U N I T E D - K I N G D O M


Table of Contents
(More To Be Added)

ENGLAND
SCOTLAND


UNITED KINGDOM
(Brief Summary)


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the northwestern coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south, and the Atlantic to the southwest, giving it the 12th longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles (240,000 km).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world's longest serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital is London, a global city and financial centre.

The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

There is much more about the United Kingdom. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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England, UK




ENGLAND
(Brief Summary)

England is the largest part of the island of Great Britain, and is the largest constituent country of the (UK) United Kingdom. Alabama, U.S. is near the size as England. England has an area of 50,336 square miles. Alabama is 52,419 square miles. Based on data from the last census taken in 2011, the majority of the UK's population is situated in England, approximately 54 million people. This accounts for approximately 84 percent of the population of the UK.

Scotland and Wales are also part of Great Britain and the UK, Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. To the east and south, and part of the west, England is bordered by sea. France is to the south, separated by the English Channel. The Channel Tunnel, (Chunnel) under the English Channel, connects England to northern France and the rest of mainland Europe. Ireland is a large island to the west, divided into Northern Ireland that is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland.

England has over sixty counties. London is the largest city and the capital with 8,136,000 people. Other large cities are Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, and Leeds. Leeds is one of the rainiest cities in Europe with 1024 mm precipitation per year.

The longest river in England is the River Severn. Other large rivers are the Thames, the Trent, and the Humber. The Thames, which flows through London, has over 200 bridges and 20 tunnels.

French was the official language of England for approximately 300 years, from 1066 till 1362. The most used languages now are English, Polish, and Welsh. Polish is now the main language spoken in England after English.

London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. More than a third of the population is born outside of the UK and over 300 languages are spoken in London.

Although English is the first official language, there are a wide variety of accents throughout the country. It is difficult to determine the exact number. Although some accents are widespread, some are highly localised to areas less than 20 miles across e.g. Scouse around Liverpool. Blending is sometimes detectable, but changes are often very abrupt over a short distance. A single "British accent" does not exist, there are English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish accents, with several subtype accents.

The UK has a high literacy rate of over 99 percent among residents aged 15 and older. This is attributed to the universal public education provided to UK residents, both in primary and secondary schools. The University of Oxford is the oldest higher education institution in the UK.

Approximately 49 percent of the UK population is irreligious (or has no particular affiliation with any religion), 17 percent is affiliated with an Anglican Christian, 17 percent with a non-Anglican Christian faith, eight percent Roman Catholic, five percent Islamic, and four percent other beliefs. Only Protestants may gain the crown of king or queen. Royals eligible for the crown have only recently been allowed to marry those of the Catholic faith without losing their eligibility.

The pound sterling is 1200 years old, which makes it the world's oldest currency still in use.

The English flag is a red cross on a white background. This cross is the cross of Saint George, who is the patron saint of England. Other symbols used for England are a red rose and three lions.



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England
(Interesting Information)

There are more chickens than people in England.

David and Susan are the most common first names. Smith, Jones, and Williams are the most common last names. There is believed to be approximately 30,000 men named John Smith.

The United Kingdom was the first country to use postage stamps. Issued in May 1840, the first stamp was the Penny Black and featured the then-monarch, Queen Victoria. Currently, England is the only country that doesn't have its name on its stamps. In 1967, the Machin stamp design profiled Queen Elizabeth II on a solid colour background and that stamp is still the standard British stamp. It has been printed in many different colours. Some people believe it is illegal to put the queen's head upside down by sticking postage stamps on envelopes upside down, but that is a myth.

The UK has several legends that some people believe to be true. Examples: It is allegedly a criminal offense to die in the House of Commons, and it is allegedly legal to shoot a Welsh person with a longbow on a Sunday.

Windsor Castle is the oldest royal household on the planet, and dates back to the 11th century.

England has the world's largest library with over 174 million books. The British Library has been listed as a Grade 1 building, located in the area of London King's Cross. Among the extraordinary collection is the world's earliest printed book, the Diamond Sutra, dating from the Tanf dynasty in 868; two 1215 copies of the Magna Carta; and one of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks.

