Britain is a country that is deeply rooted to culture and history. The colonial times and the change Britain established all across the world is all what we mostly know about this country. British Royal Family has always been known to shadow the articles on top tabloids across the world. With love for tea, and fish n chips, Britain is much more than that.
To help you understand more about Britain which could be on your bucket list, we have gathered some most bizarre facts about Britain that you would love to know.
1 – Every Spiral staircase in Britain has same design and it heads upward clockwise. This was strategic design because British people are most right handed and soldiers could use their swords when under attack. This way the people ascending up would have a disadvantage, while the people ascending down would have more room. This practice has been used in Britain since Medieval times.
2 – We often call United Kingdom as England, but did you know that you all got it wrong. England is one of the four counties that make up United Kingdom. In total United Kingdom is made up of Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Even Great Britain and United Kingdom are not same. Great Britain consists of Wales, England, and Scotland.
3 – Most of the British Vehicles are right hand and manual to keep your sword hands free. Since Middle ages, when people used to ride on horseback, kept their right hand free for swords in case if they meet an enemy on the way. Romans even marched on the left, so this one is a old tradition. Even in the 1700’s the large cart drivers kept their right hand free for the whips.
4 – Stone hedge of Britain is even older than Pyramids of Egypt. It is estimated that stone hedge was built 5000 years ago and its construction started in 3000 BC, during the late neolithic age. It is estimated that it took around 1300 years to build the stone hedge. The huge stones that comprise of the stone hedge are around 20 tons each and its still a mystery how were they carried.
5 – Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwlllllandysiliogogogoch. This is not some random gibberish, but a town with longest name located in Britain. This tiny town with an abnormal huge name is located Anglesey island of the Wales. The place is inhabited by around 3000 people. The meaning of its name is ‘Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave’. The town is named after St. Mary’s Church.
6 – Television was first invented in Britain, in 1926. It was John Logie Baird a Scottish engineer who gave a demonstration of first working television in Soho in January 1926. The television broadcast in Britain however started in 1936. However at the time of demonstration by John Logie Baird, the devicfe was not called as Television, but was called as Televisor or a mechanical television.
7 – All the dolphins and the whales in British waters belong to the Monarch, as per law dating back to 1324. These Dolphins and Whales have been since referred to as ‘Fishes Royal’. As per the law the Monarch can claim any of them that are washed ashore or are captured within 3 miles of the United Kingdom. This law was passed just to control the poachers in British waters.
8 – British monarchs do not have the authority to enter House of Commons, the British Parliament. The only exception is made for the ceremonial state opening. The particular law has existed in Britain since 1642, when King Charles I along with his royal guards entered the house of common to arrest some members, though he was unsuccessful, but since then no Monarch has entered the House of Common.
9 – British citizens that reach the age of 100 and 105 get a customized greeting card from the queen. The customized greeting cards are also sent to couples who are celebrating their 60th, or 65th, or 70th wedding anniversary. A small amount of money summing of over 2000 pounds, along with a congratulatory letter, and a commemorative coin is sent on this occasion.
10 – Invention of Sparkling Wine was in England in 1662. It was then that scientists, Christopher Merret and Sir George Downing presented a paper to Royal Society on how to produce Sparkling Wine. The credit also goes to them for creating the bottles that were supposed to carry the sparkling wine. The bottle had to be strong enough to withstand the pressure of sparkling wine.
11 – City of London spans only 1.1 square miles and is the smallest city in county of England. Most of the London we see and hear about is actually the Greater London. You would be surprised to know that London has a population of only 9000 plus people. The greenery in City of London is so vast that actually it is a forest as per the technical qualifications laid down by United Nations.
12 – The deadliest river in the world is located in Yorkshire, England. The river might be as narrow as 6 feet, but the current of water and the clashes with rocks is dreadful. This particular portion of the river is called Strid and is a segment of River Wharfe. The bank of Strid have warning messages which say ‘The Strid is dangerous and has claimed lives in the past. Please stand well back and beware slippery rocks.’.
13 – Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the tower while name of the structure is St Stephen’s tower. The name St. Stephens Tower was given to it during the reign of Queen Victoria by Journalists only because at that time House of Commons sat in St. Stephens Hall. In 2012 it was also renamed as Elizabeth Tower commemorating 60th anniversary of her coronation.
14 – Golf was invented in Scotland and the history dates back to 1457. In its initial days it was even banned by the parliament as it was believed to create distraction from military training. Even the oldest golf course in the world is St Andrews Links in Fife, Scotland. It is estimated that there are more than 500 golf courses in Scotland.
15 – Speeding tickets were invented in Britain and the history goes back to 28 January, 1896. The ticket was fined to a motorist named Walter Arnold who was driving at the speed of 8 miles per hour. After a chase of 5 miles the police constable finally wrote that speeding ticket which later on went to become a standard for all the world.
