17 May 2012

British Pride & The British Library


Print for sale via Metro Line 6

A recent poll in the BBC News revealed which British symbols made participants most proud. The results listed in order:

  1. Shakespeare
  2. National Trust (conservation charity)
  3. Armed Forces
  4. Union Jack
  5. The Pound (currency)
  6. NHS (health system)
  7. The Monarchy
  8. BBC (media)
  9. Sporting Achievements
  10. The Beatles
  11. The Legal System
  12. Parliament

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You can view an early printing of Shakespeare's work 
and original handwritten lyrics by The Beatles
in the 'Treasures Room' at the British Library's
St Pancras location (London)

The world's largest library in terms of items,
this library is primarily used for research

Famous documents such as the Magna Carta (on view)
as well as original writings by Da Vinci (on view), Darwin,
and countless others are housed there

With most books out of view,
you can register for a 'reader pass' to enter a reading room and request a book
but it will take an hour to two days for your item to be retrieved

When I asked if my kids could see any children's books
the nice man laughed
and said 'ironically, they need to be 18 years old to see them here'

I'm curious what you think is 'the best of Britain'?

27 comments:

Sally@Enlightenment for the Sleepy said...

I hope you're all settled in your new home now! =)
when we moved over here, I was so excited at the drive through Library, and the fact that they actually deliver books here. Not so much history in Orlando, but the check out system still impressed me so much too. Tell me, do they still stamp your book over there or have they finally computerized checkout?, take care, Sally xx
PS: The Best of British for me was and is still the symbolic icons of the Post box, the old Telephone box, the red bus and black Taxi. You don't see flags flying outside people's homes as you do here, unless the World Cup is on! x

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Thanks for your Best of British list! They have the same technology at the English libraries as in the US, including checking your books in and out yourself via computer ;)

ann said...

It was indeed quite a thrill to visit the British Library and to see those amazing documents. The British Museum is also a must see. Being an English professor and having read Shakespeare all of my life, seeing Macbeth at the new Globe was indeed a high. On our return tour we saw one of his lesser known plays ( so much so that the title is now escaping me), a bloody, cruel revenge play that literally had audience members fainting. To take the walk across the busy street Abby Road where the Beatles photographed their album cover, now for a teen of the '60s that was a moment in time. Yorkminster in York, Jane Austin's home Chawton, or the Bronte sisters home in Haworth. Or the houses of John Keats, Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson, William Wordsworth, William Shakespeare and Ann Hathaway. Take your pick. I'd gladly visit them all again. I guess I just love Britain, but I would say the crowning moment of our first tour in 2001 was Stonehenge simpley because I never ever thought that I would see it. See them all. Have your children read the wonderful literature and follow the footsteps of the world's greatest writers.

Robyn said...

The BBC and yes-everything red...we still have a red telephone box in our village in Scotland...but there are not many now. My old school in Kuwait has a red double decker bus...really...they hold teas in it...it was driven from England to Kuwait.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

That's so interesting! And I didn't know you live (worked?) in Kuwait.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I did think the British Library was perfect for a book/library nerd like me! Oh, there is SO much to see here. Goodness, you've seen all that?! I'm really impressed!

Priscilla said...

I would say the people. At least the people I knew in our village. Witty, intelligent, kind, and welcoming.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

That is such a lovely thing to say! I love that

Denise said...

Hi Laura,

As always, your post is an interesting one. I like the survey results. It looks like Parliament over there is on a par with Congress over here, as far as low esteem with the populace.

I was only in England a week when we visited, but I absorbed as much as possible. The things I liked best were the flora and fauna; the hedgerows; the canal boats; red mail boxes, phone booths, and double-decker buses; bright blue doors; beautiful gardens (whether they be large or tiny); Blue Tits (birds, of course :) ); swans; old churches and cathedrals; cottages and castles; pubs; fish and chips; Fortnum and Mason's Royal Blend tea; Celtic crosses; Aga ranges.

I also loved the accents; the people with their friendly manners and dry sense of humor, and funny (to us in the U.S.) phrases like "to get someone sorted." And I admire the Queen very much. I know that's a large variety of things, but I think what I really love is the sense of history and tradition everywhere, and of course, Shakespeare. :) I would love to visit Britain again someday!

