The adventures of Daniel the Spaniel: Part 7- Maverick

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She looks around for unsafe conditions, for dirt, for mess, for bugs or rats. She takes notes. You must be as calm and deferential as possible. However disrespectful and invasive she is, whatever awful things she accuses you of, you must remember that child protection has the power to remove your kids at any time if it believes them to be in danger. If you get angry, your anger may be taken as a sign of mental instability, especially if the caseworker herself feels threatened. She has to consider the possibility that you may be hurting your kids, that you may even kill one of them.

If your child has been hurt, his teacher or doctor may have called the state child-abuse hotline, not wanting to assume, as she might in a richer neighborhood, that it was an accident. People know that a call to the hotline is an easy way to blow up your life. If the caseworker believes your. You may not be allowed to say goodbye. It is terrifying for them to be taken from their home by a stranger, but this experience has repercussions far beyond the terror of that night. And, after your children see that you are powerless to protect them, this will permanently change things between you.

The caseworker has sixty days to investigate the charges against you. She will want you to admit to your faults as a parent, and you should, because this tells her you have insight into your problems and that you have a sincere desire to accept her help and change your life. But you should admit only so much, because she is not just there to help you: she is also there to evaluate and report on you, so anything you say may be used against you in court.

While the court case is proceeding, you may be asked to submit to drug testing or a mental-health evaluation, to attend parenting classes or anger-management classes or domestic-violence classes and some kind of therapy. These services are intended to help you, but, if you want to get your kids back, they are not really voluntary, even though they may be so. The more obedient you are, the better things will go for you. Even if you are innocent and can prove it, it could be more than a year before you get a hearing, and during those crucial months your compliance and deference are the currency that buys you visits with your children.

You must start your investigation within twenty-four hours of the hotline call. Go at night—people are more likely to be home. As you look around, you have to be very, very careful, because if you miss something it will be partly your fault if a child ends up hurt, or dead. Parents may scream at you and call you terrible names. Sometimes a parent will get violent. If you remove the children that night, you will take them to a processing center to be assigned to a temporary foster home.

Once you get there, it could take a long time for a home to be found—many hours. The children. Mercedes, a mother of four, has spent eight years trying to regain custody of three of her kids at the Bronx Family Court. Even though this manager has likely never met the parent or her kids, she may override your recommendation.

Many at A. Nobody wants to end up on the front page of the Daily News. The turnover among A. She was running a bath for her children. It was , so Leslie was eleven months old and Camron was two. She plugged in her curling iron, because she was planning to curl and wrap her hair while they were in the tub. The kids were playing with toys in the living room. She left the curling iron on the side of the sink and went to fetch towels. If they see those burns, child services will take your kids.

It was a warm night. Her mother called her phone and told her to come upstairs. She answered a few questions, growing increasingly outraged, and then, guessing her mother had called A. Mercedes said no, she was going, and one of the women said, Miss, you are making me real nervous right now. The women left, but a few minutes later they came back, accompanied by a couple of policemen.

But her mother, believing it was best to comply, picked up Camron and then Leslie and gave them to the women, both kids wailing, and the women took them away. Mercedes grew up in Brooklyn. Her father was a drunk, who beat her and her mother. When Mercedes was old enough to understand what was going on, she started calling the cops on him. When she was older still, she started running away, at which point her mother called the authorities on her. When she was a teen-ager, her mother sat the kids down and they voted on whether they should kick their father out of the house.

Mercedes got pregnant when she was fourteen, but her boyfriend beat her up and she lost the baby. When she was eighteen she got pregnant again. When she got pregnant again, with Leslie, the same thing happened: she moved in with her mother and then ended up in a shelter again six months later.

It was in this second shelter that the incident with the curling iron occurred. At the Bronx Family Court, A. By this time, she was pregnant again. Six months later, A. The judge pointed out that since Tiana had not gained weight even during a twoweek stay in the hospital, it was not clear that Mercedes had anything to do with it. Moreover, she said, there was a strong bond between mother and infant, the disruption of which would only make things worse.

Three months after that, A. Mercedes fought with her mother and moved with the kids to a shelter again, but there were bedbugs, so she left. The next day she took Leslie and Tiana to the doctor, and he told her they were so sick he wanted to admit them both to the hospital. As Mercedes understood the arrangement, the caseworker promised her that, if she gave up Camron temporarily, then when the girls were released from the hospital A. Because she was still angry with her mother, she told the caseworker that Camron could go with the friend.

That turned out to be the wrong decision. Leslie was released from the hospital a few days later, and she was given to the friend, too. Mercedes kept calling A. Tiana was still in the hospital— were they waiting for her to be released? Why did she not have Leslie? When was she going to get her housing? What was going on? But now a caseworker was telling her that she had given up all three children of her own free will.

As a law student, she had studied reformatories in Massachusetts and was appalled by what she saw— children being held in prisonlike conditions, with only the most rudimentary attempts at education—so when she graduated she looked for an organization that defended children in court. But, in , the Supreme Court ruled that it was irrelevant whether a judge felt benevolent or not: family court had the power to deprive citizens of their liberty, and that kind of state power had to be restrained by the law, so a juvenile delinquent was entitled to an attorney.

Guggenheim, now a professor of law at N. We were warriors! The Juvenile Rights Division saw more and more abuse and neglect cases, and as this happened a divide opened among the warriors. But to Guggenheim the child-welfare cases and the delinquency cases looked all too similar: in both, the state possessed the fearsome power to remove children from their homes, and so in both that power had to be kept in check. By the time Sherman became a judge, in , a great deal had changed in family court.

But study after study had shown how harmful foster care could be, and judges had become leery of it; by , the number had dropped to eighteen thousand. It is now under nine thousand. This gave parents far less time to satisfy child-protection agencies that Sherman knew that foster care could be harmful, so she felt more comfortable removing children if there was a relative who could pass a background check and take them—she believed that children almost always did better with family.

Sherman: Does the mother have contact with the child? She read every report in advance, she took detailed notes and reviewed them, she interrogated. Where is the child? Sherman: And what are you asking for today? Sherman: Based on the mother leaving the child alone on one occasion for thirty minutes? She is breast-feeding, she has been his mother since birth. Sherman: How do you know the child was left alone for thirty minutes? Sherman: But why do you believe the brother over the mother? What do we know about him? Was the parent whipping with a belt, which was painful but not usually dangerous, or choking, which was?

But how does. Young children can be really frustrating—the constant crying, not doing what you tell them to do. Or did he simply believe that hitting was the right way to raise a child? This court is aware of Mr. The court is also aware that Mr. A cares very much for both of his children. Who broke the baby? Somebody broke the baby. And often there are multiple caretakers— maybe two parents in a home, maybe a grandmother, an aunt, a babysitter.

You have four people in front of you who are all held accountable, and the likelihood is one, maybe, did something, and two or three other people are just roped into it. But how do you say, O. And ultimately perhaps we never know what happened. The vast majority of child-protective cases involved neglect, and these could be even trickier.

It was also hard to tell when neglect suggested that something more worrying was going on. Is the parent depressed? Does the parent have developmental disabilities? Is there drug use? Or is it none of those things and we just have to teach her how to keep a clean home? She scolded them when their work was sloppy, but in the end she usually sided with A. Sherman became known in family court for examining the tiniest of details.

When inquiring how a child was doing, she wanted to know everything there was to know about him. Information about scholarships. She found out that one boy loved science but had never been to the natural-history museum, so she issued a court order requiring his foster mother to take him there. When he was adopted, she bought him a book about atoms and tickets to the planetarium to celebrate. Judge Sherman issued an order that nothing be allowed in the crib except the baby. What else could she do? But, on the privileged side of town in all parts of America, children are raised by drunks, by drug addicts, by violent people.

Equality requires that we give the same freedom to underprivileged children as we give to privileged children—to be raised by crappy parents. She was used to this. Her life had been this way since she was sixteen—staying with her mother, getting thrown out, staying with a friend, getting in an argument, moving on. Everything stops. What do I do? Your kids give you purpose.

But mostly she dreaded them because the kids had started saying things about her. Sherman ruled that if Mercedes was late for a visit it would be cancelled, and Mercedes was late. She was late for court dates, too. She wanted to adopt them. The trouble with this solution was that foster parents were prompted from the start to form attachments to the children, and their hopes were pitted against those of the biological parents.

While the case dragged on and Mercedes drifted, the agency was helping the foster mother with housing. My mind is tired. My body is tired. I keep getting—excuse my language—dicked around by A. So I start to disappear for a while. Every time she came to court she felt surrounded by people who were convinced that she was a bad mother and a bad person, although they barely knew her. The judge kept saying she understood Mercedes, because they had been encountering each other in court for years, but she knew only a few things about her life.

She only knows what they say about me! And how wrong it was. And how many times she said it. She and her colleagues represented parents in family court, and so they often found themselves at odds with A. They believed that A. What was required much of the time, the defenders believed, was not parenting classes but material assistance—housing, childcare, medication, food.

