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Compiled by N.A. Belym.





Westminster Abbey 5

London Bridges. 5

British Museums 6

The Tower of London 6


The Tate Gallery 7

Victoria and Albert Museum 8

Madam Tussaud's 8



Easter 11

August Bank Holiday 11

Christmas 12

Boxing Day 12

Hogmanay 12

February 14th 13

Pancake Day 14

St. David's Day 14

Remembrance Day (Poppy Day) 14

Hallowe'en 14

Guy Fawkes Night 15


Holidays 15

Gardening 16

Wedding Superstitions 16

Fireplaces 17

Dancing 17

Henry Wood Promenade Concerts 17

The Derby 18

The Fish and Chip Shop 18

What Is a Pub? 18

The Game of Darts 19

Traditions and Festivals 19


Early Britain 21

The Roman Invasion (43 A.D. - 410 A.D.) 22

The Anglo-Saxon Invasion 24

The Scandinavian Invasion 26

The Norman Conquest 26

The Great Charter (Magna Carta) and the Beginning of Parliament 27

Britain in the XIII-XVth Centuries 28

Tudor Absolutism. The Beginning of Capitalist Development 29

The Bourgeois Revolution in England in the XVII"th Century 31

Britain in the XVIIIth Century 33

British Capitalism in the XIXth Century 34

Britain in the XX-th Century 35




The United Kingdom is a country of Europe. The U.K. includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland (9 counties), the Isle of Man, the Channel islands (Jersey; Guernsey), the Inner and Outer Hebrides (10 large and about 100 small islands), the Orkneys (about 70), the Shetlands, the Isle of Wight, the Scilly Isles. The largest island is Great Britain. It contains England, Scotland and Wales. The zero meridian of longitude passes through the old Royal Greenwich Observatory in London. The U.K. has an area of 94, 2 square miles (about 244,820 square km.)

Great Britain is separated from the continent by the English Channel (220 km at its widest part), (21 miles - 32 km wide at its narrowest point, the Strait of Dover.) Great Britain is washed by the North sea in the east, the English Channel in the south, the Atlantic ocean and the Irish sea in the west.

The surface of England and Ireland is flat, but Scotland and Wales are mountainous. Most of the mountains are in the northern and western parts: the Cheviot Hills, the Pennines (the Pennine Chain), the Cambrian mountains (Wales) and the Cumbrian mountains (Lake District). The highest mountain in Wales is Snowdon (3560 ft high=1085 metres). Most of surface in Scotland is highland. The highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis (4.406 ft high=1343m), is situated in the Grampians. Smaller groups of chalk hills occur in the southwest: The North and the South Downs. Many parts of the country have beautiful green meadows.

The whole of Great Britain is well watered. Among the main rivers are: the Severn (the longest river rises in Wales and flows into the Bristol Channel), the Thames and the Trent which flow into the North sea, the Mersey and the Clyde which flow into the Irish sea and the Atlantic. In the Cumbrian mountains Windermere and other lakes are famed for their beauty. The beautiful Lake District is here. The lakes in Scotland are called lochs. The largest lake is Loch Lomond. Loch Ness is well-known due to numerous legends about a monster, called Nessie.

The climate of Great Britain is temperate and mild. It means that the coldest temperature is about 40 F, warmest 61 F. And for most of the year the country lies within the influence of the south-westerly winds which are cool and rainbearing. The western coast is generally warmer than the eastern (with warm summers and mild winters in the west and cool summers and cold winters in the east).

It often rains. Rain falls m all seasons. It is foggy and cold in autumn and winter. Snow falls only in the North and West of the country. If it snows in the South, it is only once or twice a year, and the snow melts immediately.

Vegetation. England was once a land of forests, with grasslands and bogs where the soil did not favour the growth of trees. Through the centuries the woodlands have been cleared until today they cover only a small percentage of their former area. There are still some coniferous forests (pines, firs) and deciduous forests (oak, beech, chestnut are the most common species).

The U.K. has few mineral resources, of which the most important are coal and oil (gas). The largest coal fields are in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The oilfields are in the North sea along the north-eastern coast of Scotland and England. Other minerals are clays, shale, chalk, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt, etc.