British Library is the second largest library in the world. It has over 150 million items.

The treasures contained in the British Museum span two million years of world civilization.

London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. London has over 170 museums.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Sylvia Plath, Charles Dickens, Jimi Hendrix, Florence Nightingale, and numerous other renowned people lived in London. Blue plaques now hang where many of these famous people lived.

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, in April 1564. Shakespeare added approximately 3,000 words to the English language.

Many people believe that the Beatles are the best and most important band in rock history. The Beatles band formed in Liverpool in 1960.

The UK is where many recognized musicians and famous music bands were born, far too many to list.





The UK has only 15 National Parks, but they cover eight percent of British land.

The city where the first fire department appeared was Edinburgh.

English people consume more tea per capita than most cultures in the world, even more than the Japanese.

York was the first English city to become settled permanently by the Danish Vikings (in 867) and the last to remain under Viking rule (until 954).

England's most popular dishes include Spotted Dick, Bangers and Mash, and Toad in the Hole.

Britain has the largest Indian restaurant in the world. The Aakash Restaurant can seat 750 people at one sitting.

London has more Indian restaurants than Delhi or Mumbai.

The Great Plague killed roughly 25 million people, which was approximately one third of the entire population of Europe in the 15th Century. This particularly affected London because of the narrow streets and lack of sanitation.

The highest temperature ever recorded in England was 38.5℃ (101.3℉) in Brogdale, Kent.

Beer has been brewed in England for hundreds of years.

In 1662, British physicist and naturalist Christopher Merret documented the deliberate addition of sugar to wine, essentially creating the champagne fizz that we enjoy. Dom Perignon is commonly considered the first person to invent champagne, later in 1697. Regardless, they both stumbled upon a delicious drink.

The tradition to celebrate the "Day of Kisses" began in the UK. Later, the UN listed it as an international holiday. It is celebrated annually on July 6th.

Scientists have discovered a unique type of mosquito in the underground of London. This species has evolved independently from other mosquitoes.

The Queen owns every swan in the country.

Horses, ponies, donkeys, and zebras must have passports.

The name Big Ben more often than not refers to both the clock and the tower. But, Big Ben is the nickname of one of the bells that is inside the clock. Big Ben is the largest of the tower's five bells and weighs 13.7 tonnes. The name of the tower is no longer the Clock Tower or St. Stephen's Tower. It is now the Elizabeth Tower.

There is much more about England. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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Hertford
(Hertfordshire, England)

Hertford is a historic market town that is twenty miles north of London in the East Hertfordshire countryside. It is a commuter town for London, and has two train stations and local bus service. It is one of the most desirable places to live in the UK. Hertfordshire is the second safest county in the UK. The population of Hertford is a little more than 29,000. The schools are outstanding and many students achieve the top GCSE and A-Level results in the country. The town dates back to the 10th Century. In 1994 a water sculpture called "Confluence" was erected in Salisbury Square. The fountain represents the four rivers that flow into Hertford, the Lea, Mimram, Rib, and Beane.

Rivers Mimram, Rib, and Beane are chalk streams. Chalk streams are streams that flow through chalk hills. They are usually wide and shallow, and due to the filtering effect of the chalk their waters are alkaline and very clear. Chalk streams are popular with fly fishermen who fish for trout. Only 200 chalk streams are known globally, 85 percent are found in the UK in southern and eastern England. Other examples include the rivers Itchen and Avon in Wessex and the river Wensum in Norfolk.

Hertford has been the county town of Hertfordshire since Saxon times when it was governed by the king's reeves. A bailiff, elected by the burgesses, by the 13th century, had replaced the reeves. Charters of 1554 and 1589 established a common council of eleven chief burgesses and a bailiff. Another charter of 1605 changed the bailiff's title to mayor. In 1835, Hertford became a Municipal Corporation; the ratepayers elected twelve councillors, who chose aldermen and councillors to compose the council. This body elected the mayor.