They also believed that family court was racist. Why, when the Bronx was forty per cent white, were nearly a hundred per cent of their clients black or Latino? Why was the percentage of the population in foster care twice as high in the Bronx as it was on Staten Island?

They believed that child protection had become for black women what the criminal-justice system was for black men. New lawyers at the Bronx Defenders are asked to stay for three years, and many of them leave as soon as that time is up. Some clients are constantly in touch, texting, calling, pleading for help. Bronx Defenders who previously worked in criminal court are befuddled by this: they usually knew where their clients were—in jail. Ten years ago, most parents were represented by individual public defenders who were too harried to get to know their clients and often deferred to A.

Even now, the old assumptions of benevolence persist. Judges and lawyers for A. But they are not the only aggressive ones. Sometimes the Bronx Defenders worry that their aggression is bad for their clients. A contentious family court reinforces the belief that the interests of children and their parents can be separated, and this belief usually works to the detriment of the parents. The defenders feel that a large part of what the court and A. Wait, domesticviolence therapy and regular therapy? Ten years ago it was so much worse, in terms of the cookie-cutter services that everybody rolled their eyes about.

It had always been that way, and it seemed it always would be, since, each time a solution to a problem was found, that solution seemed to generate new and worse problems of its own. A few years ago, everyone with a court date was told to show up at 9 a. But in order to keep to the time certains while moving each case along on the schedule mandated And all those months spent piecing together the few hours required for a hearing or trial were months that removed children spent in foster care.

Then, there were the times when family court was even more tense than usual: after a gruesome and highly publicized murder of a child, people in child protection got very jittery and very cautious. More calls came in to the hotline, A. Last October, the month after six-year-old Zymere Perkins died, allegedly at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend, foster-care placements increased by thirty per cent. Newspaper accounts of child deaths often suggested that A.

With so many serious and intractable issues to deal with in family court, the Bronx Defenders found it particularly infuriating when A. The record was so spare. There was nothing to show that this mother—they wanted me to make all these inferences! And I struggled and struggled and struggled. This seemed to Mendenhall so grossly unreasonable that she would sometimes lash out at the A. How can it be? There was no leeway, no give, no mercy at all, if you were poor. But there was a certain personality. My dog was sixteen and I kept her alive till she was seventeen—doing O.

I cried about my hair. Why would you want me to feel like nothing? I already feel like nothing. But then she grew close to a couple of the counsellors; she felt they understood her and gave her good advice. They believed in her and thought she should get her children back. Little by little, she started to unfurl. Tiana was being fed through a tube into her stomach now, and Mercedes studied up on it so she would know how to take care of her.

Mendenhall argued that the only remaining barrier to reuniting the family was housing, and Sherman charged the foster-care agency with arranging it. The agency resisted—it believed that the children should be adopted by their foster mother—but she ordered it to comply. We ate, we laughed, we talked. He was play-wrestling with my brother. Tiana, she was playing with toys with my cousin.

Leslie was eating, talking to my mother, talking to my aunt. More accusations followed: Leslie said that she had been abused, sexually and otherwise, by Mercedes and other people in her family. But as soon as one was closed another accusation would be made, and no reunion could take place before the new report was properly looked into. Amaya, and Amaya was never taken away. But the reports continued. But the foster mother reported that Mercedes sexually abused the children during those supervised visits.

Reports started coming in against the foster mother and her husband, too. There were several calls to the hotline from mandated reporters— people, such as teachers and social workers, who were obligated to report suspected abuse—accusing her or her husband of mistreating the children. When Sherman did hear, she berated the agency for not telling her sooner, but she decided that since it still seemed likely that the children would be reunited with their mother, they should not be moved to yet another home. Even the agency was worried about what was going on.

It also felt that her husband was not behaving enough like a father. When the caseworker visited, he would be in another room. Mercedes was so far gone in despair by that point that she al-. I get there. Lord knows, I love my kids. Everything they threw at me, I dealt with. After I busted my ass to make sure I got where I needed to be, they just snatched it back like it was nothing. Camron threatened to kill his foster mother and her husband, and the month after the Thanksgiving dinner, when he was six, he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. Later on, he started threatening to kill himself, too, and he was hospitalized again and again.

When Camron was nine and in a psychiatric ward, his foster mother took the girls and went on a vacation that she had planned, so he was all alone. She called the next day, and the next, but then the foster-care agency told the hospital that she was not allowed to have contact and her calls were blocked. My attitude is running through them.

I will get it, because I been there. These are my kids. She was living with Amaya in a shelter in Manhattan, near the F.

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The point of no return was getting closer. The agency asked the court to place Camron in a long-term residential treatment facility. Some of the antipsychotics sounded scary to her, especially for a kid as young as Camron. That give boys breasts. They wanted to do the Ritalin for the A. He just sit there, his mouth open. She would spend her food stamps on a birthday cake and they would celebrate together.

I just lost the will to live. I refuse to lose her. I fucking refuse to. They will have to kill me. It should be cabined and guarded like a nuclear weapon. You use it when you must. After the death of Zymere Perkins, last year, Mayor de Blasio spoke on the radio about the case. Tell me, and tell the truth. Children are killed all the time. Mercedes knows that, at this point, she has very little chance of getting her kids back. She knows that they will probably grow up without her, and that she may not even be allowed to see them.

Leslie is, what, nine more years. Tiana is six now. There is something catlike about Faye—an elusiveness that makes people want to detain her, and a curiosity about their pungent secrets. They tell her their histories, and she listens intently. As these soliloquies unspool, a common thread emerges.

Faye shares their dilemma. The structure of the text, a mosaic of fragments, mirrors the unstable nature of memory. But her imaginary oral histories are exquisitely attuned to the ways in which humans victimize one another. Frankness on intimate subjects seems to be a credo of both her life and her work. When I asked what the milestone meant to her, she paraphrased D.

The chaste prose of her current trilogy seems almost like a reproach to the self-conscious virtuosity that preceded it. Like its predecessors, but more humanely, the novel tells a conventional story of family rivalries and marital ennui particularly wifely ennui. In retrospect, however, it was the end of a line. Cusk was about to upend the plot of her own life—to break up her family, then to lose her house and her bearings. The ensuing turmoil would force her to question an old core principle. She and her third husband, Siemon Scamell-Katz, who had travelled to America with her, were grounded in the Ramada at the Newark airport.

He was a legal scholar at Oxford University for a while, and took up photography. They agreed that he would assume the primary burden of childcare while she worked on her books. Many modern couples negotiate such an arrangement, but for Cusk it was more than a pragmatic bargain, or even a matter of justice—she staked her identity on it. The hordes have come to see not the sublime early frescoes of Giotto but the dry bones of St.

Francis, which reside in his basilica. As in the case of the poor pizza, a lack of depth, or of an appetite for the dark and the visceral, never fails to disappoint her. A revised text has been reprinted several times. A woman who has uprooted her family from London and moved to the suburbs deeply regrets it.

She takes on the role of a breadwinning husband, but, when her spouse claims the rights of a stay-at-home wife, she expects him to revert to ancestral form—to cede the kids to her and go make some money. Clarke has since become a psychotherapist. Marriage, in her work, is oppressive on two counts: as a patriarchal institution and a maternal body. If the mother surrenders or retaliates, the child feels abandoned. She is separate, yes; she has succeeded; but she is powerless to console herself.

My body is. Like D. Lawrence, whom she calls her mentor, she sides with instinct against propriety, despite the cost to herself and others. Book reviewing can be a blood sport in the U. Cusk was nearly annihilated by this reception. Being a person has always meant getting blamed for it. The weather was golden, and Cusk had gone for a long walk by herself on a path that runs through the salt marshes. When she arrived at the pub, wearing a pair of overalls, Scamell-Katz was waiting with a chilled bottle of Chablis. The talk, at. Norfolk voted for Brexit, despite the fact that its farmers depend on immigrant labor.

Having recently quit smoking, she vaped discreetly, drank with relish, and joked about her gardening skills. Their romance began one Christmas, when they were both without their children, and Scamell-Katz took Cusk to a wild Scottish peninsula, in the middle of a storm. I had the impression that their complicity still surprises them daily. The actual composition of a book, as opposed to the long period in which Cusk thinks about it, makes notes, and works out the structure, is relatively brief.

My process is very uncomfortable. But the writing part is pure technique. Where the action meanders, language takes up the slack. Her sentences hum with intelligence, like a neural pathway. Her students are asked what they noticed on their way to class, and, later, assigned to write about an animal. Her downstairs neighbors, longtime residents of the gentrifying neighborhood, hate her with a vengeance, and try to sabotage her.

She visits a beauty salon, where she changes her hair color, and a boy in the next chair, furious at being shorn, explodes into violence. Two best-selling male memoirists, with whom she shares the stage at a rain-sodden reading, dominate the event. A kind man with bad teeth takes her out, and tells her the story of his adoption.

