elected form the Local Education Authorities.
Educational institutions directly depend of LEA, buy they have great autonomy.
This freedom is reduced only in the economic aspect, because all the money is
assigned under specific necessities but their freedom is very wide about teaching
styles, materials, establishment, infrastructure, curriculum, etc.
There are basically two different kinds of system used in the UK:
1° The one that covers the regions of England, Wales and North Ireland.
2° The one that is only used in Scotland.
Nowadays in the year 2012, less than 10% of the UK students do not attend
publicly-funded state schools, they go to private institutions. There are about 8.5
million kids that go to one of the 30,000 English and Welsh schools. There are
830,000 students distributed in about 5,000 Scottish schools; these include preschools and special education schools. Finally, Ireland has 350,000 children in
1,300 state schools. Primary schools are usually integrated by both, male and
female students, while secondary schools can include just members of one sex.
According to the law, all English and Welsh children between ages of 5 and 16
must receive a full education, while in Northern Ireland they must begin a year
earlier. In 1992, the United Kingdom adopted a National Curriculum, which is
required in every state school until pupils turn 16. School learning has four key
stages that relate to the curriculum.
The National Curriculum was introduced into the UK for guiding the stated
schools to a common curriculum in all of them even though private schools may
deviate from it. The twelve subjects required in order to follow the National
Curriculum are:
1. English
7. Geography
2. Mathematics
8. History
3. Science
4. Art
9. Information and communication
5. Citizenship
10. Modern Foreign Languages
6. Design and Technology
11. Music
12. Physical Education
The National Curriculum includes more subjects, buy they are less common or
exist only in some schools, like Religious Education, Careers education and Sex
Education in the UK can be divided into four stages which are related to the
student´s age.
Stage 1
5 to 7 years old
Stage 2
7 to 11 years old
Stage 3
11 to 14 years old
Stage 4
14 to 16 years old
The preschool (nursery) is called FS1, because it is the first year before they go
into a primary school. Preschool is offered to students between 2 and 5 years old
and it is provided at the Nursery Schools. Generally, these establishments are
public and part of the LEA. This preschool education is not compulsory and can be
provided part time or full time. There isn´t a big tradition about preschool education
in the UK, this is why the number of Nursery Schools is so small.
The first nursery was opened in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg, Germany by Friedrich
Wilhelm August Fröbel.
The education system in Scotland is managed by the Scottish parliament and
it´s the most different of the UK´s educational systems. In Scotland the education is
recommended to start at home, teaching the kids to read and count in English or
Gaelic, in order to star formal education at the age of four or five, depending on the
birth day, in the basic level.
3.1.1 Primary
The primary education period is provided by the Primary
schools. Students stay in them from five to eleven years old
(except in Scotland, where students stay until twelve years
old). These first six years of compulsory education are
structured in two periods in Primary Schools.
1° Infant Schools that covers the Stage 1
2° Junior Schools that covers the Stage 2
The school year begins on
September 1st, and it is a period of
39 weeks divided into six parts:
September to October, October to
December, January to February,
February to March, April to May,
and June to July. School years
have holidays in Christmas (2
weeks break), in Spring (2weeks
break) and in summer (6 weeks
All children have a right to free
school education and at the
compulsory between ages of five
and sixteen.
School holidays in Northern Ireland are also considerably different to the rest of
the United Kingdom. Northern Irish schools generally only get 1 day off for the half
term holiday (in February, May and October. Christmas holidays usually only
consist of a week or so, the same with the Easter vacation, compared to England
two weeks. The greatest difference is that during summer the Northern Irish
schools have a nine week long vacation.
Also, there is a special education treatment for kids with some kind of disability,
such as, deafness, blindness, or any other physical problem, and also for those
who are educationally subnormal. There are some handicapped children that
prefer to go to ordinary schools. Special education schools require an extra year
for their students to leave, and also provide them with some further education and
pre-vocational training.
Typically, primary education is provided in schools, but an alternative means
according to the Education in England, parents need to ensure that their children
are educated, either by attending school or by alternative means. These days,
Homeschooling is a common option in England. In Homeschooling, the parents are
not required to follow the National Curriculum, to be qualified teachers or to follow
hours and terms either. The bad side of this option, however, is that the parents
must finance all the needs for their children education. About 94% of pupils in
England, and the rest of the UK, receive free education from public funds, while 6
per cent attend independent fee paying schools or homeschooling. The rest 6%
attend to public schools which are more expensive.
3.1.2 Secondary
At the end of the Primary School, there are no final exams and students don’t
get any kind of title. After the primary school, at the age of 11 years old, students
have to choose one of two options, these options are the starting of the Secondary
School and it is cover by the Stages 3 and 4 previously mentioned.
•Option 1 . Grammar Schools
Grammar Schools provide the whole Secondary Education. In order to enter to
these schools it is necessary to pass a selective exam. Their objective is to
prepare students to enter to the universities. There are other options to enter
universities which are not selective and free, so as a consequence of this, the
percentage of students in the UK that assist to Grammar Schools is reduced.
It is important to mention that after World War II, the government of The United
Kingdom reorganized the secondary schools into two basic types. Secondary
moderns were intended for children who would be going into a trade and
concentrated on the basics plus practical skills; grammar schools were intended for
children who would be going on to higher education and concentrated on the
classics or science. This system lasted until the 1960s, at which point changes in
the political climate led to the general acceptance that this was a discriminatory
system which was not getting the best out of all children. This was partly because
some authorities tended to prioritize their budgets on the grammar schools,
damaging the education prospects of children attending secondary moderns.
•Option 2. Comprehensive School.
Opposite to Grammar schools,
Comprehensive Schools admit
students without a selective exam,
and later they are grouped into
two or three learning groups
according to their capacity.
Students stay at Comprehensive
Schools from 11 after they have
finished the Primary School, to 16
years old when the compulsory
education ends.
Traditionally many private
schools are single-sex, but a
growing number now are coeducational
At the end of the key stage 4 when students finish the Secondary School, they
are evaluated with the main extern exam for students that have already finished
the Secondary School. This exam is the General Certificate of Secondary
Education (GCSE).
The state schools in an area are usually run directly by the local authority which
is responsible for appointing the teachers and others staff as well as deciding
where new schools are built. This is always the case in Scotland but in other parts
of The United Kingdom there are alternatives such as foundation schools run by a
governing body, voluntary schools, many of which are church schools, and
academies, which are built with some private money and run as independent
schools in the state sector.
Compulsory Education: Secondary School II
The students take about 10 GCSE examinations in different subjects, like
mathematics and English language. There are different options for continuing
or technical colleges; They may also leave secondary schooling
-They take a higher level of secondary
school examinations known as AS-Levels
after an extra year of studying which are
required for entering a university in the
UK, after two years of studying
educate their children don´t
need to be qualified teachers
or to follow hours or terms.
3.1.3 Higher education
Around 1.8 million students who have successfully completed an A-Level
are currently studying in the higher education system of the UK and approximately
a third of young people go on at the age of 18 to higher education, being almost
50% Scottish students. Undergraduate degrees take four years course to complete
in Scotland, while in the rest of the states take only three leading to a first degree
such as Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc). Some degrees such as
medicine, dentistry, veterinary science take up to six years. When graduate level is
reached, it only takes a year to have a master´s degree, two for a research
master´s degree and three for a doctoral degree.
Higher education is not free. Students have to pay a contribution to the cost of
teaching (tuition less) and also have to pay their living costs (maintenance). The
government provides loans to help them pay for university education which have to
be paid back from earnings once their income reaches a certain level. In recent
years government policy has tried to increase the percentage of 18 year old who
go to university, which is now a 40% double the 1990 figure, but this grown has
been at the expense of the amount of financial support given to individual students.
