Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Queues and queuing

960 of 1157 nominations

PREVIOUS NEXT


Queues and queuing

Is this an icon?

or

Queues and queuing

The British people are sometimes (wrongly) thought to be the only people in the world who don’t mind queuing. We pride ourselves, so the story goes, on being able to form an orderly line, patiently and uncomplainingly waiting for three buses to come at once, or for the electronic voice at the post office to allow us to step forward – “Cashier Number Four, please”. We don’t like jostlers, pushers-in, and people who don’t want to allow elderly or infirm queuers to take priority.

But contrary to the popular myth, the British do not actually like queuing, either in public buildings or when contacting call centres. We wish that things could be organised efficiently enough to minimise the need for queuing, and if we had heard of him, would no doubt take a lively interest in the work of AK Erlang, the Danish telephone engineer who first formulated Queuing Theory in 1909. The latest innovation to help us pass the weary minutes is in-queue entertainment, with videos of Mr Bean being seen in London post offices a few years ago. And if you begin to feel that nobody cares about you, remember – they also serve who only stand and wait.

NOMINATION 960 OF 1157

Your comments

I think queues and queuing should be National Icons because they represent a desire to see things done in an orderly fashion. It also suggests equality and a sense of shared values. At the same time, it looks a bit quaint to the outsider, especially the looks and tuts if you jump in!

Ali Hurworth


The English (and British) are known the world over for it.
M.B.


The English (and British) are known the world over for it.
M.B.


View All Comments (29)

Nominate

Nominate

My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry

Nominate