She was the second of their four children, an older girl and two younger boys. Carolyn, her mother, came from a large Catholic family in Hertfordshire. Peter, her father, a Protestant from Yorkshire, converted to Catholicism before their marriage. The Cusks met at a tennis club, in the early nineteen-sixties. And he wished he could have been like them, boots and all. Because his own wildness had been domesticated by my mother.

The last of these Coventries began on a winter Sunday in Norfolk, two years ago, and Scamell-Katz thought that something he said had provoked it. After they left, there was no call or thank-you note, and six months passed without contact. Cusk eventually decided that her life was better with her parents out of it. The girl in the picture has a dreamy But this is now.

This is N. I go to Clive. We meet in a diner and queue for the breakfast special. We pay. Currie shows up. He laughs. His current client, a Moroccan man, has been cleared for release and also informed he will never leave. Clive, a lawyer, questions the logic of this. Clive wondered about his motives and did some research. Clive plans to question the number three hundred gaze, and thick, badly cut hair; she is holding a cigarette in an elongated hand. Sex has always been incredibly interesting to me, and it becomes more so.

Which is strange, because my self-consciousness is so extreme. Some women are never happier than when they are pregnant. For others, a swelling womb threatens their integrity—their literal self-possession. And becoming a mother raises the spectre of becoming your own mother. Most people know only three hundred people in the whole world, demographers say. If you think like a lawyer you look for the limits of wisdom in facts like that. His French toast arrives. I imagine a laughing, squabbling family back home in Wexford. Clive looks at his watch. I take his scraps of French toast to the trash.

Clive smiles and goes up the street in his saggy-butt pants, looking not much like a high-powered lawyer, and the limits of wisdom remain, well—as perhaps we, who tend to confuse the greetings of dogs and gods, prefer limits to do—more or less where they were. The memoir is heretically funny, though its humor is driven by dread.

Spock—a gift from Carolyn, of all people. But as she gets used to the climate of maternity her own piercing wail abates. There are no sudden paroxysms of beatitude, just a subtle shift. His third wife, a yoga teacher with whom he has a teen-age son, Foiy, lives near them in Norfolk, and their relations are amicable. In a neighborhood of manses and cottages, the house makes, as its owners do, a statement of nonconformity.

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It may be the last laugh of patriarchy that men are better at being women than women are. When Cusk and Scamell-Katz told me about their trip to Scotland, she recalled the beauty of their conversations, and he recalled having brought emergency provisions—a goose and wine—on the train with them. Where she is conscientious about domestic chores, nurture seems to give him unguilty pleasure.

Until His alimony, Cusk noted crisply, has dented their income. Marriage and fatherhood are now his prime occupations, along with painting: a long-deferred passion. It speaks intimately to Cusk, and she wanted me to have it. What follows is the story of a hardboiled writer who thinks he has no illusions about love, and a pretty. During the Easter weekend, there had been an argument over their living arrangements, which had brought.

Later that week, I met Cusk and her daughters in Highgate for a quiet early dinner in an empty trattoria. Cusk and Jessye were there when I arrived, and Albertine came a little later—she was taking a walk to clear her head from the stress of schoolwork. I saw Cusk once more, at home in Tufnell Park. It is homier and more bohemian than the house in Norfolk. Last year, she interrupted her work to help Albertine with her university applications.

In some ways, that was interesting. There was a funny freedom to having less control. She cited Medea as an example of both. She is a princess with magical powers who betrays her homeland for an ambitious Greek—Jason—in exchange for his promise to marry her. They escape to Corinth, where Medea bears Jason two sons, and they supposedly live happily for a while, though one rather doubts it. Medea sends her boys to Glauce with a wedding gift, a golden cloak steeped in poison.

She dies horribly, along with her father, who tries to save her. She had thought deeply about Greek tragedy, but other plays had meant more to her. This makes her play a true tragedy. He and his new wife own a fancy country place. A fog closes in; the next morning, Faye feels a change stirring beneath her. Silently, she lets herself out. There was a last question I had hesitated to ask: Why, given her history, did she risk remarriage?

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She thought for a minute as we gathered up our things. Not that it has helped me to be better at living. I have used my strength for the purposes of destruction. But now I can use it to build something that will last. It was one of those Saturdays that feel like Sunday. He looked in the mirror, studying the face that looked back. At night he kept to his half of the bed with his back to the other half. Over time a life slithered out. He talked to people, took long walks. He bought a pair of shoes but only after testing them rigorously, both shoes, not just one.

He walked from one end of the shoe store to the other, four times at various speeds, then sat and looked down at the shoes. There were times when he could not stop looking. He looks and scratches, semisurreptitiously. Upper arms at home in the evening. Thighs and shins most likely at night.

He was forty-four years old, trapped in his body. Arms, legs, torso. Face did not itch. His eyes swept the windows across the street horizontally, never vertically. He did not try to imagine the lives inside. He thought of this but did not believe it. But it was also a form of comfort during those long periods of unrest when he was stretched and then curled and then belly down in bed, a raw body in cotton pajamas, awash in creams and lotions, trying not to scratch or rub.

Joel had two kids and a wife named Sandra. They were Sandra and Joel, never the reverse. Even better, if Tuesday of this week felt like Wednesday of next week. I think of the itch in world history and my mind goes blank. They knew. No one else. You need a context that you can work with. A famous statesman scratching in secret.

The Holy Land. The Itch. A single syllable. Do you read the Bible, ever? A plague in Bible times. I know I would. I can imagine how awful. Middle of the night. When and if intimacy occurred, he hoped it would not be unanticipated. She might otherwise feel traces of the lotions and ointments,. They had dinner now and then, went to a movie, implicitly working out a routine that did not bury them in total mutual anonymity.

The near-empty theatre was more interesting than the movie. He leaned across the dinner table, sort of half comically, and asked about her name. Adherence to a family tradition? A name from a European novel? No such tradition, she said. Just a name spelled a certain way. He nodded slowly, marooned in his slanted body posture and surprised at the disappointment he felt. Eventually he sat back, still nodding, and found himself imagining her body.

Always the body. This was not an erotic set of curves but something even more wondrous, the basic body, the primitive physical structure. He told himself to stop. They talked about the food and the restaurant. He liked to imagine them going nowhere, remaining in place with their feet moving up and down and their arms swinging slightly. The symmetry of the itch, both thighs, the crook of each elbow, left ankle, then right. The crotch does not itch. The buttocks, yes, when he removes his trousers before going to bed, and then it stops. He could not forget the smile.

He could not stop looking at the screen. He watched the commercials. But Joel was talking about the current situation, non-stop global turmoil, naming countries and circumstances, putting down his fork so he could raise his hand and gesture in a whirling motion, elbow pinned on the table. Commercials in clusters. He began to think that he was the only person, anywhere and everywhere, who was looking at the commercials.

At this distance the words on the screen that accompanied the images were just barely readable. He held his fork in a poised position. She was checking his ankles, shins, and thighs. She spoke absently about the pathology of the skin. He liked this term. He was nearing the end of his third visit to this doctor and he wondered whether she would tell him to return next week or in six months or totally never. She listed the hidden dangers of a number of ingredients in certain external analgesic medications.

Do we need to be fully dressed, he thought, for our memory to function properly? But what I am seeing in your case is that you need to think of your itch as a long-term commitment. Her assistant, Hannah, had materialized in a corner of the room, and they looked at each other blankly, he and Hannah, and then she left.

Here is what he said. There were times, standing over the toilet bowl at home, when he heard what sounded like words as his urine hit the water in the bowl. He heard the semblance of a tiny voice saying a word and then maybe another word and he tried to describe the sound, his feet spread and his hands semi-cupped near his groin, in demonstration.

An utterance. Words everywhere. Transrational poetry. A hundred years ago. Words that have shapes and sounds. It happens sometimes. He begins by closing his eyes and holding his breath for a long moment. He will allow himself to be her recruit in whatever it is they are doing. They never talk about the look. It happens and then it stops. When he opens his eyes and resumes breathing, there she is, Ana, eyes trained on his face, and she is intent on seeing into him or through him, dissolving the.

Never mind what. Her face is cool and studied. Is this meant to be some kind of mutual introspection? Is it a simple respite from the skein of endless human exchange? He tries not to analyze the matter. A playful fragment of her childhood, a memory of bittersweet longing. Is each of them trying to imagine who the other person is within the freezeframed face and eyes? A wordless glimpse of identity or just a vacant gaze? He tries to go blank, to drain his eyes and mind of the spatial array of sensation, the mental debris.

Maybe she simply wants to see and be seen. He sits back, eyes closed, and feels a hovering sense of revenge. See what you can come up with, personally, about yourself. She has opinions about what I write. I know that. Dogs on leashes lunging at each other. The left hand rubbing the right wrist, then the right hand rubbing the left wrist. He liked to watch the numbers drop.