Universities receive money from the state for each student and they are
responsible for employing staff and deciding which course to offer. The head of a
university, who is responsible for its management, is called a Vice-chancellor.
Since 1992 the government began to eliminate distinctions between universities
and other education centers for higher education. All universities in The United
Kingdom are autonomous and each one decides diplomas and certificates granted,
it also decides the conditions for obtaining them, most include research and
courses at pre- and post-graduate.
Education in the UK is provided in the following institutions:
There about 50 universities in the United Kingdom, eight of them are in
Scotland, two are in Northern Ireland, there is one in Wales and the rest are in
England. These institutions have great autonomy in spite of which they are public
funded, supported by the University Grants Committee.
These are centers of higher education that usually specialize in applied science
for commercial and industrial sectors and also offer some humanistic disciplines.
They were created to extend higher education in order to respond economically to
the social and economic needs, meet young people with diverse skills and focus on
applying knowledge. They offer courses full or part time, all geared to get the
professional field and are closely related to industry, business and professional
corporations. A committee for the polytechnic institutions does the same work as
that of Vice-Chancellors in universities: the Committee of Polytechnics.
They consist of nature centers and extensive options. They are not universities
and they have several names: College of Higher Education, Colleges of Arts,
Agriculture Colleges, etc. Also, the polytechnics institutions and some Colleges
may issue Degrees that the National Council Degree grants.
Education and politics
Education is one of the most important topics of political debate in Britain.
Governments of both main political parties have recognized the importance of
education in helping Britain to adapt to its role as a post-industrial society. The loss
of millions of manufacturing jobs in the 1980s created an urgent need for an
education system that equipped all school-leavers for the demands of a modern
economy. Central government now plays a more important role in an education
policy at the expensive of local authorities and individual head teachers, and many
people in the teaching profession feel that the many changes introduced by
government make their job harder.
3.2 The most Important Universities in English World Countries
3.2.1 University of Cambridge
In 1209 a group of scholars, looking for a refuge from hostile
townsmen in Oxford, congregated at Cambridge for the purpose of
studying. The University of Cambridge is a public research university
in Cambridge, England. It is the second-oldest university in the UK.
By 1226, the students were numerous enough to set up an
organization that was represented by an official called a Chancellor, and to arrange
r courses of study. Cambridge’s status was enhanced by a charter in 1231 from
King Henry III of England. In 1284, Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founded
Peterhouse, the first College at Cambridge. Over the succeeding centuries,
another 30 colleges would be founded. For instance, in 1441 Henry VI founded
King’s College, laying the first stone of the chapel in 1446. The most recent
College, Robinson, was founded in 1979.It’s interesting to note that in the early
centuries students at Cambridge University were taught in Latin.
The University of Cambridge is rich in history. Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) first
attended Cambridge in 1661. Together with his
followers, he pursued diverse scientific
investigations and the University saw a rapid
expansion in the number of professorships in
mathematics and the sciences, many of them
were made possible through private donators.
Mathematics came to dominate studies in that
Initially, only male students were enrolled into
the university, but there were some colleges for women:.Girton College (founded
by Emily Davies) in 1869 and Newnham
College in 1872 (founded by Anne Clough
and Henry Sidgwick).
Cambridge has 31 colleges but in three of
them, Murray Edwards, Newnham and Lucy
Cavendish, only women are admitted. The
other colleges are mixed, though most were originally all male. Darwin was the
first college to admit both men and women.
The alumni of the University often become very successful. Among other
famous alumni are John Harvard (who later founded Harvard University), the poet
John Milton and many of the most important scientific discoveries and revolutions
were made by Cambridge alumni. Some of them include understanding the
scientific method, by Francis Bacon; the laws of motion and development of
calculus by Sir Isaac Newton; the discovery of the electron, by J. J. Thomson; the
splitting of atom, by Ernest Rutherford and the nucleus, by Sir John Cockcroft and
Ernest Walton; the unification of electromagnetism, by James Clerk Maxwell; the
discovery of hydrogen, by Henry Cavendish and the theory of Evolution by natural
selection, by Charles Darwin.
Students from the university have won Nobel prizes, Fields Medals, Abel Prizes
and many more prestigious awards. Cambridge University has more graduates that
go on to become Nobel Laureates than any other university in the world – with 61
so far. That is 13 more than the next best
which is Harvard University. The first Nobel
Laureate from Cambridge University was
Lord Rayleigh, who discovered Argon in the
1904, this was followed by JJ Thomson in
1906, who investigates the electrical
conductivity of gases. In 1932, both Lord
Adrian and Charles Sherrington were
awarded Nobel Laureates for their work on
the function of neurons.
Two of the most influential Nobel Laureate winners from this University were
Howard Florey and Ernst Chain, who together discovered penicillin. The discovery
of penicillin has undoubtedly changed modern society. Other Nobel Laureate
winners from Cambridge include: James Chadwick (discovered the neutron); John
Hicks (discovered equilibrium theory); Charles Barkla (discovered the
characteristics of X-rays); and most recently, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan for his
studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.
Some of Britain’s leading politician’s studied at Cambridge University – including the
first Prime Minister – Robert Walpole and fifteen additional British Prime Ministers.
Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector was also a graduate of Cambridge, over 25 foreign
Heads of Government graduated from this University, including the current Prime
Ministers of Jordan, Singapore and India as well as the Presidents of Trinidad and
Tobago and Zambia.
Many of the world’s best known and loved
writers and poets were graduates from
Cambridge. C.S. Lewis who is best known for
writing the Chronicles of Narnia was a
Professor of Medieval and Renaissance
English in this University. E.M. Forster – best
known for his book ‘Howards End’ – studied at
Cambridge between 1897 and 1901. Another
famous writer who graduated from Cambridge University was John Boynton Priestley
best known for his books ‘An Inspector Calls’ and ‘The Good Companions’. Other
writers include: C.P. Snow, Iris Murdoch, A.A. Milne, Jin Yong and Christopher
Isherwood. Modern-day writers include: Nick Hornby, Robert Harris, Alan Bennett, A.S.
Byatt, Sir Peter Shaffer and Douglas Adams. There are some poets that attended
Cambridge University. Some of the best known include: Robert Herrick, Thomas Gray,
Cecil Day-Lewis, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Lord Byron.
Stephen Hawking became the Lucasian Professor of
Mathematics in 1979 and continues his pioneering research
on singularities and black holes; in 1988 he published the best
seller book “A Brief History of Time”.
The Cambridge´s motto is Hinclucemetpocula sacra (latin)
“From here, light and sacred draugths”. The Duke of Edinburg
is the Cambridge´s Chancellor and Professor, Sir
LeszekBorysiewicz is Vice-Chancellor. In addition to the 31
colleges, the university is made up of over 150 departments, faculties, schools,
syndicates and other institutions. Approximately 17 % of students are foreign. In 2009
the University of Cambridge celebrated its 800th anniversary.
3.2.2 University of Oxford
Oxford is considered the oldest university in the English-speaking world; Oxford is a
unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed
at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned
English students from attending the University of Paris.
The University of Oxford assumed a leading role in the Victorian era, especially in
religious controversy. From 1833 onwards the Oxford Movement sought to revitalize the
Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church. One of its leaders, John Newman, became a
Roman Catholic in 1845 and was later made a Cardinal. In 1860 the new University
Museum was the scene of a famous debate between Thomas Huxley, champion of
evolution, and Bishop Wilberforce.