The earliest reference to the town appears in the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written by Bede in 731 AD, which refers to Herutford. Herut is the Old English spelling of hart, meaning a fully mature stag; thus the meaning of the name is a ford where harts are found. The Domesday Book of 1086 gives a spelling of Hertforde.

Since 1974, Hertford has been within the East Hertfordshire district of Hertfordshire. The headquarters of Hertfordshire County Council is at County Hall in Hertford. East Herts District Council's offices almost adjoin County Hall, and there is also a Hertford Town Council based at Hertford Castle.

Hertford is a pretty town with beautiful old buildings. The countryside has green fields stretching for miles. The town centre has a medieval layout with many timber-framed buildings hidden under frontages. Hertford has a thriving community, a farmers market, theatre, castle remains, and several restaurants, bars, and pubs.

There are over 200 businesses in the town centre that include specialty shops, chain stores, restaurants, hairdressers, estate agents, banks, and various retail services. Restaurants include the award-winning Lussmann's. Lussmann's is in The Egyptian House, a building rumoured to have been a meeting place of the Knights Templar and is now part of Hertford's Heritage Trail.


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The Knights Templar

Hertford has long been the subject of speculation and conspiracy theories about the Knights Templar. It is rumoured that Hertford might be one of the places where the order hid its treasure, and some say it is the resting place of the Holy Grail. There is supposed to be an elaborate network of secret tunnels and passages beneath Hertford that was constructed by the Templars.


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Churches

There are several churches in Hertford. All Saints and St. Andrew's are late and mid 19th century respectively, although both stand on sites of medieval places of worship. A stained glass window in St. Andrew's Church is part of a fringe theory that links Hertford to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. In the northern suburb of Bengeo lies St Leonard's. It is a two-celled Norman church of considerable architectural interest.


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Yarn Bombers

The Yarn Bombers are a secret society in Hertford. Its esteemed members knit creations and then place them all around the town. Christmas trees, post-boxes, and Hertford Castle have been adorned with knitted creations. All proceeds the society makes goes to charities.


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Sele Mill

Britain's first paper mill was established in Hertford in 1488. Sele Mill was set up by John Tate and used by some ot the great printers of the time, including Wynkyn de Worde, original name Jan Van Wynkyn. Wynkyn de Worde was a business partner of William Caxton. Wynkyn de Worde was the first printer in England to use italic type (1524). Books printed in 1494 on paper showing the Tate watermark still survive today.


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The Addis Factory

The Addis factory was a major employer in Hertford until 1996. William Addis, a stationer in the East of London, started the company in 1780. He started making bone toothbrushes, which became the mainstay of his business. In 1920 the family moved to Hertford, taking premises on Ware Road. Addis provided employment to approximately 800 people, including girls and women, transporting many from surrounding villages on a coach. Addis was reputed to be the oldest firm of toothbrush makers in the world.


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Hertford Museum

Hertford Museum is in a 17th century historic town house, with a Jacobean-style knot garden. The Museum has more than 100,000 objects. Collections include archaeology, paper ephemera, ethnography, fine art, geology, natural history, photographs, social history, and the Hertfordshire Regiment collection. They also have the Addis company archive, including the largest collection (approximately 5000) of toothbrushes in the UK.


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Alfred Russel Wallace

The home of Alfred Russel Wallace, now named Wallace House, can be found at 11 St. Andrew Street and is marked with a plaque. Wallace who proposed a theory of natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin lived in Hertford between the ages of five and thirteen and attended Hertford Grammar School.


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Captain W.E. Johns

W.E. (William Earl) Johns was an English First World War pilot, and writer of adventure stories, usually written under the pen name Capt. W. E. Johns. He was the creator of the fictional air adventurer Biggles. Johns was born in Bengeo, a suburb and former village on the northwest edge of Hertford. One of the most famous fictional World War I heroes, Biggles, is linked to Hertford because 41 Cowbridge is the childhood home of author W.E. Johns and Johns attended school in Hertford.