The eczema cream with two-percent colloidal oatmeal. The multi-symptom psoriasis-relief cream with three-per-cent salicylic acid. The emollient-rich formula that provides twenty-four-hour moisturization. He was not a threat to do anything or say anything, to take advantage in some way of their faith in his apparent blandness. He and Joel were access specialists, facilitating the delivery of home-healthcare services to disabled consumers of illegal drugs.

They rarely spoke about the job they were doing. Now and then Joel read an obituary to the others in the room, six men and women confronting their screens. He was short and broad with the look of a man who lives with one central obsession. He studied the patient, who was standing in the examining room in his boxer shorts. Then the doctor whirled his hand and the patient turned around. Now the patient lay face up on the table. Or the itch is just there, comes and goes, night and day.

He warned against a steroid that thins the skin if used repeatedly. He wore a surgical gown so long that it concealed his footwear. Do not touch. It is not scratch-worthy. Doctor told the patient to turn face down. The left-and-rightness of it. People who itch, worldwide.

Forearm, forearm. Buttock, buttock. The simultaneity. Doctor spoke not to the body on the table but to the room, the walls, maybe to a recording device concealed somewhere. When the visit was over, the Itch Meister did not simply leave the room. He was outrunning it. Sometimes he raised his arms as he ran, surrendering to a benevolent life force. They were just the lines. The spacing, also, was simply what it was. The space breaks, the word breaks, the dangling word. I keep forgetting to look it up.

Forget it. Ana was in bed, watching and waiting. He kept his hands steadfastly at his sides. The surroundings in her bedroom were unfamiliar and he stood a moment, smiling, acknowledging her sweet scrutiny. The itch went away but she was still there. What a deliverance it was for him, a release from day-today, he and she, so simple, being happy for a time. I think about them. He had to remind himself that he was separating the act from its consequences. Two hours later he was back on an exam table, seated at the edge, doctor in her sixties studying his left forearm, lifting and looking, peering into the scratch marks, into the pores, the tissue itself.

The doctor asked him questions and then repeated whatever he said. What do you think? She was looking directly into his face now. She looked and talked. I try to talk myself out of being worse. You are sleeping. I have forgotten how to sleep. I will walk four times a day from there to here and then from here to there and all over again.

His operas also helped Britain challenge Italy as a centre of operatic production. The establishment of the London Philharmonic Society in , Royal Academy of Music in , and Irish Academy of Music in aided the professionalisation of British classical music and patronage of composers. The Philharmonic Society was a strong supporter of the German Felix Mendelssohn , an early Romantic composer who also strongly influenced British music.

The most notable trend in classical music at the turn of the century was the nationalistic trend that developed. This was initially seen in works like The Masque at Kenilworth , which reconstructed an Elizabethan masque, but later took a pastoral turn under the influence of the British folk revival. Modern and contemporary classical music takes a variety of forms. Composers such as Benjamin Britten developed idiosyncratic and avant-garde styles, while the likes of William Walton produced more conventional ceremonial and patriotic music.

The UK now has several major orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra , and the Philharmonia , while the establishment of the Opera North in sought to redress the balance of operatic institutions away from London. There are several classical festivals, such as Aldeburgh and Glydebourne , while the BBC Proms are an important annual fixture in the classical calendar.

Popular commercial music in Britain can be traced back at least as far as the seventeenth-century broadside ballad , and also encompasses brass band music and music hall. Popular music in the modern sense began to emerge in the s, as the American styles of jazz and rock and roll became popular. The skiffle revival was an early attempt to create a British form of American music, but it was the emergence of British rock and roll by the early s that established a viable UK popular music industry.

Genres such as beat and British blues were re-exported to America by bands such as the Beatles and Rolling Stones , in a move that came to be called the British Invasion. The development of blues rock helped differentiate rock and pop music, leading to the emergence of several sub-genres of rock in the s. Glam rock was a particularly British genre that emphasised outrageous costumes, while the end of the decade saw the rise of punk , new wave , and post-punk bands.

The influence of immigration could also be seen in the increased prominence of World music , particularly Jamaican music. The s were a sucessful decade in British pop, as a second British Invasion was witnessed and new technology enabled genres such as synthpop to form. Jazz saw a resurgence as black British musicians created new fusions such as Acid Jazz. Indie rock was a reaction to the perceived saturation of the music industry by pop, exemplified by Stock Aitken Waterman 's domination of the charts.

This continued in the s, as boy bands and girl groups dominated the singles chart, while the Madchester scene helped drive alternative rock and Britpop to the mainstream. British soul saw a rise that continued into the s, indluding the global success of Adele. Dance music also saw innovation, with genres such as dubstep and new rave emerging. In contrast to the comparatively homogenous classical and pop genres, each nation of the UK has retained a distinct tradition of folk music.

The traditional folk music of England has contributed to several genres, such as sea shanties , jigs , hornpipes and dance music. It has its own distinct variations and regional peculiarities, while musical Morris dancing is an English folk dance known to have existed at least as early as the midth century. The bagpipes have long been a national symbol of Scotland, and the Great Highland Bagpipe is widely recognised. The English and Scottish Popular Ballads , are ballads of the British Isles from the later medieval period until the 19th century, demonstrating freat regional variety, particularly local traditions such as the Border ballads , which include the particularly influential Ballad of Chevy Chase.

British folk groups, such as Fairport Convention , have drawn heavily from these ballads. Similarly, while the national anthem " God Save the Queen " and other patriotic songs such as " Rule, Britannia! These songs are often used at sporting events where each nation competes individually. Britain has had a significant film industry for over a century. While many films focus on British culture, UK cinema is also marked by its interaction and competition with American and continental European cinema.

This had changed by the s, when the governemt encouraged fewer, higher-quality films to be made. This era also saw the rise of Alfred Hitchcock , who soon moved to the USA and become one of the twentieth century's most influential directors. The post-war period was a particular high point for British filmmaking, producing The Third Man and Brief Encounter , which the British Film Institute consider the best and second-best British films respectively.

At the end of the decade Hammer Films took advantage of relaxed censorship laws to begin their series of sucessful horror films. The beginning of the s saw the British New Wave style develop, influenced by its French counterpart, that sought to depict a wider strata of society in a realistic manner. The s also saw renewed American financial interest in British film, which particularly manifested itself in the development of historical epics , such as Best Picture winners Lawrence of Arabia and A Man for All Seasons ; spy thrillers , including the first films in the James Bond franchise; and films based on ' swinging London ' scene.

The s saw a withdrawal of American support and a retrenchment in British cinema, though the decade did see culturally important productions such as the horror The Wicker Man and Monty Python 's comedic films. Films with racial and LGBT themes were produced, while Channel 4's involvement saw television stars move into feature films. American investment again increased in the s, and the success of Four Weddings and a Funeral saw romantic comedies rise in popularity.

Merchant Ivory Productions , boosted by the Oscars success of the previous decade's period pieces, continued to produce films in the same vein. American studios also began to base the production of Hollywood films in the UK, encouraged by tax incentives. While American-funded films continued their influence in the s, domestic European co-productions also received acclaim. Asian British cinema has risen in prominence since , when East is East was a mainstream success on a low budget. The UK has been at the forefront of developments in film, radio and television.

Broadcasting in the UK has historically been dominated by the taxpayer-funded but independently run British Broadcasting Corporation commonly known as the BBC , although other independent radio and television ITV , Channel 4 , Five and satellite broadcasters especially BSkyB which has over 10 million subscribers have become more important in recent years. BBC television, and the other three main television channels are public service broadcasters who, as part of their licence allowing them to operate, broadcast a variety of minority interest programming. The BBC and Channel 4 are state-owned, though they operate independently.

Christmas commercials are screened from early November in the UK, with campaigns including the John Lewis Christmas advert for the department store chain. International football tournaments, such as the World Cup , are historically the most viewed sports events among the public, while Match of the Day is the most popular weekly football show.

Regarded as the leading figure of the satire boom, Peter Cook was ranked number one in the Comedians' Comedian poll. Satire also features heavily in the Grand Theft Auto video game series which has been ranked among Britain's most successful exports. Popular comedy duos in television include The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise , with both shows featuring memorable sketches.

Jeeves and Wooster starred Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster , an airy, nonchalant, gormless, idle young gentleman and Stephen Fry as Jeeves , his calm, well-informed, and talented valet. Created by and starring Rik Mayall as Richie and Adrian Edmondson as Eddie, Bottom features two crude, perverted flatmates with no jobs and little money, which is noted for its chaotic, nihilistic humour and violent comedy slapstick. Da Ali G Show starred Sacha Baron Cohen as a faux-streetwise poseur Ali G from west London, who would conduct real interviews with unsuspecting people, many of whom are celebrities, during which they are asked absurd and ridiculous questions.

Aardman also produce the kid's show Shaun the Sheep. First airing in , Blue Peter is famous for its arts and crafts "makes". The show has been a staple for generations of British children. The actor David Jason has voiced a number of popular characters in children's animation, including The Wind in the Willows based on the children's book by Kenneth Grahame , Danger Mouse and Count Duckula.