From 1878, academic halls were established for women and they were admitted to
full membership of the University in 1920. Five all-male colleges first admitted women in
1974and, since then, all colleges have changed their statues to admit both women and
men. St Hilda´s College, which was originally for only women, was the last of Oxford´s
single sex colleges. It has admitted both men and women since 2008. During the 20th
and early 21st century, Oxford added to its humanistic core a major new research
capacity in the natural and applied sciences, including medicine. In so doing, it has
enhanced and strengthened its role as an international focus for learning and a forum
for intellectual debate.
The Oxford´s motto is Dominus
Illuminatio Mea (latin) “The Lord is my
light”. The Rt. Hon Lord Patten of
Barnes is the Oxford´s Chancellor.
There are thirty colleges of the
University Oxford and six Permanent
Private Halls, each controlling its
membership and with its own internal
structure and activities. The heads of
Oxford are known by various provide
social, cultural and recreational
activities for their members.
Oxford was founded by
William of Durham.
Throughout its history, Oxford has produced gifted men and women in every
sphere of human endeavour who have studied or taught at the University. Among these
there are 26 British Prime Ministers, including the current one, Rt Hon David Cameron
MP; at least 30 international leaders; 49 Nobel Prize winners; 7 current holders of the
Order of Merit; al least 12 saints and 20 Archbishops of Canterbury; and some 120
Olympic medal winners.
At least 117 Oxonians were elected to Parliament in the UK's General Election in
2010, and more than 140 sit in the House of Lords. The offices of Prime Minister,
Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer are all currently
held by Oxford graduates, as are those of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate
Change, Secretary of State for Education, Secretary of State for Transport, Secretary of
State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
In addition, at least two members of the US House of Representatives, three members
of the US Senate and one US State Governor were educated at Oxford.
between 17th & 18th Centuries.
Some of them are Edmund Halley,
scientist who discovered the
circulation of the blood; Robert
Hooke, scientist. In the 20th & 21st
Centuries some graduated from
Oxford are Dame Josephine
Barnes, first female President of the
British Medical Association; Sir Tim
Berners-Lee, inventor of the World
Wide Web; Professor Stephen
Hawking, physicist.
The Prime Minister in the 2013
in the United Kingdom, David
Cameron was a graduated
student from Oxford.
In politics some graduated are Bill Clinton, President of the United States, 19932001; John Kufuor, President of Ghana 2001-2009; Hon Raymond Robinson, President
of Trinidad and Tobago, 1997-2003; Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India,
Other graduated are William Golding, Nobel Prize-winning novelist; Mark Thompson,
Director-General of the BBC; Sir Kingsley Amis, Monica Ali, Sir Kingsley Amis, William
Boyd, Graham Greene, Mark Haddon, Joseph Heller, Aldous Huxley, HariKunzru are
important authors; W H Auden, Sir John Betjeman, Edmund Blunden, Cecil Day Lewis,
Wendy Cope, T S Eliot poets; Emilia Fox, Hugh Quarshie, Rosamund Pike, Hugh Grant
Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane, Alentejo Blue and In the Kitchen
Stephen Hawking, physicist and author of
the bestseller, A Brief History of Time
The Nobel Prize has been awarded every year since 1901 for
achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and
peace. It is an international award administered by the Nobel
Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. Oxford University have Nobel Prize winners in
Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Medicine, Peace and Physics.
Lester B Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada, 1963-1968, and
winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Oliver Smithies, winner of the Nobel Prize for
Medicine in 2007
Aung San SuuKyi, winner of the Nobel
Prize for Peace in 1991
V.S. Naipaul, winner of the Nobel Prize for
Literature in 2001
Another important University in English speaking world is not located in the United
Kingdom, it is located in The United States of America and it is considered the best
university in the world: Harvard University.
3.2.3 University of Harvard
Harvard was established in 1636. It is located in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, United States. The name Harvard comes from the
college’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of
Charlestown. Upon his death in 1638, he left his library and half of his
estate to the institution established in 1636 by vote of the Great and
General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The mission of Harvard College is to create knowledge, to open minds of students to
the knowledge, and to enable students to take best advantage of their educational
opportunities. To these ends, the College encourages students to respect ideas and
their free expression, and to rejoice in discovery and in critical thought; to pursue
excellence in a spirit of productive cooperation; and to assume responsibility for the
consequences of personal actions. Education at Harvard should liberate students to
explore, to create, to challenge, and to lead.
In April 2012, Harvard and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
announced EdX, a partnership created to offer online learning to millions of people
around the world. EdX will offer Harvard and MIT classes online for free, with as broad
an initial set of courses as possible. The first courses are scheduled to be announced in
early summer and will start in fall, 2012.
They understand that the through of financing four years of college can be an
attractive prospect for anyone, and they are eager to help students and their family
understand their financial aid programs and assist them in finding ways to meet their
college costs. Financial Aid Initiative for low and moderate income students from
families with incomes currently below $60,000 are not expected to contribute to college
costs. Beginning in the fall of 2012, financial aid will be further expanded for low income
students, when this income level will be increased to $65,000.
Families with students on scholarship pay an average of $11,500 annually toward
the cost of a Harvard Education. More than 60 percent of Harvard College students
receive scholarship aid, and the average grant this year is $40,000. Since 2007,
Harvard´s investment in financial aid has climbed by more than 70 percent, from $96.6
million per year.
During the 2012-2013 academic year, students from families with incomes below
$65,000 will generally pay nothing toward the cost of attending Harvard College.
Families with incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 will contribute from 0 to 10
percent of income, depending on individual circumstances. Significant financial aid also
is available for families above those incomes ranges. The total 2011-2012 cost of
attending Harvard College without financial aid is $36,305 for tuition and $52,652 for
tuition, room, board and fees combined.
Harvard College has around 21,000 students. Harvard University is made up of 11
principal academic units –ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Drew Gilpin Faust (woman) is the Harvard University President. Its Library is the largest
academic library in the United States (17 million volumes), and the second largest
library in the country.
These are some famous graduated students from Harvard University
Eight U.S. Presidents have graduated from Harvard and 44 Nobel Laureates have
been affiliated.
Mexican Presidents that have graduated from Harvard are Felipe Calderon, Carlos
Salinas de Gortari and Miguel de la Madrid.
John Adams (October 30, 1735-July 4, 1826). He was an American politician, was
the country’s second President (1797-1801).John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767February 23, 1848) was the sixth U.S. President (1825-1829).
Rutherford B. Hayes (October 4, 1822-January 17, 1893).
An American politician, lawyer, and military leader,
Rutherford Birchard Hayes served as the 19th President of the
United States (1877-1881).
Theodore “Teddy”Roosevelt (October
27, 1858-January 6, 1919), the 26th
President of the United States (19011909),
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882-April 12,
1945) was the only American president elected to more than two terms, serving in office
from 1933-1945. He was also the 44th Governor of New York (January 1, 1929CULTURA INGLESA
December 31st, 1932), Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1913-1920), and New York
State Senator (January 1, 1911-March 17, 1913).
John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917-November 22, 1963)
John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy, often referred to as JFK,
served as the 35th President of the United States until his
George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) was the 43rd
President of the United States (2001-2009). Bush is the eldest
son of the 41st U.S. President, George H.W. Bush.
Barack Obama (born August 4, 1961)
Barack Hussein Obama II, the 44th and current
President of the United States (assumed January 20th,
2009), is the first African American to ever hold the office.