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Jack Trevor Story

Prolific novelist Jack Trevor Story was born in Hertford. His best-known works are the 1949 comic mystery, The Trouble with Harry, which was adapted for Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 film with the same name, the Albert Argyle trilogy (Live Now, Pay Later, Something for Nothing, and The Urban District Lover), and his Horace Spurgeon novels (I Sit in Hanger Lane, One Last Mad Embrace, and Hitler Needs You). He also wrote under the names Alex Atwell, Bret Harding, and Rex Riotti.


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Jane Austen

It is said that author Jane Austen based the fictional town of Meryton in Pride and Prejudice on the town of Hertford. It is acknowledged that much of Pride and Prejudice is probably set in Hertfordshire, and Meryton does have a strong resemblance to Hertford. Austen's father had an excellent library with many reference books and Austen was proficient in England's geography.

Pride and Prejudice is a romantic novel of manners written in 1813. It appears near the top of lists of most-loved books among literary scholars and the reading public. It is one of the most popular novels in English literature.

Steventon is in north Hampshire, England. It is best known as the birthplace of the Jane Austen, who lived there from 1775 to 1801. The house was demolished early in the 19th century soon after Austen and her family moved to Bath. Though the Rectory in Steventon where Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and Sense and Sensibility is gone, the site is still marked by an old lime tree that is believed to have been planted by Austen's eldest brother, James, who took over the parish from his father. Steventon is approximately 79 miles from Hertford.


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Deep Purple

Deep Purple is an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath are referred to as the "unholy trinity" of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies. Deep Purple has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Deep Purple held the Guinness Book of World Records title in the 1975-76 edition as the World's Loudest Band for a concert in 1972 in London when they reached 117 dB. The Rolling Stones, KISS, and AC/DC have since beaten their 117 dB volume.


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Rupert Grint

Rupert Grint is a popular English actor. He rose to prominence for his portrayal of Ron Weasley, one of the three main characters in the Harry Potter film series. Grint was born in Harlow, Essex, England. He grew up in Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire and attended Richard Hale School, in Hertford. His father dealt in car racing memorabilia, and his mother was a homemaker. Rupert Grint is an ambassador for the children's charity Starlight.

Starlight Children's Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Its programs include providing hospital wear, games, and deliveries to hospitalized children. It was founded in 1982. In 2013 Rupert Grint attended a Starlight Annual Children's Christmas Party where he helped make the dearest wish of one of his young fans, nine-year-old Callum Wilson, come true. Wilson suffers from a serious condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumours to grow along his nerves. Meeting Rupert Grint was a dream come true for him.


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Entertainment

Hertford Theatre, previously known as Castle Hall, is a modern theatre, cinema, and art gallery complex at The Wash in the town centre. The Hertford Corn Exchange is a building where entertainment such as comedy and art exhibitions take place. Hertford has many food, drink, and entertainment establishments. Hertford has a public swimming pool, gym facilities, and a skatepark, all situated on Hartham Common.


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Sports

A non-league football club, Hertford Town FC, plays at Hertingfordbury Park. Hertford Town Youth FC, a FA Charter Standard Football Club, plays at County Hall Playing Fields. Other clubs surrounding the town include Bury Rangers, Hertford Heath Youth FC, and Bengeo Tigers Football Club, an award-winning FA Charter Standard Community Football Club.

Hertford Cricket Club is an English amateur cricket club. Cricket records for a Hertford club go back to 1825. The club in its present form has been in existence since 1860. The club plays its matches at Balls Park, Hertford.


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Interesting Information

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist George Ezra was born and grew up in Hertford where he attended Simon Balle School.

The oldest "Friends Meeting House" in the world, in use since 1670, is on Railway Street in Hertford. A "Friends Meeting House" is of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), where meetings for worship are held. Quakers usually do not believe that meetings for worship must occur in any special place. They believe that "where two or three meet together in my name, I am there among them" - revised English Bible, Matthew, Ch 18, v 20. Meetings for worship may take place in any place. Early Quakers often met for worship outdoors or in public buildings. When the Religious Society of Friends began to grow, there became a need for buildings to house meetings.

The Egyptian House on Fore Street in Hertford, built c. 1824, is an example of Egyptian revival architecture. It is currently a restaurant.

There is much more about Hertford. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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