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161572.  Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:46 am Reply with quote

I think this was mentioned earlier, but I notice the new £20 has a Scot on it: Adam Smith.

161591.  Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:33 am Reply with quote

That's entirely in keeping with the fact that the Bank of England was founded by a Scot, William Paterson.

Mind you, the Bank of Scotland was founded by an Englishman (or, at least, so a tour guide once told me. Can't find any corroborating evidence on 'tinterweb)

162281.  Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:22 am Reply with quote

Where's it easier to start a riot - US or UK?

I gather from the minutes that this is a question of legal definitions, in which case here’s a possible note:

You’ll have seen on TV and in films that picket lines in the US aren’t actually lines - they always involve people walking around in a circle, hoisting their placards and chanting. You never see a British-style picket line. Apparently, this is because it is actually illegal in the US to mount a stationery picket.

S: Gregor Gall, Professor of Industrial relations, University of Hertfordshire, writing in Morning Star 15 Jan 07.

ON EDIT: More on this, at

Last edited by MatC on Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:38 am; edited 1 time in total

162355.  Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:02 am Reply with quote

I'm currently reading 'Bloody Foreigners - The Story of Immigration to Britain' by Robert Winder and he has quoted part of the Daniel Defoe poem from 1700 'The True-Born Englishman' - thought it might be of interest to this show:

Thus from a mixture of all kinds began
That Het'rogenous Thing, an Englishman:
In eager Rapes, and furious Lust begot,
between a painted Briton and a Scot:
Whose gend'ring offspring quickly learned to bow,
And yoke their heifers to the Roman plough:
From whence a mongrel half-bred race there came,
With neither Name or Nation, Speech or Fame,
In whose hot Veins new Mixtures quickly ran,
Infus'd betwixt a Saxon and a Dane.
While their rank Daughters, to their Parents just
Recieved all nations with Promiscuous Lust.


For Englishmen to boast of generation
Cancels their Knowledge and lampoons the Nation.
A true born Englishman's a Contradiction
in Speech an Irony, in Fact a Faction.

162369.  Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:16 am Reply with quote

Should that last line be 'in Fact a Fiction'? Defoe isn't the kind of writer to suddenly change a rhyme, and it makes more sense as 'fiction' rather than 'faction'.

162370.  Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:17 am Reply with quote

Yes it should be 'fiction' - apologies.

162520.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:13 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Defoe isn't the kind of writer to suddenly change a rhyme

I will refer the honourable lady to the lines quoted above:

In whose hot Veins new Mixtures quickly ran,
Infus'd betwixt a Saxon and a Dane.

The defence rests, your honour.

Frederick The Monk
162534.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:52 am Reply with quote

Case dismissed.

Molly Cule
162546.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:06 am Reply with quote

During the Battle of Britain Spitfires were bought by the public for the RAF, almost all of the Spitfires were paid for this way – 1,750 in total. Spitfire Funds sprung up all over England as well as in the colonies; the Miners of Durham bought one, an Indian Maharajah another, various companies and towns all contributed through fetes, garden parties and street collections. It cost £5000 for a Spitfire, many of which were named after their donors.

The staff of the Bank of England got together £5000 for a Spitfire which was called ‘The Old Lady’, they received a letter of thanks from Lord Beaverbrook. ‘Assam One’ and ‘City of Bombay’ were Indian gifts. The Charrington Anchor Brewery, of Mile End Road, London donated a Spitfire called Toby. Mr J D Burrows, a Leicester businessman, gave the money for a plane named Brenda, after his wife.

14 million pounds was contributed from all over the world by the end of the war for a variety of aircraft types.

Molly Cule
162550.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:11 am Reply with quote

The "V FOR VICTORY" sign was the idea of a Belgian refugee lawyer in London, Victor De Laveleye. He suggested it in a radio broadcast to Belgium.

"I am proposing to you as a rallying emblem the letter V, because V is the first letter of the words 'Victoire' in French, and 'Vrijheid' in Flemish: two things which go together, as Walloons and Flemings are at the moment marching hand in hand, two things which are the consequence one of the other, the Victory which will give us back our freedom, the Victory of our good friends the English. Their word for Victory also begins with V."

The BBC then Churchill picked it up and it spread throughout Britain.
On the radio, V for Victory was made audible by using the beginning of Beethoven’s 5th symphony because the opening notes correlate to the Morse Code for V – dot, dot, dot, dash. And also because of the Roman numeral for 5 and V being the same. The BBC used it as a call sign in foreign language programmes to occupied Europe.

A rhythm similar to that of the Morse V rhythm is featured prominently in the bass line for the Clash song London Calling. The song's title was taken from the BBC World Service's station identification.

When Winston Churchill first started making the sign he sometimes got it the wrong way around, his private secretary, John Colville, September 1941, wrote in his diary, ''The PM will give the V-sign with two fingers in spite of representations repeatedly made to him that this gesture has quite another significance.''

162587.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:50 am Reply with quote

This is all very good in connection with the medieval archer stuff.

162614.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:36 am Reply with quote


THE MYTH: The British have been doing a Harvey Smith, flicking the V, and sticking two fingers up since 1415. At the Battle of Agincourt (or perhaps Crecy), the French threatened to cut off the English longbowmen’s first and second fingers, thus permanently disarming them. When the English won a surprise victory, they waved their fingers defiantly at the enemy.

THE "TRUTH": No-one seems able to prove or disprove this popular story, but there’re a lot of reasons to doubt its veracity. According to anthropologists, hostile gestures involving jerking movements of parts of the hand or forearm are found in many if not most cultures. There’s no record of captured bowmen being mutilated at Agincourt, or elsewhere; if the practice was widespread enough to launch the v-sign, such records would surely exist, from a time when all aspects of warfare were closely scrutinised and chronicled. Tellingly, in the US this legend is applied to the middle finger alone, American mythchiefmakers clearly being unaware that “giving the bird” is not native to the UK.

SOURCES: _The Times_, 4 January 2003;;;

DISCLAIMER: If there’s evidence of the V-sign existing prior to 1415, I haven’t seen it; and if there’s evidence that the finger-chopping tale is more than a digital version of folk etymology, I haven't seen that either. I trust correspondents to FT’s letters page will do better. If not, you can all eff off.

162631.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:07 am Reply with quote

There's a whole thread about this at post 147114. It does seem to be a very firmly-held view that the story is true, so should be good for our purposes.

162635.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:19 am Reply with quote

Link all this to post 156436

162636.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:20 am Reply with quote

Commuting tales might go here, I suppose, under Englishness and Victoriana; Ackroyd’s London says: “Workers walked to the City from Islington and Pentonville, but now they came in from Deptford and Bermondsey, Hoxton and Hackney, as well. It has been estimated that, in the 1850s, 200,000 people walked into the City each day.”


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