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

The People of England

1020 of 1170 nominations


The People of England

Is this an icon?


The People of England

Particular aspects of the English national character have been celebrated elsewhere on ICONS (Stiff Upper Lip, Good Manners and Sense of Humour), but for many of us, it is we ourselves who constitute the most obvious icon of the nation. For London mayor Ken Livingstone, it is ‘the dynamism, the tolerance and the strength’ of the English people, qualities demonstrated in the aftermath of the July 7 bombings in London, that distinguish us as a nation. Then there is the quality of mingled complacency and insistence in respect of our rights, best exemplified in GK Chesterton’s much-quoted 1907 poem The Secret People: “Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget. / For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet”. Best of all perhaps are those rare moments when we seem to come together as a nation, whether it be to rally around Churchill’s call to arms in wartime, to grieve at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, or to gather around the TV when one of our favourite characters is killed off in Coronation Street or EastEnders.


Your comments

I nominate the people of England.

Ken Livingstone

The only People in Europe not represented by their own Democratically Elected Government, we had a Parliament at YORK for 1500 years! it was deliberately destroyed along with so much else by the Tudors. We have the right to be represented by The Atlantic Charter of 1941 signed by Winston Churchill and President Rooseveldt why are we still waiting for our freedom from ondon?
Mr Stephen Round

The English people and language is the most English thing for me besides the beautiful country. On one hand the English are very much themselves and proud. On the other hand you are very much linked to continental north western Europe, sharing common language roots with the Dutch, Scandinavians and Germans, where the Anglians and the Saxons came from. Some say there is no English culture because the Normans invaded England but the Normans were of similar origins as the Anglo-Saxons. England played an important roll in spreading and uniting the world through the English language. The English people have succeeded in beeing themselves but also in beeing international.

View All Comments (5)



I nominate the English weather.