Other children's shows include Where's Wally?


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Debuting in , The Snowman featuring the festive song " Walking in the Air " is annually screened at Christmas. The pub being a prominent setting in the three major television soap operas reflects the role pubs have as the focal point of the community in many towns and villages across the UK. Espionage and detective shows have long been a staple of British television, such as the s series The Avengers featuring lady spy adventurer and cultural and feminist icon Emma Peel.

The United Kingdom has a large number of national and local radio stations which cover a great variety of programming. The most listened to stations are the five main national BBC radio stations. BBC Radio 1 , a new music station aimed at the 16—24 age group. BBC Radio 2 , a varied popular music and chat station aimed at adults is consistently highest in the ratings. BBC Radio 4 , a varied talk station, is noted for its news, current affairs , drama and comedy output as well as The Archers , its long running soap opera, and other unique programmes, including Desert Island Discs —present , an interview programme in which a famous guest called a " castaway " chooses eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they would take with them to a desert island.

Currently presented by Kirsty Young , it is the longest running music radio programme in British history. The idea for a Christmas message was conceived by one of the founders of the BBC. Delivered annually by the monarch, it was first broadcast on BBC Radio in An alternative Christmas message was first broadcast on Channel 4 in Broadcast from to , radio comedy The Goon Show , starring Peter Sellers , Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe , mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects.

The show has exerted considerable influence on British comedy and culture. As a film star Sellers in particular became influential to film actors by using different accents and guises and assuming multiple roles in the same film. Panellists must talk for sixty seconds on a given subject, "without hesitation, repetition or deviation". First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in , the science fiction comedy radio series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was innovative in its use of music and sound effects. Rock music station Absolute Radio , and sports station Talksport , are among the biggest commercial radio stations in the UK.

Freedom of the press was established in Great Britain in Founded by publisher John Walter in , The Times is the first newspaper to have borne that name, lending it to numerous other papers around the world, and is the originator of the widely used Times Roman typeface, created by Victor Lardent and commissioned by Stanley Morison in Founding The Gentleman's Magazine in , Edward Cave coined the term " magazine " for a periodical, and was the first publisher to successfully fashion a wide-ranging publication. A pioneer of children's publishing, John Newbery made children's literature a sustainable and profitable part of the literary market.

On 10 November he became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, and realised that it was impossible to confirm in reference books. Beaver knew that there must be numerous other questions debated throughout the world, but there was no book with which to settle arguments about records.

He realised that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove successful. His idea became reality when an acquaintance of his recommended University friends Norris and Ross McWhirter who were then commissioned to compile what became The Guinness Book of Records in August Copyright laws originated in Britain with the Statute of Anne also known as the Copyright Act , which outlined the individual rights of the artist. A right to benefit financially from the work is articulated, and court rulings and legislation have recognised a right to control the work, such as ensuring that the integrity of it is preserved.

From the creation of the United Kingdom, the English school of painting is mainly notable for portraits and landscapes, and indeed portraits in landscapes. Among the artists of this period are Joshua Reynolds — , George Stubbs — , and Thomas Gainsborough — Pictorial satirist William Hogarth pioneered Western sequential art, and political illustrations in this style are often referred to as "Hogarthian".

Following the work of Hogarth, political cartoons developed in England in the latter part of the 18th century under the direction of James Gillray. Regarded as being one of the two most influential cartoonists the other being Hogarth , Gillray has been referred to as the father of the political cartoon, with his satirical work calling the king George III , prime ministers and generals to account. The late 18th century and the early 19th century was perhaps the most radical period in British art, producing William Blake — , John Constable — and J.

Turner — , three of the most influential British artists, each of whom have dedicated spaces allocated for their work at the Tate Britain. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood PRB achieved considerable influence after its foundation in with paintings that concentrated on religious, literary, and genre subjects executed in a colourful and minutely detailed style. Also associated with it was the designer William Morris , whose efforts to make beautiful objects affordable or even free for everyone led to his wallpaper and tile designs to some extent defining the Victorian aesthetic and instigating the Arts and Crafts movement.

Also prominent amongst 20th-century artists was Henry Moore , regarded as the voice of British sculpture, and of British modernism in general. Sir Jacob Epstein was a pioneer of modern sculpture. The auction was revived in 17th- and 18th-century England when auctions by candle began to be used for the sale of goods and leaseholds, some of which were recorded in Samuel Pepys 's diary in Known for his thickly impasted portrait and figure paintings, Lucian Freud was widely considered the pre-eminent British artist of his time. Posters have played a significant role in British culture.

In the late s, British graphic designer Storm Thorgerson co-founded the graphic art group Hipgnosis , who have designed many iconic single and album covers for rock bands. His works were notable for their surreal elements, with perhaps the most famous being the cover for Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. The subversive political artwork of Banksy pseudonym of English graffiti artist whose identity is concealed can be found on streets, walls and buildings in the UK and the rest of the world.

A total of , votes were cast with Concorde beating other British design icons such as the Mini , mini skirt , Jaguar E-Type , Tube map and the Supermarine Spitfire. Sir Morien Morgan led research into supersonic transport in that culminated in the Concorde passenger aircraft. By the late s the Committee had started the process of selecting specific designs for development, and after the forced merger of most UK aviation firms in , selected the Bristol Type , designed by Archibald Russell , as the basis for a transatlantic design.

Large outdoor music festivals in the summer and autumn are popular, such as Glastonbury the largest greenfield festival in the world , V Festival , Reading and Leeds Festivals. The UK was at the forefront of the illegal, free rave movement from the late s, which led to pan-European culture of teknivals mirrored on the UK free festival movement and associated travelling lifestyle. Irish dancing is popular in Northern Ireland and among the Irish diaspora throughout the UK; its costumes feature patterns taken from the medieval Book of Kells.

A staple of British seaside culture, the quarrelsome couple Punch and Judy made their first recorded appearance in Covent Garden, London in We soon changed Punch's name, transformed him from a marionette to a hand puppet, and he became, really, a spirit of Britain - a subversive maverick who defies authority, a kind of puppet equivalent to our political cartoons. The circus is a traditional form of entertainment in the UK.

Chipperfield's Circus dates back more than years in Britain, making it one of the oldest family circus dynasties. Philip Astley is regarded as the father of the modern circus. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Joseph Grimaldi , originator of whiteface clown make-up, is considered the father of modern clowning. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival. Established in , it takes place in Scotland's capital during three weeks every August alongside several other arts and cultural festivals.

The Fringe mostly attracts events from the performing arts , particularly theatre and comedy, although dance and music also feature. Pantomime often referred to as "panto" is a British musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. Pantomime story lines and scripts are almost always based on traditional children's stories: some of the popular British stories featured include Jack and the Beanstalk , Peter Pan , Babes in the Wood , Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Dick Whittington and His Cat.

Plot lines are almost always adapted for comic or satirical effect, and characters and situations from other stories are often interpolated into the plot. For example, Jack and the Beanstalk might include references to English nursery rhymes involving characters called "Jack", such as Jack and Jill. Famous people regularly appear in Pantos, such as Ian McKellen. Music hall is a British theatrical entertainment popular from the early Victorian era to the midth century. The precursor to variety shows of today, music hall involved a mixture of popular songs, comedy, speciality acts and variety entertainment.

He just taught us most of it". We in Hollywood owe much to him. Annually held in December often at the London Palladium and performed infront of members of the British Royal Family , many famous acts have performed at the Royal Variety show over the century, and since one act of the show has been selected by the British public through the ITV television talent show Britain's Got Talent. The architecture of the United Kingdom includes many features that precede the creation of the United Kingdom in , from as early as Skara Brae and Stonehenge to the Giant's Ring , Avebury and Roman ruins.

In most towns and villages the parish church is an indication of the age of the settlement. Many castles remain from the medieval period, such as Windsor Castle longest-occupied castle in Europe , [85] Stirling Castle one of the largest and most important in Scotland , Bodiam Castle a moated castle , and Warwick Castle. Over the two centuries following the Norman conquest of England of , and the building of the Tower of London , castles such as Caernarfon Castle in Wales and Carrickfergus Castle in Ireland were built.

English Gothic architecture flourished from the 12th to the early 16th century, and famous examples include Westminster Abbey , the traditional place of coronation for the British monarch , which also has a long tradition as a venue for royal weddings ; and was the location of the funeral of Princess Diana , [87] Canterbury Cathedral , one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England; Salisbury Cathedral , which has the tallest church spire in the UK; and Winchester Cathedral , which has the longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.

In the United Kingdom, a listed building is a building or other structure officially designated as being of special architectural, historical or cultural significance. About half a million buildings in the UK have "listed" status. He was employed to design and rebuild many of the ruined ancient churches of London following the Great Fire of London. Both St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace use Portland stone , a limestone from the Jurassic period quarried in the Jurassic Coast in Portland , Dorset, which is famous for its use in British and world architecture. In the early 18th century Baroque architecture — popular in Europe — was introduced, and Blenheim Palace was built in this era.

