Great Britain

Kauno “Versmės” vidurinės mokyklosReferatas:“Great Britain”darbą atliko:11 b klasės mokinėVioleta Vasilevičiūtė1999KaunasLONDONA city with a difference London was not built as a city in the same way as Paris or New York. It began life as a Roman fortification at a place where it was possible to cross the River Thames. A wall was built around the town for defence, but during the long period of peace which followed the Norman Conquest, people built outside the walls. This building continued over the years, especially to the west of the city. In 1665 there was a terrible plague in London, so many people left the city and escaped to the villages in the surrounding countryside. In 1666 the Great Fire of London ended the plague, but it also destroyed much of the city. Although people returned to live in the rebuilt city after the plague and the Great Fire, there were never again so many Londoners living in the city centre. These days not many people live in the city centre, London has spread further outwards into the country, including surrounding villages. Today the metropolis of Greater London covers some 610 square miles (1580sq. km.) and the suburbs of London continue even beyond this area. Some people even commute over 100 miles (over 150 km.) every day to work in London, while living far away from the city in the country or in other towns. The gradual growth of the city helps to explain the fact that London does not have just one centre, it has a number of centres, each with a distinct character: the financial and business centre called the City, the shopping and entertainment centre in the West End, the government centre in Westminster. Places like Highgate and Hampstead have kept their village-like character – they have their own newspapers and the famous Hampstead Heath is a reminder of country origins.

Tradition The City does not refer to the whole of central London but rather to small area east of the centre, which includes the site of the original Roman town. It is an area with a long and exciting history, and it is proud of its independence and traditional role as a centre of trade and commerce. This tradition is focussed on the City’s Lord Mayor, whose official residence is the Mansion House. Once a year, in November, the Lord Mayor’s Show takes place. This is a colourful street parade in which the newly elected Lord Mayor travels in a golden coach, which is over 200 years old. In the evening a splendid meal is served in the Guildhall, to which the Prime Minister and members of the Government are invited.Commerce and finance The City of London is one of major banking centres of the world and you can find the banks of many nations in the famous Threadneedle Street and the surrounding area. Here, too, you will find the Bank of England. Nearby is the Stock Exchange which is like a busy market, except that here not food but shares in commercial companies are bought and sold. A little further along in Leadenhall Street is Lloyds, the most famous insurance company in the world. During weekdays in the City you can see the City gents with their bowler hats, pin-striped suits and rolled umbrellas. This is the ‘uniform’ only of those men involved in banking and business in the City, and outside this small area you will probably not see anyone dressed like this.London Regional Transport The easiest way to travel around London is by a London Regional Transport bus or underground train. These run from the centre of the city right out into the countryside. British people queue up when waiting for a bus (and a lots of other things !). They get very annoyed with queue – jumpers – people who don’t wait their turn in the queue.
The London Underground – or ‘tube’ – has nine lines. It’s very fast, and in Central London you’re never more than a few minutes’ walk away from a station.WALESWales is approximately 150miles (242 km.) from north to south. About two – thirds of the total population of 2.8 million people live in the South Wales coastal area, where the three biggest towns are located: Swansea, Cardiff and Newport. The Welsh are very proud of their language and culture. These are best preserved in the north and west of the country, for in the south and east they have been more challenged by industrialization. The west coast, mid Wales and North Wales are wild and beautiful ! Although visitors don’t need passports to cross the border from England into Wales they soon realise that they are entering a country with its own distinct geography, culture, traditions and, of course language. Language Welsh is one of the Celtic languages, like Scottish and Irish Gaelic. It is estimated that Welsh is spoken by 16 to 20 per cent of the population, although in North and West Wales 50 per cent speak the language. The Welsh Language Act of 1967 said that all official documents should be in both languages, and most road signs are printed in English and Welsh. Since the 1960s there has been increased interest in Welsh. At secondary schools almost 50 per cent of all pupils learn Welsh as a first or second language. Since 1982 there has also been an independent fourth TV channel broadcasting mainly in Welsh. Although not many Welsh words are well known in England, the word eisteddfod is understood by almost everybody. This is the Welsh name for an annual competition where people meet to dance, sing and read poems. Usually, only Welsh is spoken and in recent years they have attracted people who wish to protest against the influence of English on the Welsh language and culture.