16 – Ian Fleming the author of James Bond Novels used the bus route near to his home, connecting Canterbury to the Kent coast as the code name behind bond, which was 007. Since the legend was established many people rode the 007 bus to experience the James Bond pilgrimage. In many of the James Bond Novels, Ian Fleming has immortalized the love for Kent.
17 – Shortest passenger flight is from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The time taken officially is one and a half minute. The actual flying time is around 1 minute, and the fastest flight recorded in this route is for 53 seconds. The flight is operated by Logan Air and they have been running it since 1967 when the record for shortest flight was first recorded.
18 – World shortest war was between Britain and Zanzibar which only lasted 38 minutes. The name of the war was Anglo Zanzibar War which happened in 1896. Upon the final ultimatum given by British army the Zanzibar didn’t responded which led to open firing on the wooden castle. It caused major destruction and the resistor from Zanzibar fled way leading to end of the war.
19 – British people drink more than 60 billion of tea cups every year. That is lot of tea. In fact it is considered that a British kitchen is incomplete without a kettle, and the kettle is as important as fridge. The fact also goes like this that majority of British empire was built on the trade of tea by East India Company. It was the duchess of Bedford who introduced the concept of tea time between lunch and dinner.
20 – Shakespeare is known to have added 3000 new words to the English vocabulary that were used by him in his multiple works. In all of the works of Shakespeare be it plays, sonnets, or poems, he has used around 17,000 different words. Some of the popular words in English that we use in our day to day lives and invented by Shakespeare are Accommodation, Dishearten, Dislocate, Exposure.
21 – The queen of Britain is exempted to have a British Passport in order to travel. The reason being that all the British passports are issued in the name of majesty and its inappropriate for her to have one. It is also to be noted that this exemption is only for the queen, and all other members of the Royal family like The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales have passports.
22 – Buckingham Palace was built on a site of a gay brothel. It is referred from the history which dates back to 1649 when an English Politician Clement Walker wrote that there were ‘new-erected sodoms and spintries at the Mulberry Garden at St. James’s.’. In this particular line sodoms is for brothels, and spintries is for gay sex workers.
23 – London is supposed to be a city with grey sky, which means that it rains there frequently. But in fact, it rains less than cities like Rome, Sydney or even Miami. The global average rainfall around all the places of this world is recorded to be at 1,000 mm per year, while in Britain it is only at 1,150 mm which is just above the average. The grey London is just a myth.
24 – In Medieval England even the animals were persecuted in court for damages done to people and their properties. In those times it was believed that animals who committed crimes was under the influence of devil. So they needed to be punished so that devil couldn’t get capable of taking over the human lives. As perv history, animals such pigs, rats, dogs and even insects were put to trial.
25 – Britain was the first country to use postage stamps. The history goes back to 1 May, 1840. The first stamp had the profile of Queen Victoria on it. The name of the first stamp in history was penny black. Great Britain is also the only country that doesn’t uses its name on the postage stamp but of the monarch reigning through their image.
26 – While using London’s transport tickets machine, if you jump out of the queue, you could be fined up to one thousand pounds. Queuing is a serious business here and a part of the British culture. It is also considered rude to jump off the queue in Britain. The history of queuing in Britain started in Industrial Revolution when lots of factory workers had to punch in their time at the same time.
27 – It was in Manchester, July 25 1978, when the first test tube baby was born in the world. Louise Joy Brown was the baby’s name who was born through IVF in Manchester General Hospital, to parents Lesley and Peter Brown. Later on they also had a second daughter through IVF, named Natalie, and in May 1999 she became the first IVF baby to give a birth to a child.
28 – No matter wherever you are in Britain the sea shore will always be within 70 miles. The town of Coton in the Elms which is located in the English county of Derbyshire is one of the places in Britain that is farthest from the sea coast. It is at the distance of 70 miles or 110 km from the coast line. It is estimated that one twentieth of British population lives by the coast.
29 – The national dish of Britain is Chicken Tikka Masala which is an Indian dish. It is believed that earned its fame by the Indian immigrants who invented this dish in Britain. As per one of the theory, a customer of Shish Mahal which is one of the popular curry house in Glasgow was unhappy with the dry chicken, so Chicken Tikka Masala was born, and rest is legend.
30 – British Navy uses the songs of famous pop star Britney Spears to ward off the Somali Pirates. There is also a logic behind choosing Britney’s song as the captains of the ship believe that it is something that pirates would hate the most. They can’t stand to any thing western. ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ and ‘Oops! I Did It Again’ are some of the songs which are most played.
31 – Legal age of drinking in Britain is five years, though it is still illegal to be able to buy alcohol unless you have reached the age of 18. For kids between 5 to 18, drinking alcohol might be legal but it is only valid as long as they drink it in their homes or any private property. Like many of the nations across the world it is still illegal to sell alcohol to someone below the age of 18.
32 – You can travel between Britain and France via underground tunnel through car and train. It is made possible through channel tunnel which is also popularly known as Chunnel. It connects the southern Britain to Northern France, between Folkestone and Calais. GetLink operates the rail network in the tunnel.
United facts of Britain!