Obama was previously a United States Senator from Illinois
(January 3rd, 2005-November 16th, 2008), and Member of
the Illinois Senate from the 13th district (January 8th, 1997November 4th, 2004). His acts of legislation signed into law
are known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (February, 2009), and the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (March, 2010). On October 8th, 2009 he was
awarded the year’s Nobel Peace Prize, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen
international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
Felipe Calderon (born August 18th, 1962)
On December 1st. 2006, Felipe de Jesus Calderon
Hinojosa assumed office as the current President of
Mexico. Throughout the course of his term, Calderon has
worked to reform the state judicial system, strengthen the
energy sector, increase jobs, and fight crime and drug
cartels. His career has been involved with the National
Action Party (PAN), serving in various positions. He was elected for one six-year term,
without the possibility of re-election, ending in 2012.
William Henry “Bill” Gates III (born
October 28, 1955) , an American
business magnate and philanthropist,
was the Co-founder (1975) with Paul
President (1977-1982), and CEO
(1992-1998) of Microsoft Corporation,
one of the most recognized brands in
the computer industry.
Some famous actors graduated
from Harvard University are
Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd,
Matt Damon, Natalie Portman.
Gates is the author of two books: The Road Ahead (1995), and Business @ the
Speed of Thought (1999). He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest
UNIT # 4
4.1 Inventions from the United Kingdom
Activity 29. Gadgets that make your life easier.
Write 30 words about each invention.
1) Do you know the next five inventions?
2) Write as much as you know about them and
their benefits for you.
3) Take 30 minutes to complete the next task.
4.2 Inventors and Inventions from United Kingdom
Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) was an English
businessman who invented a machine in 1769 using
water power for spinning cotton, which had been spun
by hand until then. He built his own factory and became
one of the early leaders of the Industrial Revolution.
Bessemer(1813-98) was an
Engineer and Inventor, best
for inventing the Bessemer
in 1855, a way of making steel
through melted iron
to remove the other
substances from it.
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) a Scientist and Inventor who is
best known for inventing the Telephone in 1876. He was born in
Scotland but from 1872 he moved to the US, where he later started
the Bell Telephone Company which became one of the largest
companies in America.
George Boole (1815-64) was an English mathematician who invented
a type of mathematical logic known as Boolean Algebra in 1854. A
simple form that later became the language of computers.
Frank Whittle is well known for being an English engineer,
best known for inventing the jet engine in 1929, the type of
engine now used in most aircraft, which gives forward
movement by releasing a stream of gases at high speed
behind it.
John Cockroft (1897-1967) was an English scientist who Ernest Walton
succeeded with in splitting the atom at the Cavendish Laboratory in
1932. He was later closely involved with Britain’s nuclear energy
program and was the first director of the research center at Harwell.
James Watt was a Scottish inventor whose work played an important
part in the development of the steam engine in 1774. His designs for
engines improved on those in existence at the time because they used
much less fuel. Watt’s engines were the first to be suitable for use in
factories and were therefore one of the major advances in industry that
led to the Industrial Revolution.
George Stephenson was born on June 9th, 1781, in the
coal mining village of Wylam, England. Wagons loaded
with coal passed through Wylam several times a day.
These wagons were drawn by horses -- locomotives had
not yet been invented. George Stephenson's first job was
to watch over a few cows owned by a neighbor which
were allowed to feed along the road; George was paid
two cents a day to keep the cows out of the way of the
coal-wagons; and also, to close the gates after the day's work of the wagons was over.
In 1813, George Stephenson became aware that William Hedley and Timothy
Hackworth were designing a locomotive for the Wylam coal mine. So at the age of
twenty, George Stephenson began the construction of his first locomotive. It should be
noted that at this time in history, every part of the engine had to be made by hand, and
hammered into shape just like a horseshoe.
Charles Darwin was an
English Naturalist who
developed the theory of
selection. As a young
man he spent five years
on a British ship. HMS
Beagle (the ship) visited coats and
islands in the southern part of the world.
The different types of animals and plants
that he found, especially in the
Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, led him
to believe that living things develop
differently in different places over long
periods of time.
City Technology College (CTC)
is in Britain and is a Type of
secondary school in a town or
city that puts a special emphasis
on teaching mathematics ,
technology and science .
Darwin returned to England in 1836 and spent the next 23 years collecting evidence to
support his theory. When he published On the Origin of
Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) it caused much
argument and anger because it seemed to disagree with the
story of creation in the Bible. Most people now accept the
main points of Darwin’s Theory, and many see it and the Bible
as two ways of saying the same thing, but others, especially in
the US, interpret the Bible account literally and believe that
only creationism, also called creation science, should be
taught in schools.
Richard Trevithick was an English engineer who was the first man to
develop steam engines into vehicles carrying passengers. The first of
these were to be used on roads, but in 1804 he built the first steam
engine that moved on rails.
Barnes Wallis was an English engineer. He designed some of the most important
aircraft and weapons of World War II, including the Wellington and Wellesley bombers
and a bouncing bomb used to destroy dams. After the war he invented the ‘swing-wing’
aircraft and helped to design Concorde.
William Thomson was a British physicist and inventor. He did much work on the laws of
thermodynamics and in 1848 produced a temperature scale that
later became known as the Kelvin Scale. He also did important
work in the areas of magnetism and electricity. He invented many
scientific instruments, especially for use at sea, and was involved
in the laying of the first cable under the Atlantic.
English chemist Humphrey Davy
was one of the first scientists to
make use of electricity to break
chemical compounds into their
separate elements. Between 1807
and 1808 he discovered six
calcium, potassium and sodium.
UMIST (the University of Manchester
Institute of Science and Technology): a
former university in Manchester, northwest England which was established in
1824 to provide training in engineering
and other subjects and became famous
for its scientific research.
However, he is better known for a practical invention that
saved many lives in 1815: the Davy Lamp, a safe lamp to be
used in coal mines. This was widely used in mines until it
was replaced by the electric lamp in the 20th century.
Dorothy Hodgkin was an English
scientist who did important work on the structure of crystals. She
discovered the structure of penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin. In
1964 she received the Nobel Prize for chemistry.
William Herschel was a British astronomer, born in Germany.
He was originally a musician but became an astronomer by studying the
sky through telescopes he made himself. He discovered Uranus, the
first new planet to be identified since ancient times, and proved the
existence of double stars after becoming the official astronomer to King
George III.
Bernard Lovell was an English astronomer. He
helped to develop radar during World War II and later
established the famous radio telescope at Jodrell
Bank to study radio waves sent out by objects in
other parts of the universe. He is the author of several
books in science and astronomy.
D&T (Design and Technology) is
a subject taught in British
secondary schools. In it, pupils
learn how to design and make
things, usually in metal or wood.
Edmond Halley was an English astronomer and mathematician who
was a close friend of Isaac Newton. He is best remembered for
Halley’s Comet, which was named after him. A comet is a bright
object that moves through space round the sun with a tail of burning
gas and dust. Halley correctly predicted that this one would return
regularly to be seen in the night sky approximately every 76 years.
Francis Crick was an English scientist. His work with James
Watson at the Cavendish Laboratory led to the discovery of
the structure of DNA in 1953. Crick, Watson and Maurice
Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize for this work in 1962. Crick’s
later career involved work on the visual system and the brain,
and he published a book.
Rowland Hill was a British Post Office worker who invented the
postage stamp, originally costing one penny. Before this, postage
was paid by the person receiving a letter or parcel. Hill was made a
knight in 1860.
Alexander Fleming was a Scottish scientist who
became well known for discovering penicillin, the
first antibiotic that successfully killed
bacteria and cured infections. He
shared the Nobel Prize in 1945 for
medicine with two colleagues who
helped him to develop the use of
Dobly is an electronic system
that reduces noise to improve the
sound of tape recordings , films ,
etc. It was invented in London by
Ray Dobly (1933-) , a recording
engineer born in the US.