The Welsh and their words The traditional culture in Wales has always placed special emphasis on the reading of poetry and the singing of choirs. In the 19th century there was apowerful puritan religious movement that preached a good and simple life. In the chapels the oratory of the preacher and the strong singing of male voice choirs were used to win the hearts of the people and turn them away from bad living. Politicians This Welsh understanding of the power of words lies behind afine tradition of radical and eloquent politicians who have contributed a great deal to British politics since the beginning of the century. David Lloyd George, although born in Manchester of Welsh parents, was brought up in Wales. He entered the House of Commons at the age of twenty – seven as a member of the Liberal Party. After holding various government offices, he became the first Welsh Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1916, a post he held until 1922. His interest in the old and Equally inspired by fairness and justice, Aneurin Bevan, who had worked in the coal – mines of South Wales as a boy, became one of the most powerful speakers ever known in the House of Commons. His battle with authority began when he led the miners in the general strike of 1929. A poet Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea and worked in London as a journalist writing radio and film scripts at the same time. One of his most famous radio plays, Under Milk Wood , has been adapted for the stage and performed all over the world. The National ParksThere are three National Parks in Wales which cover approximately one – fifth of the whole country. These parks are protected by law because of their natural beaity, but ordinary people still live and work there. The most famous of the parks is Snowdonia in the north – west. It covers 840 square miles of some of Wales’ most breathtaking countryside. The highest mountain range in Wales is in this area, with several peaks over 3,000 feet (910m.). The highest, Snowdon, is 3,560 feet (1,085m.).
Many people travel to the parks each year for special holydays. These include a large number of outdoor activities such as walking, climbing, and riding, or water sports such as canoeing and fishing. People camp and live without all the usual comforts of home.WINSOR CASTLEWinsor Castle is one of the official recidences of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and also Head of the Commonwealth.The monarch’s direct powers these days are limited: as a constitutional sovereign The Queen normally acts on the advice of her ministers; nevertheless the government, the judges and the armed services all act in The Queen’s name and she is an important symbol of national unity. She is kept closely informed about all aspects of national life and the Prime Minister has a weekly audience with her. The Queen has certain residual ‘prerogative’ powers which include the appointment of the Prime Minister and granting the dissolution of Parliament.As well as being Head of the Commonwealth, The Queen is Head of State of sixteen of its fifty – four member countries.Many of The Queen’s duties are ceremonial and reminder of the United Kingdom’s long history. They include the State Opening of Parliament, The Queen’s Birthday Parade, state visits and the Garter Day celebrations.The Queen is officialy in residence at Windsor twise a year: in April and also in June, when annual Garter Service is held in St George’s Chapel with the installation of new Knights. The Castle is used alternately with Buckingham Palace for ceremonial visits from Heads of State of other countries. The Queen and her family also spend most of their private weekends at the Castle.Windsor Casstle is one of the major repositories of the Royal Collection, where incomparable works of art are dis played in the historic setting for which they were collected or commissioned by successive monarchs. Because of the status of the building as working royal palace, objects are sometimes moved. Pictures and works of the art are also frequently lent to exhibitions all over the world, so the arrangement may vary from time to time.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CASTLEThe existing vast structure ha sevoled over many centuries from its origin as a Norman fortress. Windsor Castle is the oldest royal residence to have remained in continuous use by the monarchs of Britain and is in many ways an architectural epitome of the history of the nation. The Castle covers an area of about 5 hectares (13 acres) and contains , as well as a royal palace, a magnificent collegiate church and the homes or workplaces of a large number of people, including the Constable and Governor of the Castle, thev Military Knights of Windsor and the Dean and Canons of St George’s Chapel. The area covered by the Castle is approximately 5.26 hectares (113 acres). The top of the Round Tower is 65.5 m (215 feet) above the level of the River Thames, and 85.3 m (280 feet ) above sea level.The earliest part of the structure is the artificial earthen mound in the middle which was raised c.1080 by William the Conqueror. It supports the Round Towel built by Henry II, who adapted a purely defensive fortification as a residence by building the first royal apartments on the north side of the Upper Ward. The Upper Ward was converted into a huge Gothic palace by a succession of medieval kings, notably Edward III in the fourteen century. He also founded the Order of the Garter and associated College of St Goerge in the Lower Ward. Edward IV built the present St Chapel in the fifteenth century. Charles II reconstructed the State Apartments in Baroque taste in the 1670s, and the whole of the Upper Ward was reconstructed to its present picturesque Gothic apperance and the Round Tower heightened by George IV in the 1820s. he was also responsible for acquiring much of the magnificent art collection which now fills the rooms of the Castle. Following a serious fire in 1992, a new roof was designed for St George’s Hall, and the adjoining Lantern Lobby and the Private Chapel were rebuilt in modern Gothic style.
