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Icons of Englishness

Levelled as 'national treasures', a new government website lists 12 icons that it claims sum up the essence of England, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2006 19:58 IST

Princess Diana, the Queen, the Indian curry, Big Ben and fish chips come to mind when most think of England. May be for some saucy postcards, West End, Trafalgar Square, the Bobby, Oxford Street and even its ethnicity cone to mind.

But, now a new government website has listed, to start with, 12 icons that it claims sum up the essence of England. They are called "national treasures".

Being set up at the cost of £1 million, the website called " ICONS- A Portrait of England" is the brainchild of Culture Online, an offshoot of the Department of Culture.

It also hopes to add 108 new items to incite debate on the designs, artwork and monuments that sum up the idea of "Englishness" and the symbols of English life.

People from all over have been invited to send their suggestions. There is no mention about John Bull or the stiff upper lip, which were the images of quintessential English gentleman in India.


The list ofofficial icons of England

Alice In Wonderland, the first real Children's novel

The FA Cup, the most famous club competition in the world of football.

The Routemaster, the world famous jump in and jump off London's double-decker red bus since the 50s, but recently phased out.

The cup of tea that arrived in the mid-17th century and represents the story of trade and clippers and the Empire and bone china.

Stonehenge, Neolithic monument, possibly the oldest in England and considered sacred by many who gather every year to celebrate the summer solstice.

The SS Empire Windrush, Docked at Tilbury on June 1948 that brought men and women from the Caribbean who were keen to visit England. The "Windrush generation is now integral to English society.

Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII: a painting that defines one of the most famous monarchs of England.

Punch and Judy, the enduring puppet shows.

The Angel of the North sculpture, Antony Gormley's is the country's most famous work of modern art, unveiled in 1998 and seen by over 90,000 people.

The King James Bible, Most famous English translation of the Scriptures began in 1604 at a meeting of Bishops at Hampton Court. Published in 1611 and is described as the noblest monument of English prose.

The hymn Jerusalem, sung at the Last Night of the Proms, a choice for English expatriates around the world.

The Spitfire, the most famous military aircraft: A powerful icon of wartime England, the skill and courage of its pilots.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 19:58 IST