British Culture

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British Culture

The United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Historically the country was a forerunner in the developing world and, at its peak during the 19th Century, had an empire that stretched across the globe.

They have led the way in science, literature and industry. However, the influence and power of Great Britain began to erode in the first half of the 20th Century with two world wars. This had its consequences in the gradual breakup of the Empire during the second half of the century since when, the UK has re modelled itself into a leading, wealthy European nation.

The UK is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council which was created on 24th October 1945 and a founding member of NATO and the commonwealth. The UK takes a global stance in foreign policy.

Until June 2016, the UK played an active part in the European Parliament after joining in 1973 although they chose not to enter into the Economic and Monetary Union. Following a national referendum on June 23rd 2016, the UK narrowly voted to leave the EU (known as Brexit) although this will not be complete for some years. It is largely thought the vote to leave was driven by perceived ‘bureaucracy’ in Brussels, the centre of the European Parliament and concerns regarding immigration.


  • The official state-sanctioned religion in the UK is the Church of England which is of the Christian Protestant faith. However, there has been a huge decline in the role of the Church in Britain since the middle of the last Century with less than half the population attending Church services or believing in God.
  • It is estimated that a third of the population have no religious connection. Thirty percent of the UK population affiliates to the official Church of England while ten percent identify with the Roman Catholic religion. Those who affiliate to the Christian religion outside of Protestantism and Catholicism accept other Protestant denominations: Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist.
  • Whilst Christianity is the dominant religion in the UK, minority religions include Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism.  


  • In the UK, the first name is also known as ‘the Christian name’, although this has little to do with religion today. This is traditionally followed by a middle name and then the family name which in the UK is known as the surname.
  • In previous centuries children tended to be named after a member of the family or a religious figure. Catholic families, in particular, tend to name their children after saints.
  • In modern times, children are often given names that are liked by the parents and which have no particular significance regarding family or religion. Some children are named after famous football stars, singers or film actors.
  • Traditionally when couples marry the woman takes her husband’s name as her surname but some couple now choose to amalgamate their names which is referred to as a double-barrelled name.  

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