UK - SURREY REGION

Source: britishcountyflags.files.wordpress.com

Surrey is a county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, East Sussex to the southeast, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and Greater London to the northeast. Surrey is a relatively wealthy county. It has the highest proportion of woodland of counties in England. It has four horse racing courses, and golf courses including the international competition venue at Wentworth. Guildford is popularly regarded as the county town, although Surrey County Council is based extraterritorially at Kingston upon Thames. Surrey is divided into eleven districts. Much of Surrey is in the Metropolitan Green Belt. It contains valued reserves of mature woodland (reflected in the official logo of Surrey County Council, a pair of interlocking oak leaves). Among its many notable beauty spots are Box Hill, Leith Hill, Frensham Ponds, Newlands Corner and Puttenham & Crooksbury Commons. Surrey is the most wooded county in England, with 22.4% coverage compared to a national average of 11.8%. Box Hill has the oldest untouched area of natural woodland in the UK, one of the oldest in Europe.

London before the city was even built

Shows the diversity of lives of the people who lived in the Lower Thames Valley from 450,000 BC until the creation of the Roman City (Londinium) around AD50.

The collection includes:

Ø  Jaw of Mammoth

Ø  Iron Age chariot fitting decorated with swirling stylised patterns of the period and showing the wealth of the owner

Ø  Axes and pots used for the hunting of animals

Ø  River wall with the different objects people used to place in the Thames (bodies of the dead, tools, bronze swords)

Roman London

Showcasing how londinium was, what was the daily life of the Romans who settled and bridged the Thames. From around AD 50 to 410, it was the largest city in Britannia and an important international port.

Medieval London

Showing the collapse of the Roman City to the accession of Queen Elizabeth I. The city was destroyed by invaders, racked by famine, fire and disease and torn apart by religious and political controversy. It became one of the wealthiest and most important cities in Europe between 410 to 1558.

War, Plague and Fire from 1550 to 1660

London was a divided city, with both pleasure seekers and Puritans. The city grew, experienced death and different disasters: execution of King Charles I, the Plague and the Great Fire in 1666.

Expanding the city from 1670 to 1850

The city was rebuilding itself after the Great Fire. It became the world’s largest city and biggest manufacturing center. There was a variety of public from wealthy Londoniens to bankrupted people sent to debtors prisons.

People’s City gallery from 1850 to 1940

London became the wealthiest and most powerful city in the world and the most crowded. Many thrived in the prosperous imperial city while others suffered hardship and poverty. The population lived through the population growth and the two world wars.

World City 

World City displaying the technology, fashion and culture which transformed London after the wars. It displays a multicultural revolution, followed by a punk movement with industries and technologies developing. This city is now known for its diversity and modern industry.

The county part of the Greater London

Kew Gardens 

Source: pixabay.com

Kew Gardens is a botanic garden located in South-west London. It houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collection in the world. Founded in 1840, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 making it a top tourist attraction in the London area. The herbarium includes more than 8, 5 million preserved plants and fungal specimens. One may find the world’s oldest pot plant in the Palm House, which is a huge Jurassic Cyad planted in 1775.

Coca- Cola London Eye  

Source: pixabay.com

The Coca-Cola Ferris wheel, also known as the London Eye is located on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe’s tallest Ferris Wheel and considered as the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK with over 3,75 million visitors per year. The structure is 135 meters tall with a diameter of 120 meters with 32 sealed and air-conditioned capsules. It was designed by two architects called Julia Barfield and David Marks and opened, after seven years of construction, in March 2020. Originally, the London Eye was supposed to be a temporary attraction, yet after 5 years, it got the permanent status. This London Eye is now considered as a symbol, offering a sky-view of a large part of the London area.

Richmond Park

Source: pixabay.com

The Richmond park is an important site for ancient trees and supports a large range of species such as fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses and wildflowers. It was originally created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. It covers 1500 acres making it the largest of the Royal Parks in London. There is a 13km long brick wall surrounding the park which is 2,7 meters high.The park has around 30 ponds, some of which were created only to water the different animals.The park now has a protected status for its habitat for the wildlife and it is a National Nature Reserve as it holds national and international importance for the wildlife preservation. Today, there are around 650 deers running around, their presence has been for more than 300 years.