However, Baroque was quickly replaced by a return of the Palladian form. The Georgian architecture of the 18th century was an evolved form of Palladianism. Many existing buildings such as Woburn Abbey and Kedleston Hall are in this style. Among the many architects of this form of architecture and its successors, neoclassical and romantic , were Robert Adam , Sir William Chambers , and James Wyatt.

The aristocratic stately home continued the tradition of the first large gracious unfortified mansions such as the Elizabethan Montacute House and Hatfield House. Many of these houses are the setting for British period dramas, such as Downton Abbey. During the 18th and 19th centuries in the highest echelons of British society, the English country house was a place for relaxing, hunting in the countryside.

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Many stately homes have become open to the public: Knebworth House , now a major venue for open air rock and pop concerts — Freddie Mercury 's final live performance with Queen took place at Knebworth on 9 August , [92] Alton Towers , the most popular theme park in the UK, and Longleat , the world's first safari park outside Africa.

In the early 19th century the romantic Gothic revival began in England as a reaction to the symmetry of Palladianism. By the middle of the 19th century, as a result of new technology, one could incorporate steel as a building component: one of the greatest exponents of this was Joseph Paxton , architect of the Crystal Palace.

Paxton also built such houses as Mentmore Towers , in the still popular retrospective Renaissance styles. In this era of prosperity and development British architecture embraced many new methods of construction, but such architects as August Pugin ensured that traditional styles were retained. Following the building of the world's first seaside pier in July in Ryde , Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, the pier became fashionable at seaside resorts in the UK during the Victorian era, peaking in the s with 22 being built. At the beginning of the 20th century a new form of design, arts and crafts , became popular; the architectural form of this style, which had evolved from the 19th-century designs of such architects as George Devey , was championed by Edwin Lutyens.

Arts and crafts in architecture is characterised by an informal, non-symmetrical form, often with mullioned or lattice windows, multiple gables and tall chimneys. This style continued to evolve until World War II. After that war, reconstruction went through a variety of phases, but was heavily influenced by Modernism , especially from the late s to the early s. Many bleak town centre redevelopments—criticised for featuring hostile, concrete-lined "windswept plazas"—were the fruit of this interest, as were many equally bleak public buildings, such as the Hayward Gallery.

Many Modernist-inspired town centres are today being redeveloped: Bracknell town centre is an example. However, in the immediate post-War years many thousands perhaps hundreds of thousands of council houses in vernacular style were built, giving working-class people their first experience of private gardens and indoor sanitation. Many towns also feature statues or sculptures dedicated to famous natives. Modernism remains a significant force in UK architecture, although its influence is felt predominantly in commercial buildings.

Described by The Guardian as the 'Queen of the curve', Zaha Hadid liberated architectural geometry with the creation of highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life.

Modernist architect Nicholas Grimshaw designed the Eden Project in Cornwall, which is the world's largest greenhouse. British comics in the early 20th century typically evolved from illustrated penny dreadfuls of the Victorian era featuring Sweeney Todd , Dick Turpin and Varney the Vampire. A growing consumer culture and an increased capacity for travel throughout the UK via the invention of railway in created both a market for cheap popular literature, and the ability for it to be circulated on a large scale.

By the weekly circulation of both reached two million. In Tiger comics introduced Roy of the Rovers , the hugely popular football based strip recounting the life of Roy Race and the team he played for, Melchester Rovers. The stock media phrase "real 'Roy of the Rovers' stuff" is often used by football writers, commentators and fans when describing displays of great skill, or surprising results that go against the odds, in reference to the dramatic storylines that were the strip's trademark. Other comic books and graphic novels such as Eagle , Valiant , Warrior , and AD also flourished.

Created by Emma Orczy in , the Scarlet Pimpernel is the alter ego of Sir Percy Blakeney, a wealthy English fop who transforms into a formidable swordsman and a quick-thinking escape artist, establishing the "hero with a secret identity " into popular culture. In the s, a resurgence of British writers and artists gained prominence in mainstream comic books, which was dubbed the " British Invasion " in comic book history. These writers and artists brought with them their own mature themes and philosophy such as anarchy , controversy and politics common in British media, but were never before seen in American comics.

These elements would pave the way for mature and "darker and edgier" comic books that would jump start the Modern Age of Comics. Much of the folklore of the United Kingdom pre-dates the 18th century. Though some of the characters and stories are present throughout all of the UK, most belong to specific countries or regions. Common folkloric beings include pixies , giants , elves , bogeymen , trolls , goblins and dwarves. While many legends and folk-customs are thought to be ancient, such as the tales of Offa of Angeln and Weyland Smith , others date from after the Norman invasion of England, such as Robin Hood and his Merry Men of Sherwood and their battles with the Sheriff of Nottingham.

During the High Middle Ages tales originated from Brythonic traditions, notably the Arthurian legend. Another early figure from British tradition , King Cole , may have been based on a real figure from Sub-Roman Britain. Many of the tales make up part of the wider Matter of Britain , a collection of shared British folklore. The legendary monster has been affectionately referred to by the nickname "Nessie" since the s. The leprechaun figures large in Irish folklore. A mischievous fairy-type creature in emerald green clothing who when not playing tricks spends all its time busily making shoes, the leprechaun is said to have a pot of gold hidden at the end of the rainbow , and if ever captured by a human it has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for release.

In mythology, English fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer helped form the modern perception of giants as stupid and violent, while the dwarf Tom Thumb is a traditional hero in English folklore. English fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears is one of the most popular fairy tales in the English language.

The Gremlin is part of Royal Air Force folklore dating from the s, with "gremlin" being RAF slang for a mischievous creature that sabotages aircraft, meddling in the plane's equipment. Lovett who sells pies made from Todd's victims , and serial killer Jack the Ripper.

On 5 November, people in England make bonfires, set off fireworks and eat toffee apples in commemoration of the foiling of Guy Fawkes ' Gunpowder Plot , which became an annual event after the Thanksgiving Act of was passed. Halloween is a traditional and much celebrated holiday in Scotland and Ireland on the night of 31 October. Other practices in Ireland include lighting bonfires , and having firework displays. Mass transatlantic Irish and Scottish migration in the 19th century popularised Halloween in North America.

Witchcraft has featured in the British Isles for millennia. The use of a crystal ball to foretell the future is attributed to the druids. In medieval folklore King Arthur 's magician, the wizard Merlin , carried around a crystal ball for the same purpose. John Dee , consultant to Elizabeth I , frequently used a crystal ball to communicate with the angels.

The ghost of Anne Boleyn is a frequently reported ghost sighting in the UK. Differing accounts include seeing her ghost ride up to Blickling Hall in a coach drawn by a headless horseman, with her own head on her lap. Modern witchcraft began in England in the early 20th century with notable figures such as Aleister Crowley and the father of Wicca Gerald Gardner , before expanding westward in the s.

Crowley the founder of Thelema was described as "the most notorious occultist magician of the 20th century", and he remains an influential figure over Western esotericism and the counter-culture. English Heritage is the government body with a broad remit of managing the historic sites, artefacts and environments of England. It is currently sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The northernmost point of the Roman Empire, Hadrian's Wall , is the largest Roman artefact anywhere: it runs a total of 73 miles in northern England.

Historic Environment Scotland is the executive agency of the Scottish Government , responsible for historic monuments in Scotland, such as Stirling Castle. Balmoral Castle is the main Scottish residence of the Queen. A statue of Robert the Bruce and a large monument and visitor centre operated by the National Trust for Scotland is located in Bannockburn near the site of the Battle of Bannockburn. Many of Wales' great castles, such as the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd and other monuments, are under the care of Cadw , the historic environment service of the Welsh Government.

Tintagel Castle is a popular tourist destination in Cornwall, with the castle associated with the legend of King Arthur since the 12th century. The British Museum in London with its collection of more than seven million objects, [] is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world, and sourced from every continent, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginning to the present. On display since , the Rosetta Stone is the most viewed attraction. The Natural History Museum, London was established by Richard Owen who coined the term " dinosaur " to display the national collection of dinosaur fossils and other biological and geological exhibits.

The Titanic Belfast museum, a visitor attraction in the Titanic Quarter , east Belfast, Northern Ireland on the regenerated site of the shipyard where Titanic was built, was opened to the public in The most senior art gallery is the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square , which houses a collection of over 2, paintings dating from the midth century to The Tate galleries house the national collections of British and international modern art; they also host the famously controversial Turner Prize.

The National Museum of Art, Wales, opened in The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh holds 7 million books, 14 million printed items such as the last letter written by Mary, Queen of Scots and over 2 million maps. Blue plaques , the oldest historical marker scheme in the world, are permanent signs installed in a public place in the UK to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event. Events commemorated by plaques include John Logie Baird 's first demonstration of television at 22 Frith Street , Westminster, W1, London, the first sub 4-minute mile run by Roger Bannister on 6 May at Oxford University's Iffley Road Track , and a sweet shop in Llandaff , Cardiff that commemorates the mischief by a young Roald Dahl who put a mouse in the gobstoppers jar.