THE PRIVATE CHAPELDesigned by Giles Downes of the Sidell Gibson Partnership as part of the restoration of the Castle following the 1992 fire, this is the private chapel of the Royal Family. Its intimate proportions give it something of the character of a little medieval chantry chapel. The altar apse neatly interlocks into the angle of the Lantern Lobby, and accommodates a new altar table by David Linley, while the stained glass window opposite, by Joseph Nuttgens, commemorates the fire of 1992 and subsequent restoration. The altarpiece is by Berto di Giovanni, a Perugian contemporary of Raphael, aand was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1853. The Gothic chairs were designed for the Castle by the 15 – year – old A.W.N. Pugin in 1827.THE GRAND VESTIBULEThe lantern and vaulting date from George III’s reign. The arms and relics include the bullet that killed Nelson, and a gold tiger from the throne of Tipu, Sultan of Mysore.THE ANTE THRONE ROOMThis was Charles II’s Audience Chamber, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it contained the King’s chair of state. It was much reduced in size by Sir Jeffry Wyatville, as part of George IV’s alterations.THE KING’S DRAWING ROOMThere is a splendid view over Eton from Wyatville’s bay window. George IV’s body lay in state in this room after his death. The paintings by Rubens include the distinguished Holy Family with St Francis (over the fireplace) and two landscapes.THE KING’S BED CHAMBERIn the nineteenth century this was used by visiting monarchs on state visits. The bed bears the embroided initials of Napaleon III and Empress Eugenie. The marble fireplace was brought from Buckingham House. The paintings include several Canalettos purchased by George III and two full – length gainsborough portraits.THE KING’S DRESSING ROOM
King Charles II slept here rather than in his state bedroom next door. The portraits include several masterpieces: Van Dyck’s Triple Portrait of Charles I, Rembrandt’s ‘The Artist’s Mother’ and Rubens’ Self Portait.THE KING’S CLOSETThe English eighteenth – century portraits include a splendid late Reynolds full length of the 2nd Earl of Moira, and David Garrick with his Wife by Hogarth.THE QUEEN’S DRAWING ROOMThe Queen’s state rooms adjoined the King’s. Holbein’s portrait of Sir Henry Guildford displayed here is among the artist’s finest works. The gilt bronze chandelier was commissioned by George IV for the Castle.THE KING’S DINING ROOMCharles II dined in public in this room. Verrio’s ceiling is one of only three to survive out of the thirteen he painted for the Castle. The room is also decorated with Grinling Gibbons carvings.THE QUEEN’S BALLROOMThe silver furniture, along the window side, is a very rare survival of seventeenth – century royal taste. The portraits by Van Dyck include Charles I’s children.THE QUEEN’S AUDIENCE CHAMBERThe Baroque decoration survives from Charles II’s time. The Verrio ceiling depicts his wife, Catherine of Braganza, in a triumphal chariot.THE QUEEN’S PRESENCE CHAMBERVerrio’s ceiling is his finest at Windsor and shows Catherine of Braganza seated in the centre. There are Grinling Gibbons carvings over the fireplace. The Gobelins tapestries are woven with Biblical scenes from the History of Esther.THE QUEEN’S GUARD CHAMBERThe French flags over the busts of Marlborough and Wellington are presented each year by the present Dukes as ‘rent’ for their estates. The elaborate ivory throne was a present to Queen Victoria from the Maharajah of Travancore.ST GEORGE’S HALLThis occupies the site of Edward III’s original Hall. The arms of all the Knights of all the Garter decorate the ceiling. The roof is a new oak hammerbeam roof replacing Wyatville’s, burnt in 1992. The Queen gives State Banquets in this room.
THE LANTERN LOBBYThis modern Gothic room replaces the Private Chapel gutted by fire in 1992. Part of the Victorian reredos survives as a memorial. It was inspired by the Octagon at Ely and the new rib vault is of laminated oak. The display of silver gilt plate includes special commissions of George IV.THE GREEN DRAWING ROOMThis room is used by the Queen for official entertaining, and is one of a series of superbly decorated and furnished rooms created for George IV. The Axminster carpet was shown at the Great Exhibition in 1851.THE CRIMSON DRAWING ROOMThis is The Queen’s principal drawing room at Windsor. From the bay window there is a good view over the private East terrace Garden. The furniture was acquired by George IV. The marble fireplace carved ang gilt doors come from London residence at Carlton House.THE STATE DINING ROOMLike the drawing rooms, this is used by The Queen for official entertaining. Wyatville’s Gothic design has been restored following the 1992 fire which gutted the room. The sideboards were designed by the 15 – year – old A.W.N. Pugin.THE GARTER THRONE ROOMIn this room new Knights and Ladies of the Garter are invested with the insignia of the Order by The Queen. The room was remodelled by Wyatville for William IV.THE WATERLOO CHAMBERThis, the largest room at Windsor, celebrates the victory of the Allies in 1815. The portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence include the Duke of Wellington and the other commanders, monarchs and statesmen who contributed to Napaleon’s defeat. The Queen holds an annual luncheon here for the Gatrer Knights and Ladies.

Literature: Susan Sheerin Jonathan Seath Gillian White ,,Spotlight on Britain”