Big Ben

Source: pixabay.com

Big Ben is the famous nickname for the Great Bell of the Clock located at the north end of the Houses of Parliament. It was the largest bell in the UK for 23 years with 13, 7 metric tons. Big Ben is actually the name of the great hour bell, yet this name is now associated with the whole clock. The tower is a British cultural icon recognised all over the world.

Palace of Westminster

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The palace of Westminster is a Victorian Gothic building, home to the Houses of Parliament. It was constructed after the burning down of the medieval parliament building in 1834. The name comes from its neighbouring Westminster Abbey. The palace serves as a meeting place for the House of Lords, the Parliament of the UK and the Houses of Commons.

Ironbridge Gorge Civil Parish

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It is a deep gorge located in Shropshire in England, containing the River Severn. It is 5,5km2 with steep-sided, mineral-rich valleys. It was formed at the end of the last ice age thanks to a glacial overflow from Lake Lapworth. In 1986, it became one of the first locations in the UK to be designated as a World Heritage Site.

Stonehenge

Source: pixabay.com

Considered as the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe, Stonehenge is a World Heritage Site and is a British cultural icon. The unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. It was legally protected in 1882 and added to the UNESCO sites in 1986. It is the most architecturally sophisticated and only surviving lintel led stone circle in the world.

Immaterial Cultural Patrimony

Today in England, there is no UNESCO recognised cultural patrimony, however there are many different cultural traditions, passed down through oral traditions, social practices, rituals and festive events.

Tea Time

Source: pexels.com

The “afternoon tea” is an essential part of English customs. It was popularized during the 1660s by King Charles II and became a real concept throughout the 19th century thanks to Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. It was created to eat and drink something between the long period between lunch and dinner. This custom has remained in time and it is nowadays possible to try this “afternoon tea” in prestigious hotels.

Pancake Day / Shrove Day

Source: wikipedia.org                                                   Source: traveller-information.blogspot

The date varies year to year as it falls on the Tuesday 47 days before Easter Sunday. It was traditionally a time of fasting; Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the fast and pancakes are the best way to use the ingredients. Pancakes races form an important tradition of the Shrove Tuesday Celebrations. People race down streets tossing pancakes, the goal is to finish the race carrying a frying pan with a cooked pancake in it and flipping it as the person runs.

According to tradition, in 1445 a woman ran to the church in her apron when hearing the shriving bell, still clutching her frying pan.

Cheese Rolling Down The Hill

Source: wikipedia.org

This is a tradition held every spring in the South West of England Gloucester region where competitors launch themselves down a hill in pursuit of a round cheese for two hundred years. For the event, a nine-pound round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the top of a hill and competitors chase it down to the bottom. The first person across the finish line is crown winner with the cheese as their price.

May Day Pole Dancing

Source: Oakhousefoods.co.uk                                                   Source: Englishlessonsbrighton.co.uk

On May Day, villages celebrate the coming of the summer. On this day, some of Britain’s most enduring village traditions are displayed such as the maypole dancing. This tradition began in Roman Britain about 2000 years ago when soldiers celebrated the arrival of spring dancing around decorated trees to thank the goddess Flora. Today, this ceremonial folk dance is performed around a tall pole garlanded with greenery or flowers and hung with ribbons.

Traditional Costumes

Source: Museumoflondon.org                                                Source: Doc.gold.ac.uk                                                                                                           Source: Pexels.com

Today, England has no official national dress. Several costumes are distinct to England and are recognized overseas. The Pearly Kings who were the leaders of the Victorian street seller. First their hats were covered with pearl buttons as a sign of authority, later their clothes became all covered. The title of Pearly King is passed down in the family. Royal guards and their costumes are known all over the world and are important to the British population as they protect the Queen.