Jane Goodall is remembered as a British scientist who became famous for her study of
chimpanzees. She discovered that these animals can use tools. Before her studies,
people thought that these animals could not use tools. Before her studies, people
thought that only humans understood how to make and use tools with their hands. At
the age of 23, she met Dr. Louis Leakey on a trip to
Africa and became his assistant. Then she went to
Gombe National Park in Tanzania in 1960. She lived
and worked there studying how chimpanzees live. She
has won many prizes for her work and in 1977 she
started the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research,
Education and Conservation. She was made a dame in
JJ Thomson was an English physicist who won the Nobel Prize for
physics in 1906 for discovering the electron. He was also
responsible for running the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge,
England, which became the world’s leading center for research
into atomic physics. His son George Thomson (1892-1975) and
seven of his assistants all won Nobel Prizes.
Geoffrey de Havilland
(1882-1965) was a
British aircraft designer
produced many of Britain’s best-Known aircraft
He started the company after designing planes in
World War I , and it produced the Mosquito
fighter plane during World Wide II and them the
Comet , the world’s first passenger jet plane. His
company is now part of BAE Systems.
Martin Ryle was an English
astronomer. His work helped to
establish the “big bang” theory,
which argues that all the matter
in the universe exploded form a
tiny point many millions of years
4.3 Inventors and Inventions from the United States of America
George Eastman was an American who invented a camera small
enough to carry and film in a flexible roll. He started a company in 1884
that later became the Eastman Kodak company. His Kodak box camera
was first sold in 1881 and the Brownie camera in the 1900. This made
photography available to many ordinary people for the first time.
Richard Feynman (1918-88) was a US Physicist who began the first
research into quantum electrodynamics. He shared the 1965 Nobel
Prize for physics for his work in this field. His Feynman diagrams help
to explain the behavior of substances and light during World War II,
Feynman Worked on the Manhattan Project. In 1986, he was a member of the
Committee that investigated the explosion of the Challenger Spacecraft.
James D Watson is well known for being a US scientist who did
important work on DNA (=the substance in the human body that passes
from parents to children and makes it possible to identify every individual
human being). He worked mainly at the Cavendish Laboratory in
Cambridge, England, and in 1962, with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, he won the
Nobel Prize for medicine for his work.
Henry Ford was the American
who created the Ford car in 1885
and changed the motor industry by
introducing new ways of making
cars in great numbers. He began
the Ford Motor Company in 1903
and five years later produced the
first Model T. He became very rich
and successful, and established the
international Ford Foundation.
Technology) is a US university known
especially for its science courses and
research. It was established in 1861 in
Boston and moved in 1916 to
Cambridge, Massachusetts, close to
Harvard University. It is considered to be
one of the best science and technology
universities in the world.
R Buckminster Fuller was an engineer from US and inventor of devices and buildings
that made the most efficient use of materials. His best-known inventions include the
geodesic dome and the Dymaxion House. Fuller also created the
idea of ‘Spaceship Earth’ which imagines all people on earth as
travelers together through space. He was awarded the Presidential
Medal of Freedom in 1983.
Tomas Edison (1847-1931) was a famous US inventor. His
inventions included a machine for reproducing sound, the electric
light bulb and the kinescopic camera which was later used in
cinemas .He produced the first talking films in 1912. His famous
phrase “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety per cent
Albert Einstein(1879-1955) a physicist, born in Germany, who was
possibly the greatest scientist of the 20th century. In 1905 he
published his theory of relativity. This led to equation giving the
relation between mass and energy (E=mc²) which is the basis of
atomic energy. Einstein suggested how it could be used for making
weapons, but after World War II he spoke publicity against nuclear
weapons, 1917, he had become famous all over the world. He was given the Nobel
Prize for Physics in 1921. When Hitler came to power, Einstein, who was Jewish, went
to live to US, becoming US citizen in 1940. In 1933 he wrote a book called why war?
with Sigmund Freud. He became a professor at Princeton University in 1934, and he
spent the rest of his life looking, without success, for a theory that combined those of
gravitation and electromagnetism. In 1952 he was offered the presidency, the position
of president of the state of Israel, but he did not accept it.
Samuel Colt was
an American who
invented the revolver
container for bullets
that turns) in 1835. It
called the colt ‘six shooter’ because it
could hold six bullets. Another name
for it was the ‘The Great Equalizer’.
“Any customer can have a car
painted any color that he wants
so long as it is black.” –Henry
Ford on the Model T Ford
It was first used by the US Army in the Mexican War. Colt built the world’s largest
factory in 1855 at Hartford, Connecticut, where the colt company is still based.
Isaac Asimov (1920-92) was a US writer of science fiction who
invented the word Robotics
Dolby is an electronic system that reduces noise to improve the sound
of tape recordings, films, etc. It was invented in London by Ray Dolby
(1933-), a recording engineer born in the US.
James Dyson was
an English designer
and inventor who
developed a vacuum
which works without a bag and it´s
therefore more efficient. Called the
Dyson, it was first made in Japan
and is now a best- selling make of
vacuum cleaner in many countries.
The first successful airplane was
invented by the Wright brothers
(Orville & Wilbur) and they was
making first controlled.
Bill Gates is a US businessman who, in association with Paul Allen, started the
Microsoft Corporation when he was only 19 on April 4th, 1975. Microsoft is a company
dedicated to the computer industry and it is established in Redmond Washington, USA.
Microsoft was the creator of the operating system windows. This product is being used
as Microsoft Windows operating system. He is thought to be the richest person in the
world. His foundation called Gates Foundation, gives money to educational and health
projects. He was made an honorary knight by the British government in 2005.
Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google Funders) were two doctoral students in computer
from Stanford University who improved searches. Coordination and advice were due to
Mexican Hector Garcia Molina on September 4th, 1998. They had a server with 80
CPUs and two HP routers. This search engine beat a more popular time Altavista,
which was created in 1995.
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (May 14th,1984) is a programmer and American businessman
known as the creator of Facebook. To develop the network, Zuckerberg had the support
of his fellows from Harvard Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. He is
currently the youngest person listed on Forbes with a fortune valued at more than 6,900
million dollars.
4.4 Patenting an Invention
When someone invents something, it can be patented. A patent is a property right
granted by the Government of a country to an inventor to exclude others from making,
using, offering for sale, or selling the invention without his permission for a limited time.
Getting a patent requires a process. First, a review is done in order to check in a list the
things that can and cannot be patented and then, it is determined if the invention falls
into of one of the patenting categories, after that the candidate receives the basics of
the patenting process from the material provided by the organization in charge of giving
the patents.. A typical patent application takes 2 or 3 years grant, however the
procedure may be accelerated as explained above. There is generally a time limit of 4
½ years from the application´s earliest date, finally after a patent application if the
invention has passed all the rules and the cost for this process has been paid, the
person gets a Patent for a period of time.
There is an organization in each country for getting a Patent. Intellectual Property
Office (IPO) is the organization in England for getting a Patent. In the United States of
America it is the USPTO (United States Property and Trademark Office) and in Mexico
the IMPI (Instituto de la Propiedad Intelectual). In the United Kingdom if you have a
granted patent, you must renew it every year after the 5 th year for up to 20 years
protection. A patent UK is a territorial right that only gives protection to the invention in
the UK.
An invention can be patented only if it is new, if it has an inventive step that is not
obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject and if it has the
capacity of being made or used in some kind of industry.
An invention cannot be patented if it is a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory
or method, a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, a way of performing mental act,
playing a game or doing business, an animal or plant variety.
