New List Of 20 More English Cultural Icons Announced

By Graham Spicer | 31 July 2006
photo of two men dressed in tweed suits, one has a moustache, the other is wearing a deerstalker hat and smoking a pipe

Sherlock Holmes, the fictional sleuth, made it onto the new list. Photo Topfoto.co.uk

Monty Python, Sherlock Holmes, The Archers and rugby join the Spitfire, Blackpool Tower and the pub as national icons of England in a new list unveiled by a government-funded website.

The line-up of 20 new icons was voted for by the public and selected by a panel of experts at the ICONS – A Portrait of England website and the latest announcement brings to total number of English icons in the site’s collection to 53.

All the icons are treated to in-depth features, quizzes, video clips and interviews on the site and the project aims to encourage people to explore, enjoy and celebrate the country’s cultural treasures online and in the real world.

black and white photo of three men in suits and bowlers hats

The bowler hat, rarely seen nowadays but recognised as a national icon. Photo Topfoto.co.uk

Robin Hood, the neighbourhood bobby, the Mini car, fish and chips and the Magna Carta have also made it onto the list and more will follow them later in 2006.

“ICONS has huge potential,” said Jerry Doyle, Managing Director of ICONS. “Choosing the things that most represent England has really got the nation’s creative juices going.”

“Where else would you see nominations like Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate, Blackpool trams and the stiff upper lip jostling for position alongside the Teletubbies, Durham Cathedral, the Carry On films and Tate Modern?”

simple childlike painting of a plate of fish and chips

That perennial favourite, the humble plate of fish and chips, was a popular choice. Courtesy David Harroway - MENCAP

ICONS was launched in January 2006 and is funded by Culture Online, part of the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The website has attracted more than 350,000 votes for the nation’s favourite icons.

Vanessa Whitburn, Editor of The Archers, was pleased to hear about the long-running radio show’s selection: “The Archers has an amazingly loyal following and it’s gratifying that its place on the broadcasting landscape has been officially recognised in the Icons of England list. We are absolutely delighted.”

Photo of a procession of people in the street wearing bright costumes.

The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the English icons already selected since the website's creation in January 2006. Photo courtesy ICONS

Jennifer Riley, Director of the Sherlock Holmes Museum, also welcomed the news: “It’s about time Sherlock Holmes was recognised as an Icon of England, because he has been under-estimated by people in England till now…He epitomises the English gentleman,” she said.

Previous icons on the website include the St George’s flag, the FA Cup, Stonehenge, a cup of tea, the Notting Hill Carnival and the mini-skirt.

To see the full list of the new icons along with details of some 600 nominations for the accolade, see the ICONS website.

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