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The British cuppa now an official icon

The humble cup of tea was named as one of 12 symbols that best represents England in an online initiative.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2006 14:27 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The cup of tea, that staple of everyday English life for centuries, officially became a national icon today as the British government launched a new project to celebrate the country's cultural heritage.

The humble "cuppa" was named as one of 12 symbols that best represents England in an online initiative spearheaded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Others include football's FA Cup, World War II fighter plane the Spitfire and the Routemaster, the red bus with its distinctive spiral staircase and open platform that until last year plied the streets of London.

The collection is designed to spur greater interest in England's heritage and prompt more people to visit galleries and museums.

More popular icons will be added in the months to come from nominations made by people logging on to a special website, www.Icons.Org.Uk.

Culture minister David Lammy said: "Who hasn't ached for a proper cup of tea when they've been on an overseas holiday or yearned for their team to pick up the FA Cup at the end of the season?

But the project, which could eventually be extended to Wales, Scotland and Ireland, has already come under fire, with one of the country's best-known historians describing the list as "quaint and banal".

David Starkey told The Sun newspaper: "It seems like a desperate attempt to invent something that's not there.

Another historian, Roger Scruton, told The Sun: "(King) Henry VIII was more Welsh than English, Holbein was born in Germany.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 20:32 IST