The story is told of E. M. Forster that, once when he was asked why he wrote,
he replied he did so in order to find out what he thought. So it is with expressive
culture, though the object is not so much to discover thoughts as it is to discover
feelings. We dance and sing, enact and tell stories, create images and statues, to
make our feelings known to one another, and thereby to ourselves. (C. Geertz; The
Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays 1973)
In today’s world the music and the movies are two of the most influential
platforms globally. They influence the society, mostly the youth with fashion trends,
gadgets, language and also cultural and economic development.
People have been creating music almost as long as there have been people,
probably for at least a hundred thousand years ago. The earliest music was
probably clapping hands and singing. Soon people also began to bang on hollow
logs and knock sticks together to make louder sounds; these were the earliest
percussion instruments.
5.1 Music
Music is one universal language of mankind. Throughout the world's history
many styles have been developed.
How to describe what music is?
All music is based in Sounds, and all sounds start with the vibration of an object,
such as a table that is pounded or a string that is plucked. The vibrations are
transmitted to the ears by a medium (usually air) and the ear catches the
waves/vibrations, the eardrums start vibrating and it creates impulses or signals
that are transmitted to the brain. There the impulses are selected, organized, and
The music is part of this world of sound, an it`s based on the organization of
sounds in time. As the entire world’s music, the past century created an extreme
evolution in sounds and styles fusion. From hillbilly, rock & roll, through punk rock
and heavy metal; to folk, folk rock, progressive rock, Britpop, boy bands, to rap,
electronic and drum and bass music, among some other new styles.
British Music: Leading the Musical Revolution
In the mind of many people who are interested in the evolution of the rock and
roll, the year 1965 was the beginning, the birth of a revolution, and it´s because
there was a whole generation coming on age and blossoming that all of this was
In 1965 there was a generation of adolescents in the United Kingdom that had
grown listening to the blues of the black Americans and thanks to this they
invented their own sound which was charged with the emotions of the moment,
adrenaline and rebellion. “The Who” were the responsible of introducing the
attitude and the volume, “The Rolling Stones” came with the arrogance and sex.
This new Sound was a revolution which ended up changing and influencing
everything from the political thoughts to the ways of living of the people, this sound
was called “Rock”.
British music has evolved across many styles over the past century and then
many styles have evolved from Britain led by British musicians. And this is only one
genre of music! In the classical music world, musicians and composers have
continually worked with different styles and instrumentation – looking backwards as
well as forwards to interpret and re-interpret the classical sound.
Rock and Roll
The major movement in rock and roll in Britain was due to the impact of The
Beatles in popular music at that time and their impact upon popular culture too.
Thanks to this new wave of rock and roll in the sixties, many other acts of a similar
genre emerged: The Rolling Stones, Queen, The Yardbirds, Alan Price and The
The 1970s decade gave us new styles influenced by a more relaxed and
confused youth, with groups like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.
And singers in the scene like Rod Stewart, David Bowie and Elton John.
Rock and roll in Britain at that time started as a liberation from pre-war austerity;
teenagers could dance, drink and smoke, and enjoy the new sounds and
freethinking lyrics of these bands and singers. The era momentum coincided with
the advent of the pill and the sexual liberation creating a big part of this intoxicating
The Beatles
One of the most representative groups of music
were The Beatles, it was an English rock band known
as the most commercially successful and critically
acclaimed in the history of popular music. The band
was formed in Liverpool in 1962 by John Lennon
(rhythm guitar, piano, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass,
vocalist, pianist), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals)
and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals).
“Yesterday” is a song by British rock band The Beatles, recorded in 1965 for the
Album Help!. Although authorship is usually attributed to John Lennon and Paul
McCartney, Yesterday is the song over the radio broadcasts worldwide, with over
six million emissions in the USA.
The Beatles have been a source of inspiration for many groups who have felt
identified with them because of their innovations and they have even tended
successfully with some versions of song by the Beatles.
The Rolling Stones
The name of the band comes from a song by Muddy
Waters, after the creation of the group; the band found
itself playing in places like the crown night club. In 1964 the
cover of the song “Little Red Rooster” reach the top on the
lists, their career took off and a new band called “The Yarbirds” came to take their
same place, after this success multiple arrests caused by drugs, sexual escapades
and other similar cases were the reason the band started to have more confidence
about what they could play and they began to experiment on the creative liberty of
writing their songs.
The Stones were increasingly good composers and they were prepared to take
risks. They started writing arrogant and rebellious songs like “I can´t get no
satisfaction”, their first song that was really good, talking from a commercial point
of view. The legendary riff of the song came to Keith Richards in a dream and
became one of the mythical sounds of the movement.
Queen is a British rock band
formed in London in 1971,
originally consisting of Freddie
Mercury (lead vocals, piano),
Brian May (guitar, vocals), John
Deacon (bass guitar, vocals) and
Roger Taylor (drums, vocals)
Queen´s earliest works were
influenced by progressive rock,
but the band gradually ventured
into more conventional and radiofriendly works, incorporating
more diverse and innovative
styles in their music.
Freddie Mercury died of
bronchopneumonia, a
complications of AIDS.
Their 1977 album “News of the World” contained two rock´s most recognizable
songs, “We will rock you” and “We are the champions”, this last song is a ballad
composed by Freddie Mercury and it´s one of his most famous and popular song in
the world.
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on
March 25th, 1947) is an English singer, composer and pianist.
Both of John´s parents were musically inclined. John started
playing the piano at the age of 3, and within a year, his mother
heard him picking out Winifred Atwell´s “The Skater´s Waltz”
by ear. He showed musical aptitude at school, including the
ability to compose melodies, and gained some notoriety by playing like Jerry Lee
Lewis at school functions. At the age of 11, he won a junior scholarship to the
Royal Academy of Music.
John´s voice was once classed
as tenor, it is now baritone. His
piano playing is influenced by
classical and gospel music. He
used Paul Buckmaster to arrange
the music on his studio albums
during the 1970´s.Elton John
performed his song “Candle in the
Wind” at the funeral of Princess
Diana in 1997 and the song went
“We are the champions” has
become an anthem for sporting
victories, was the official song of
World Cup 1994.
on to become an international
best-seller. John (like Paul
McCartney) was knighted by
Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.
In the 21st century he has contributed to perform widely, doing a long series of
Brit Pop
Britpop started in the early 1980's and last until late 1990s, with the rise of
several bands such as U2, Oasis, Blur and the Cranberries, who heralded a new
movement of British pop bands, having his top with a very huge phenomenon, the
Bands and singers that have emerged since 2000 includes: Razorlight,
Coldplay, The Streets, James Morrison, James Blunt, The Arctic Monkeys, The
Fratellis, the late Amy Winehouse, and Adele. And others with a less exposure like
Dido, The Kaiser Chiefs, Blue, Franz Ferdinand, Joss Stone and Keane.
5.2 British Festivals of Music
5.2.1 Glastonbury
Glastonbury is the Most Famous British Music Festival, and the top of all British
music festivals. The first Glastonbury festival was held in 1970, the day after Jimi
Hendrix died. Attendance at the first Glastonbury festival was a mere 1500 people
compared with the 150,000 in the last years.
The four day festival attracts the biggest names in music; this is why tickets are
usually sold out within a matter of hours. Attendees who do manage to get their
hands on tickets can usually expect some rain and mud and the musical
experience of a lifetime.
5.2.2 Coachella
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, is an annual three-day music and
arts festival, organized by Goldenvoice the third weekend or the last week of April.
The event features many genres of music; including rock, indie, hip hop and
electronic music, as well as sculptural art.
The event has several stages-tents each one playing live music continuously for
the duration of the festival. But the main stage is The Coachella Stage. The 2012
festival got an audience of 20,000 people.