From the time of the Scientific Revolution , England and Scotland, and thereafter the United Kingdom, have been prominent in world scientific and technological development. The Royal Society serves as the national academy for sciences, with members drawn from different institutions and disciplines. Formed in , it is one of the oldest learned societies still in existence.

Sir Isaac Newton 's publication of the Principia Mathematica ushered in what is recognisable as modern physics. The first edition of and the second edition of framed the scientific context of the foundation of the United Kingdom. He realised that the same force is responsible for movements of celestial and terrestrial bodies, namely gravity. He is the father of classical mechanics , formulated as his three laws and as the co-inventor with Gottfried Leibniz of differential calculus.

He also created the binomial theorem , worked extensively on optics , and created a law of cooling. Figures from the UK have contributed to the development of most major branches of science. John Napier introduced logarithms in the early 17th century as a means to simplify calculations. Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell unified the electric and magnetic forces in what are now known as Maxwell's equations. Following his publication of A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field in , Maxwell predicted the existence of radio waves in Naturalist Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species and discovered the principle of evolution by natural selection.

James Hutton , founder of modern geology, worked on the age of the Earth deep time which forms a key element of Darwin's theory. Other important geologists include Charles Lyell , author of Principles of Geology , who also coined the term Pleistocene , and Adam Sedgwick , who proposed and coined the name of the Cambrian Period. Paul Dirac was one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics.

Botanist Robert Brown discovered the random movement of particles suspended in a fluid Brownian motion. John Stewart Bell created Bell's Theorem. Harold Kroto discovered buckminsterfullerene. Other 19th- and early 20th-century British pioneers in their field include Joseph Lister antiseptic surgery , Edward Jenner vaccination , Richard Owen palaeontology , coined the term Dinosaur , Florence Nightingale nursing , Sir George Cayley aerodynamics , William Fox Talbot photography , and Howard Carter modern archaeology , discovered Tutankhamun.

Scholarly descriptions of dinosaur bones first appeared in the late 17th-century England. Between and , William Buckland discovered fossils of Megalosaurus and became the first person to describe a dinosaur in a scientific journal. The second dinosaur genus to be identified, Iguanodon , was discovered in by Mary Ann Mantell. In , Gideon Mantell discovered fossils of a third dinosaur, Hylaeosaurus. Owen recognised that the remains of the three new species that had been found so far shared a number of distinctive features. He decided to present them as a distinct taxonomic group, dinosaurs.

John Harrison invented the marine chronometer , a key piece in solving the problem of accurately establishing longitude at sea, thus revolutionising and extending the possibility of safe long-distance sea travel. The aquarium craze began in Victorian England when Philip Henry Gosse created and stocked the first public aquarium at London Zoo in , and coined the term "aquarium" when he published The Aquarium: An Unveiling of the Wonders of the Deep Sea in A crucial advance in the development of the flush toilet was the S-trap invented by Alexander Cumming in — it uses the standing water to seal the outlet of the bowl, preventing the escape of foul air from the sewer.

They patented it in May as an alarm system, and it was first successfully demonstrated on 25 July between Euston and Camden Town in London. Postal reformer Sir Rowland Hill is regarded as the creator of the modern postal service and the inventor of the postage stamp Penny Black — with his solution of pre-payment facilitating the safe, speedy and cheap transfer of letters. Forming the mathematical foundations of computing , Boolean logic laid the foundations for the information age. Historically, many of the UK's greatest scientists have been based at either Oxford or Cambridge University , with laboratories such as the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge and the Clarendon Laboratory in Oxford becoming famous in their own right.

In modern times, other institutions such as the Red Brick and New Universities are catching up with Oxbridge. For instance, Lancaster University has a global reputation for work in low temperature physics. Technologically, the UK is also amongst the world's leaders. Historically, it was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution , with innovations especially in textiles, the steam engine , railroads, machine tools and civil engineering.

Maudslay's most influential invention was the screw-cutting lathe , a machine which created uniformity in screws and allowed for the application of interchangeable parts a prerequisite for mass production : it was a revolutionary development necessary for the Industrial Revolution. The UK has the oldest railway networks in the world, with the Stockton and Darlington Railway , opened in , the first public railway to use steam locomotives.

Opened in , London Underground is the world's first underground railway. Josiah Wedgwood pioneered the industrialisation of pottery manufacture. In , Edgar Purnell Hooley added tar to the mix and named it Tarmac short for tarmacadam. Probably the greatest driver behind the modern use of concrete was Smeaton's Tower built by John Smeaton in the s.

The third Eddystone Lighthouse the world's first open ocean lighthouse , Smeaton pioneered the use of hydraulic lime in concrete. Situated 11 miles off east Scotland, it is the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. Portland cement , the most common type of cement in general use around the world as a basic ingredient of concrete, was developed in England in the 19th century. It was coined by Joseph Aspdin in he named it after Portland stone , and further developed by his son William Aspdin in the s.

Since then, the UK has continued this tradition of technical creativity. Alan Turing leading role in the creation of the modern computer , Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell the first practical telephone , John Logie Baird world's first working television system, first electronic colour television , Frank Whittle co-invented the jet engine — powered by Whittle's turbojet engines, the Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' only jet aircraft to achieve combat operations during World War II, Charles Babbage devised the idea of the computer , Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.

Pioneers of fertility treatment Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards , achieved conception through IVF world's first "test tube baby" in Douglas , is regarded as a contender for the first video game. Dolly the sheep , the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult somatic cell by scientists at Roslin Institute in Edinburgh , became a celebrity in the s. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain due to the social, economic and political changes in the country during the previous centuries. The stable political situation in Britain from around following the Glorious Revolution , in contrast to other European countries where absolute monarchy remained the typical form of government, can be said to be a factor in favouring Britain as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

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

Meeting the demands of the consumer revolution and growth in wealth of the middle classes that helped drive the Industrial Revolution in Britain, Wedgwood created goods such as soft-paste porcelain tableware bone china , which was starting to become a common feature on dining tables. With his role in the marketing and manufacturing of James Watt 's steam engine, and invention of modern coinage , Matthew Boulton is regarded as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in history.

Selling Welsh flannel , he created mail order catalogues, with customers able order by mail for the first time, and the goods were delivered by railway. The UK has had a long history of car making. In addition to the company's reputation for superior engineering quality in its cars, Rolls-Royce Limited was known for manufacturing the high-powered "R" engines, including the iconic Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine which was used for many World War II aircraft.

Bentley in in Cricklewood , North London, and, like Rolls Royce, is regarded as a British luxury automobile icon. Aston Martin was founded in by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford , and became associated with luxury grand touring cars in the s and s, and with the fictional British spy James Bond. Jaguar was founded in The Jaguar E-Type sports car was released in ; Enzo Ferrari called it "the most beautiful car ever made".

The Land Rover launched in and specialises in four-wheel-drive. The Mini was released by the British Motor Corporation in and became a s cultural icon. The performance versions, the Mini Cooper, was a successful rally car. It has been named Britain's favourite car in a poll. The United Kingdom was created as an Anglican Christian country, and Anglican churches remain the largest faith group in each country of the UK except Scotland, where Anglicanism is a small minority.

William Tyndale 's s translation of the Bible was the first to be printed in English, and was a model for subsequent English translations, notably the King James Version in The Book of Common Prayer of was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English, and the marriage and burial rites have found their way into those of other denominations and into the English language.

In 17th-century England, the Puritans condemned the celebration of Christmas. The calendar reform became a major point of tension between the Anglicans and Puritans. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old-style Christmas generosity.

Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities; and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. Following the Restoration, Poor Robins Almanack contained the lines:. The diary of James Woodforde, from the latter half of the 18th century, details Christmas observance and celebrations associated with the season over a number of years.

In the early 19th century, writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration. In , Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol that helped revive the "spirit" of Christmas and seasonal merriment. Dickens repeats the phrase at the end of the story; symbolic of Scrooge's change of heart. In the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Henry Cole , leading to the exchange of festive greeting cards among the public. The movement coincided with the appearance of the Oxford Movement and the growth of Anglo-Catholicism , which led a revival in traditional rituals and religious observances.

In , the future Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a Christmas tree, hung with lights , ornaments , and presents placed round it. The oldest and largest youth charity in the world, its aim is to support young people to belong, contribute and thrive in their communities. It seeks to bring salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry. The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world — a legacy of the British Empire. It is the ultimate legislative authority in the United Kingdom: the devolved parliaments and assemblies in Scotland , Northern Ireland and Wales are not sovereign bodies and could be abolished by the UK Parliament, despite each being established following public approval as expressed in a referendum.

The UK's two major political parties are the Labour Party and the Conservative Party , who between them won out of seats in the House of Commons at the most recent general election. The Scottish National Party Scotland only lost 21 of their seats in the House of Commons from the previous election; they remained the third-largest party by seats held, despite the Liberal Democrats making gains.