Thanks for the great post, Laura! Have a good week.

Denise at Forest Manor

Eileen said...

I've lived in England all my life so was interested to read such a great post. The best of British for me includes the patchwork of green fields surrounded by hedges or walls, the British contribution to literature (not limited to Shakespeare)including the Bronte sisters, Dickens and Thomas Hardy, the different accents throughout the country. I love the pomp and circumstance and the British ability to celebrate traditions which have their origins rooted in the past and to being a part of that continuity.

Down by the sea said...

I agree with your list but would have to include the red things mentioned above and also milk deliveries, donkey rides on the beach ,Punch and Judy shows and cream teas.
Has everyone noticed how all the shops are suddenly turning in a riot of red, white and blue to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubliee?
I enjoyed reading about your visit to the British Library, it is one of the places on my list to visit.
Sarah x

Filipa said...

hmmmm....the literature is really gooddd....
xOXO

Sharon Parker said...

My husband and I are planning a visit to London in September. We thought we would spend a full 10 days in London itself to allow us to enjoy the city at a somewhat leisurely pace, and we'll be staying near King's Cross and so, of course, the British Library is high on our list of must-visit sites. I'm also planning to spend the better part of a day in Waltham Forest at the William Morris gallery and nearby Lloyd's park (this will be post-post Olympics, of course). I love both the Arts & Crafts and the Pre-Raphaelites, and when we were first discussing this trip and were thinking of going next summer (2013), I learned that Tate Britain is hosting a major exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art starting this September and ending in January, so I convinced hubby that we should go in the fall instead. It's fun to see what's on everyone's list! Add gardens and especially Sissinghurst to mine, of course.

likeschocolate said...

I just got back last night from London, and I have to say it is the least child friendly and disabled friendly. I blew out my shoulder the first day caring my daughter up and down all the stairs in the tube; however, London is still awesome. I love how people call you love or doll and how many people offered to help me carry her stroller up and down those stairs. I guess they aren't expecting too many disabled people to come see the Olympics.

Iota said...

Likeschocolate - I'm interested in your comment. I thought "Doll" was an American term. I don't think I've ever heard it used in England. Might it have been "Dear"?

When I was a student, I was once doing some research and needed to use the British Library. I had to fill in a form, and there was a declaration saying "I am over 21 years old", so I pointed it out to the librarian, saying "I'm only 20 years old". I assumed this would mean another form to fill in, or some other bureaucracy. In fact, she took the form, added an omission mark, and the word "not". I was quite happy to sign a form saying "I am not over 21 years old"! It seemed an admirable way of problem-solving.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I am so sorry to hear about your shoulder! You are absolutely right - especially with the Paralympics coming this summer, I thought they might have improved the accessibility on the Tube. I guess the system is too old to retro-fit elevators at the stations that don't have them. I'm glad you were able to visit, nonetheless, and had a wonderful time.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

The 'sorted' phrases are quite useful and something we adopted early on :) Have a good week too!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I love those things too :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Yes, lots of excitement is building for the Jubilee :) So fun to be here for it! Hmm, donkey rides on the beach are new to me - we'll have to check it out.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

How fun! Great photo op at King Cross Station of Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Great story!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Indeed ;)

Kate and Russ said...

I'd like to add "Cadbury" and "rolling hills scattered with sheep" to the Best of. Can I remove NHS or is that not part of the game? Kidding. Kinda.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

You're a funny girl :) Have you been to Cadbury World? Wondering if we should make the trip...

Dave D said...

I was surprised that Winston Churchill wasn't on the list but (sigh) I remember reading not so long ago that the same type of survey done in a number of schools revealed that most school kids thought that Winston Churchill sold car insurance (anyone who's suffered UK TV advertising will know what I'm talking about).

Barbara said...

That is quite the list. I feel like I know so much more about Britain.

Zosia said...

You posted this on May 17th and I was in the very same British Library, in the Antiquities Room on May 20th :-). It's an impressive collection.