5.2.3 Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza is an annual music festival featuring popular alternative rock, heavy
metal, punk rock and hip hop bands, dance and comedy performances. It has also
provided a platform for non-profit and political groups.
Conceived and created in 1991 by singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his
band, Lollapalooza ran annually until 1997, and was revived since 2003, attracting
more than 130,000 people in the 3 day event.
5.3 Movies in the United Kingdom
British film industry is one of the most respected in the world. Film production in
the UK has experienced ups and downs over time, there are different ways to
measure how successful the industry has been, and for example the number of
films produced every year. This could give the people an insight into all its
Audiences seem to have a great hour or two of entertainment when they watch
a black and white classic from the forties or fifties, or a newly released film. Films
make audiences laugh, cry, think, scream, relax and as a consequence they all
come out of a cinema or the theater happy because they had a good time while
watching the movie.
The first public performances of films before a paying audience in Great Britain
began at the Polytechnic in Upper Regent Street, central London, in February
1896. Consisting of short films made in France by the Lumière brothers and shown
via their Cinematographer equipment, the program was so successful that it was
transferred to the Empire music hall in Leicester Square as one of the top items on
the bill. A British inventor, R. W. Paul, showed films at Olympia the following month
via his rival system which was booked into the Alhambra music hall in Leicester
Square and elsewhere.
The new marvel of 'animated pictures' spread rapidly through travelling fairs,
through showmen hiring local halls for special shows, and through the music halls
everywhere. Once film had demonstrated its lasting appeal, businessmen began
taking over shops, halls and railway arches, painting over the windows and
otherwise rather crudely converting them into full-time cinemas.
Under the Cinematograph Act of 1909, new regulations came into effect in
January 1910 to improve safety. As the nitrate film stock being projected was
highly inflammable, the Act required the provision of a fire-resistant projection. This
legislation greatly encouraged the spread of purpose-built picture houses. These
usually had flamboyant exteriors to catch the eye, with payboxes open to the
street. As shows were made up of short films, including travelogues and news
items, and lasted only for an hour to 90 minutes (feature films began to arrive
around 1914), these cinemas were generally provided with tiny foyers and minimal
toilet facilities.
The auditoria had sloping floors and, usually, parallel side walls with decorated
panels separated by pilasters. Seating was rarely for more than a few hundred
patrons and balconies were not often provided.
All picture houses had a range of prices, commonly starting at 3d. (threepence)
and rising to 1s. (one shilling - 5p in decimal currency), with reduced prices for
children. The best seats in the house cost four times as much as the cheapest and
this was a pattern that prevailed until recent times. The cheap seats (at the front)
Unpleasant body odors, dense cigarette smoke and a lack of fresh air were
problems that could be alleviated by opening windows, and sometimes a ceiling
dome or sliding roof.
Films were usually projected onto a whitewashed plaster screen on the back
wall of the stage. They were accompanied by a pianist or small orchestra.
Sometimes, sound effects (such as coconut shells to imitate horses' hoofs) were
added from the side. Members of the audience would commonly read out the
subtitles for the benefit of illiterate companions.
After local authorities began banning and censoring films, the film industry in
1912 hurriedly set up the independent British Board of Film Censors to classify
films according to audience suitability, and its decisions have usually been
Permanent picture houses had appeared in virtually every town by the outbreak
of World War One in 1914, which put an end to new building schemes for the next
few years.
Unless they were rebuilt or enlarged, the early picture houses were usually
destined to become 'fleapits' because of their cramped facilities, compared to the
new cinemas of the 1920s and 1930s, which also took the best new films away
from them. Some early cinemas located in poor areas resorted to admitting
children in exchange for empty jam jars or other salvageable items.
Cinemas attracted the attention of promoters and many small regional circuits
were established, building new cinemas and acquiring existing ones. One of the
most active was the Pyke's circuit in London. The first national chain to emerge
was Provincial Cinematograph Theatres (PCT), which established a 'Picture
House' in the center of most major cities. These and individual new cinemas like
the West End in London's Coventry Street (1913) were built to a high standard to
attract the more affluent classes and featured a full orchestra to accompany the
'silent' films, private boxes at the rear, elegant decoration, cafés or tea rooms,
smoking lounges, ladies' only salons and even writing desks with free stationery.
The 1960's saw a huge boom in British film: the 'Kitchen Sink' realism promoted
through such classics such as the birth of James Bond in
1962 with 'Dr. No'. James Bond 007 is a fictional character
created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who was a British
intelligence employee at that time and featured him in twelve
novels and two short story collections. He wrote in just 3
months (between January 15th and March 18th, 1952) his
first Bond novel ‘Casino Royale’.
The fictional British Secret Intelligence Service agent has
also been used in the longest running and most financially
successful English-language film franchise to date. There have
been 22 films in the EON Productions series to date, the most
recent of which, Quantum of Solace, was released on 31
October 2008 (UK).
The first Bond movie was based on another of his novels of the same name “Dr.
No” in 1962. “Casino Royale”, was not made a movie until 2006. The complete list
of Bond movies is:
Dr.No (1962), From Russian with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball
(1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969),
Diamonds are forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden
Gun (1974), The Spy who loved me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For your eyes only
(1981), Octopussy (1983), Never Say Never Again
(1983) not official bond movie, A View to a kill
(1985), The Living Daylights (1987), License to Kill
(1989), Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies
(1997), The World is Not Enough (1999), Die
another Day (2002), Casino Royale (2006),
Quantum of Solance (2009) and Skyfall (2012).
The actors portraying the famous spy, all six have been from the United
Kingdom or the territories of English heritage. Sean Connery was the first in 1962
and continued until 1969, the unknown actor George Lazenby appeared in one
film. Roger Moore was the third one to take the job for seven movies. The next
actor to appear as Bond was Timothy Dalton just for 2 movies; after some years at
the middle of the 1990`s decade Pierce Brosnan took the part. And nowadays
Daniel Craig is the one who fills the spy shoes.
Another famous British film series is Harry Potter.
These movies are based on the book series of the same name written by J.K.
Rowling, they tell us the adventures of a wizard boy and his friends defying the evil
plans of Lord Voldemort. It is the most successful film series and all the eight
movies are in the top 50 of most grossing movies of all the times.
All the main actors in the 8 films were from United Kingdom. Almost all the
actors picked to fill the main characters appear in all the movies, the exception was
the laureate Richard Harris who died before the third movie started shooting.
The complete list of Harry Potter films is:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and
the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007),
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter
and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010), Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
Maybe you can remember some of the actors who appeared in the film. The kids
on the film: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton and Robert
Pattinson. Or the already famous adult stars like Gary Oldman, Jason Isaacs,
Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Emma Thomson, Helena Bonham Carter, Bill
Nighy, Maggie Smith, Richard Harris or Ralph Fiennes; All of them well known
talented and respected British actors.
There are few great movies
specifically about England, so
it´s concentrate on a particular
era or circumstance of England,
like Yanks, The Madness of King
George, V for Vendetta.
Many successful Hollywood films
have been based on British
people, stories or events,
including Titanic.
Many British actors have achieved international fame and critical success,
including Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, Lawrence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin, Alec
Guinness, Michael Caine, Peter Sellers and Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Orlando
Bloom, between others.
5.4 Actors and Actresses from the United Kingdom
Charles Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin (London, April 16, 1889-1977)
was a comedian, composer, producer, film director and English
writer best known for his popular performances during the silent
era. Since then, he has been considered of the most
representative figures of comedy.
He was known for his popular character Charlot and highlighted in films since
the early years of 1910 to 1950. He filmed around ninety films. He was one of the
founders of United Artist in 1919, his career spanned over seven decades and he
received an award from the Academy in1928. In 1972 he was awarded with the
Honorary Academy Award. He was knighted by the Queen Elizabeth II in 1975.