The United Kingdom has an uncodified constitution , the Constitution of the United Kingdom , consisting mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes , judge-made case law , and international treaties. As there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and "constitutional law," the UK Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing Acts of Parliament and thus has the political power to change or abolish almost any written or unwritten element of the constitution.

However, no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. British constitutional documents include Magna Carta foundation of the "great writ" Habeas corpus — safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action , the Bill of Rights one provision granting freedom of speech in Parliament , Petition of Right , Habeas Corpus Act and Parliament Acts and A separate but similar document, the Claim of Right Act , applies in Scotland. Jurist Albert Venn Dicey wrote that the British Habeas Corpus Acts "declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty".

In Scotland the percentage is higher due to Scotland having a lower population as well having juries made up of fifteen people as opposed to twelve in England and Wales. The 17th-century English patriot John Hampden was a leading parliamentarian involved in challenging the authority of Charles I when he refused to be taxed for ship money in , and was one of the Five Members whose attempted unconstitutional arrest by the King in the House of Commons in sparked the English Civil War.

The wars established the constitutional rights of parliament, a concept legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution in and the subsequent Bill of Rights Since that time, no British monarch has entered the House of Commons when it is sitting. Other important British political figures include Sir Edward Coke , 17th-century jurist; the legal directive that nobody may enter a home, which in the 17th-century would typically have been male owned, unless by the owners invitation or consent, was established as common law in Coke's Institutes of the Lawes of England.

An influential thinker in the history of liberalism , 19th century philosopher, political economist and politician John Stuart Mill justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. A member of the Liberal Party , he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.

Robert Walpole is generally regarded as the first British Prime Minister — She became known as the " Iron Lady ", a term coined by a Soviet journalist for her uncompromising politics and leadership style. English poet William Cowper wrote in , "We have no slaves at home — Then why abroad?

Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs receive our air, that moment they are free, They touch our country, and their shackles fall. That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud. And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then, And let it circulate through every vein. The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement or service to the United Kingdom.

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

By the Late Middle Ages , the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry , a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Since the early modern period , the title of knight is purely honorific, usually bestowed by a monarch, often for non-military service to the country. The modern female equivalent in the UK is damehood.

The ceremony often takes place at Buckingham Palace , and family members are invited to attend. A few examples of knights are Sir Nicholas Winton : for "services to humanity, in saving Jewish children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia", [] Sir Elton John : for "services to music and charitable services", Sir Ridley Scott : for "services to the British film industry", [] and Sir Richard Branson : for "services to entrepreneurship". The suffix " shire " is attached to most of the names of English, Scottish and Welsh counties. Shire is a term for a division of land first used in England during the Anglo-Saxon period.

This suffix tends not to be found in the names of counties that were pre-existing divisions. Essex , Kent , and Sussex , for example, have never borne a -shire , as each represents a former Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Similarly Cornwall was a British kingdom before it became an English county. The term "shire" is also not used in the names of the six traditional counties of Northern Ireland.

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The use of the British imperial system of measure , particularly among the public, is widespread in the United Kingdom and is in many cases permitted by the law. An example of giving one's body weight would be: 11 and a half stone , or 11 stone and 7 pounds. Distances shown on road signs must be in yards and miles , while miles per hour appear on speed limit signs and car speedometers.

Drivers in Britain drive on the left. Research shows that countries driving on the left have a lower collision rate than those that drive on the right, and it has been suggested that this is partly because the predominantly better-performing right eye is used to monitor oncoming traffic and the driver's wing mirror. On being shown a design he is said to have remarked that it resembled a zebra.

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

Historically, British cuisine meant "unfussy dishes made with quality local ingredients, matched with simple sauces to accentuate flavour, rather than disguise it". Anglo-Saxon England developed meat and savoury herb stewing techniques before the practice became common in Europe. Each country within the United Kingdom has its own specialities.

Traditional examples of English cuisine include the Sunday roast ; featuring a roasted joint , usually roast beef a signature English national dish dating back to the ballad " The Roast Beef of Old England " , lamb or chicken, served with assorted boiled vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.

The full English breakfast consists of bacon , grilled tomatoes, fried bread, baked beans , fried mushrooms , sausages and eggs. Black pudding and hash browns are often also included. It is usually served with tea or coffee. Fish and chips are also regarded as a national institution: Winston Churchill called them "the good companions", John Lennon smothered them in tomato ketchup, while George Orwell referred to them as a "chief comfort" of the working class.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After Eights are a popular after dinner mint. A stick of rock a hard cylindrical stick-shaped boiled sugar is a traditional British seaside sweet, commonly sold at seaside resorts throughout the UK such as Brighton , Portrush and Blackpool. A " 99 Flake " commonly called a "99" which consists of ice cream in a cone with a Cadbury Flake inserted in it, is a hugely popular British dessert.

Most of the major sports have separate administrative structures and national teams for each of the countries of the United Kingdom. With the rules and codes of many modern sports invented and codified in late 19th-century Victorian Britain , in , IOC President Jacques Rogge stated; "This great, sports-loving country is widely recognized as the birthplace of modern sport.

It was here that the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play were first codified into clear rules and regulations. It was here that sport was included as an educational tool in the school curriculum". Both in participation and viewing, the most popular sport in the UK is association football. The rules were first drafted in England in by Ebenezer Cobb Morley , and the UK has the oldest football clubs in the world.

The top three Welsh football clubs feature in the English league system. The first international football match was between Scotland and England in The first recipient of the Ballon d'Or , Stanley Matthews was knighted while still a player. Scotland's Celtic and Rangers also have a global fanbase. Leicester City 's Premier League title win is regarded among the greatest sporting upsets ever. Early references to dribbling come from accounts of medieval football games in England. Geoffrey Chaucer offered an allusion to such ball skills in 14th-century England. In The Knight's Tale from the Canterbury Tales he uses the following line: "rolleth under foot as doth a ball".

Football in Britain is renowned for the intense rivalries between clubs and the passion of the supporters, which includes a tradition of football chants , which are one of the last remaining sources of an oral folk song tradition in the UK. The purchase of a football programme a pre-match magazine produced by the home team that gives details on that days game, including player profiles, recent form, interviews etc. The Football Association dropped its ban on floodlights in , and night games attracted increasingly large crowds of fans—some of them unruly—as well as large television audiences.

The modern game of golf originated in Scotland, with the Fife town of St Andrews known internationally as the " home of golf ". In , rugby union was created when the first rules were written by pupils at Rugby School , Warwickshire. The first rugby international took place on 27 March , played between England and Scotland. In , the Home Nations combined to form what is today called the British and Irish Lions , who now tour every four years to face a Southern Hemisphere team. The Wales team of the s, which included a backline consisting of Gareth Edwards , J.

Williams and Phil Bennett who were known for their feints, sidesteps and attacking running rugby, are regarded as one of the greatest teams in the game — all three players were involved in The greatest try ever scored in Jonny Wilkinson scored the winning drop goal for England in the last minute of extra time in the Rugby World Cup Final. In , rugby league was created in Huddersfield , West Riding of Yorkshire , as the result of a split with the other Rugby code.

The Super League is the sports top-level club competition in Britain, and the sport is especially popular in towns in the northern English counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. The Challenge Cup is the major rugby league cup competition. The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England in the s, and after its creation, tennis spread throughout the upper-class English-speaking population, before spreading around the world. The tournament itself has a major place in the British cultural calendar. The eight-time Slam winner and Britain's most successful player Fred Perry is one of only seven men in history to have won all four Grand Slam events, which included three Wimbledons.

The 'Queensberry rules' , the code of general rules in boxing , was named after John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry in , that formed the basis of modern boxing. The s saw the emergence of heavyweight Frank Bruno who would become hugely popular with the British public. In the s, Chris Eubank , Nigel Benn , Steve Collins and Michael Watson had a series of fights against each other in the super-middleweight division, drawing audiences of up to 20 million in the UK.

The Nigel Benn vs. Gerald McClellan fight in drew 13 million. The modern game of cricket was created in England in the s when round arm bowling was legalised, followed by the historical legalisation of overarm bowling in Influential to the development of the sport, W.

Grace is regarded as one of the greatest cricket players, devising most of the techniques of modern batting. The rivalry between England and Australia gave birth to The Ashes in that has remained Test cricket's most famous contest, and takes place every two years to high television viewing figures. The County Championship is the domestic competition in England and Wales.

Originating in 17th and 18th-century England, the Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Horse racing was popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings. The name " Derby " has since become synonymous with great races all over the world, and as such has been borrowed many times in races abroad. It is the most watched horse race in the UK, attracting casual observers, and three-time winner Red Rum is the most successful racehorse in the event's history. Bolton company J.

The most successful male rower in Olympic history, Steve Redgrave won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games. Cycling is a popular physical activity in the UK.