Alfred Hitchcock
He is known as “the Master of suspense”. Alfred Hitchcock was
one of the most respected and famous film directors in the world.
He was also an engineer. Actually, he worked in the engineering
field before he started in the film business in London in 1920.
He created over 50 films, including the Rear Window, The 39 Steps, Psycho,The
Man Who Knew Too Much and The Birds, even a television series: “Alfred
Hitchcock presents”. He received a lot of international awards including some Life
Achievement Awards before he died in 1980.
Hugh Laurie
He is an actor, writer, comedian and musician famous for his
role as Dr. Gregory House in the TV series "House".
Kate Beckinsale
She is an English actress who made raves because of
her beauty and acting talent. She has appeared in movies
like Pearl Harbor, Underworld, The Aviator and Van
Dame Julie Andrews
She is a British actress, stage actress and singer.
She was one of the most beloved awarded actresses
wining numerous awards like Golden Globes, Emmys,
Grammys, BAFTA, People’s Choice Award, Theater
World Award, SAG award and an Oscar. She began
acting as a child and appeared in many musicals one of
which is the Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins and movies like
Camelot and the Princess Diaries.
Dame "Judi" Dench
She isan award winning stage, TV and film
actress.She hasbeen considered as one of the
greatest British actress, she appeared in James Bond
movies as “M”.
Kate Winslet
She isan English actress considered one of the most
talented actresses. She has been nominated for her
various roles in several movies in which she appeared
several times. In her 30s she has already won an OSCAR,
a SAG award, BAFTA, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association award, and
she has been nominated for an Emmy too.
Ewan McGregor
He is a Scotch stage and film actor that first became
famous in Independent and art house films. He has
appeared in the movie Trainspotting and as the young
Obi-Wan Kenobi in the new Star Wars trilogy.
Anthony Hopkins
He is a Welsh film, stage and television actor and one of the
biggest stars in Hollywood. He portrayed the serial killer, Hannibal
Lecter in the movie "Silence of the Lambs", “Hannibal” and "The
Red Dragon". He also starred in Dracula, Legends of the Fall,
The Remains of the Day, Amistad, Nixon, etc.
Catherine Zeta Jones
She wasborn in Wales and after landing small roles in the
United Kingdom and the United States of America and she
finally became famous in films like “Entrapment", "Mask of
Zorro" and “Traffic”.
Christian Bale
He is a welsh actor who has appeared in numerous
big and small budgeted films such as the “Empire of the
Sun”, “the Machinist”, “The Fighter” and as Bruce Wayne
in the last 3 Batman Movies.
Liam Neeson
He is anactor who born in Northern Ireland. He is popularly
known as Oscar Schindler in the movie “Schindler´s List“, Qui
Gion Jinn in “Star Wars Episode I”, Ra´s al Ghul in “Batman
Begins” and has also starred in Rob Roy, Kingdom of Heaven,
and Taken.
Colin James Farrell
He is an actor from North Ireland who has appeared in
movies like: S.W.A.T, In Bruges, Phone Booth, Minority
Report, Daredevil, Miami Vice, Alexander and the 2012`s
reboot of Total Recall.
Some British films have had
huge commercial success in the
world. The seven highestgrossing films worldwide of all
dimension, whether historical,
cultural or creative. There are:
You can see some important
landmarks like London Bridge,
Tower Bridge and the Palace of
Westminster in the movies of
Harry Potter.
Two episodes of the Lord of the Rings
Two Pirates of the Caribbean
Two Harry Potter
Others famous movies that was making in England are Alice in Wonderland, 102
Dalmatians, Dracula. In 2009 British films grossed around $ 2 billion worldwide and
achieved a market share of around 7% globally and 17% in the United Kingdom.
UK box-office takings totaled £944 million in 2009, with around 173 million
admissions. The British Film Institute has produced a poll ranking what they
consider to be the 100 greatest British films of all time, the BFI Top 100 British
5.5 British Film Classification
The purpose of the British Board of Film Classification is to classify films into
various categories to provide an advance warning of what the audience might
expect in terms of suitability for particular age groups.
The history of British film censorship is as much social as cultural: the reasons
films were banned in the 1920s (revolutionary politics) and 1950s (nudity) say as
much about the society of the time as anything in the films
Classifications currently in use are Uc, U, PG, 12, 12A, 15, 18 and R18, but
quite a few more have been featured on film posters throughout the last century (H,
A, AA, and some others).
In chronological order, this is a complete list of official classifications:
U (1912-present) - This stood for 'Universal' and denoted that a film was suitable
for everyone.
PG (1982-present) - Replacing the old A certificate, this stood for 'Parental
Guidance'. Although anyone could be admitted, PG certificate films contained an
implicit warning that the film might contain material unsuitable for children.
15 (1982-present) - This replaced the old AA certificate, raising the age limit to
15 in the process.
18 (1982-present) - This replaced the old X certificate, barring people under
R18 (1982-present) - This classification was exclusively intended for videos that
could only be sold in licensed sex shops.
Uc (1985-present) - This denotes video releases deemed particularly suitable for
pre-school children.
12 (1989-present) - Introduced for cinema films in 1989 and video releases in
1994, this covers films that, while containing material deemed unsuitable for
children, were nonetheless considered appropriate for 12-year-olds and upwards.
12A (2002-present) - Introduced for cinema films, this replaced the theatrical 12
certificate and permitted children under twelve to see the films provided they were
accompanied by a responsible adult.
5.6 Television in United Kingdom
Public television broadcasting started in 1936, and now has a collection of free
and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there
are over 480 channels for consumers as well as on demand content. In UK there
are some broadcasting corporation like BBC, Independent Television (ITV), British
Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and UKTV.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
The BBC is the world´s oldest and biggest broadcaster, and is the country´s first
and largest public service broadcaster. The BBC is funded by a government grant;
it does not carry advertising. The grant is financed by the payment of a television
license fee that all households with a television must pay. However, the funds do
not go directly to the BBC but to the Treasury instead, via a government body
known as TV Licensing. The government has no legal duty to hand all or any this
revenue to the BBC but traditionally has done.
Its analogue channels are BBC One and BBC Two. The first began as a
television service, initially serving in London. The BBC´s mission is to enrich
people´s lives with programs that inform, educate and entertain. Actually the BBC
uses the income from the license fee to provide services including 8 national TV
channels plus regional programming, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio
stations and an extensive website. BBC World Service broadcasts to the world on
radio, on TV and online, providing news and information in 32 languages.
British television differs from other
countries, such as the United States, in as
much that programs produced in the UK
do not generally have a long ‘season’ run
around 20 weeks. The most popular TV
Eastenders, Top Gear, Coronation street,
Doctor Who, Question Time, Britain´s got
Talent, BBC News, Torchwood, Merlin, The BBC began in 1936, it
was closed during the World
Life on Mars, Spooks, Sherlock.
War II, but reopen in 1946.
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television series produced by the BBC.
The series tells the adventures of a Time Lord known as the Doctor who travels
around the universe in a time machine called the TARDIS. The series has been
awarded as one of the finest British television series and also it has received
recognition from the public as the best television series. The series is an important
part of British popular culture in the United Kingdom; it has made an important
influence in the generations of British professionals, many of whom grew up
watching the series.
Even the Doctor Who was only a TV series at first with the time has grown to a
full universe. During the years it has made presence in other TV programs, it has
been listened in radio, has produced many books and even comics. These
publications have been highly accepted by the fans that have created communities
with the single purpose of discuss the famous Doctor Who.