The population of the U.K. is about 60 million people. About 76% live in urban and 24% in rural areas, but only 1% work in agriculture. Ethnic groups: English 81.5%, Scottish 9.6%, Irish 2.4%, Welsh 1.9%, Ulster 1.8%, West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, and other 2.8%. The capital of England is London, of Scotland - Edinburgh, Wales - Cardiff.

Tasks for the Text "Geography of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

I. Learn how to pronounce these words:

a) the Inner and Outer Hebrides; the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey); the Orkneys; the Cheviot Hills; the Pennines; the Pennine Chain; Windemere; the Mersey; the Clyde; the Strait of Dover; Greenwich;

b) vegetation; foggy; longitude; observatory; occur; temperate; surface; mountainous; coniferous; deciduous; species; Farenheit.

II. Find in the text all the sentences with the words mentioned in I.b) and translate them into Russian. Then make up sentences of your own using these words.

III. Make a map of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and mark on it all the geographical terms mentioned in the text.

IV. There are four groups of words, denoting geographical objects. Define these four groups and say which words belong to each group:

The Clyde; Guernsey; Snowdon; the Grampians; the Hebrides; Loch Lomond; Ben Nevis; Jersey; the Trent; the Pennines; the Mersey; Windemere; the Orkneys; the Cheviot Hills; the Shetlands; the Severn; Loch Ness.

V. Answer the following questions:

1. What islands does the U.K. include?

2. What is the largest island?

3. Name the parts of Great Britain and their capitals.

4. What area does Great Britain have?

5. Where does the zero meridian pass?

6. What is Great Britain washed by?

7. What is the narrowest point of the English Channel? How wide is it?

8. Is the surface of Britain flat?

9. What mountains are there in Britain?

10. What is the highest mountain in Scotland? (Wales?)

11. What rivers do you remember?

12. What lakes are famous in Britain and why?

13. What is the climate like?

14. What plants grow in Great Britain?

15. Is Britain rich in mineral resources?

16. What is the population of the U.K.?

VI. A Group Game: One of you comes out to the blackboard; your friends ask you to show various geographical objects on the map.

VII. Choose the correct answer. Give a full answer if possible:

1. The Phoenicians called Great Britain:

a) an emerald island

b) perfidious Albion

c) a lead island

2. Great Britain is not rich in mineral resources:

a) coal b)oil

c) lead

d) iron ore

e) aluminium

3. What words couldn't describe the British climate:

a) temperate

b) mild

c) rainy

d) cold

e) cool

f) humid



i) Mediterranean

j) foggy

4. The population of Britain is:

a) 55 million

b) 57 million

c) 60 million

5. The oilfields are situated in:

a) Yorkshire

b) the North Sea

c) Nottinghamshire

VIII. Translate into English:

1. Озеро Виндемиэ, что в Озерном крае, славится своей красотой.

2. Самая высокая точка Великобритании - Бен Невис.

3. Великобритания находится под влиянием холодных юго-западных ветров, приносящих дождь.

4. Климат умеренный и мягкий.

5. В Великобритании есть хвойные и лиственные леса: сосны, ели, дубы, буки, каштаны и другие виды растений.

6. Рельеф Англии и Ирландии плоский; а Шотландии и Уэльса -гористый.

7. Меловые горы встречаются на юге.

IX. Points for discussion:

1. Speak about various aspects of Britain's geography.

2. Make reports about different islands surrounding Great Britain.

3. Make reports about various geographical sights in Great Britain.


Westminster Abbey

WESTMINSTER ABBEY is perhaps the best known and most loved building in the English-speaking world, a place of great beauty, worship and prayer, a church whose life has been identified with the British nation for more than 900 years. A church was founded by a saxon king early in the 7th century on this site. Later Edward the Confessor built a church dedicated to St. Peter, completed in 1065. There has been much reconstruction over the centuries and most the exterior dates from the 19th century. All the English sovereigns have been crowned in the abbey since William I and many of them are buried here, including Edward the Confessor, Elizabeth I, Charles II. There is the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots here, too. There are many hundreds of monuments to see and many of England's greatest sons are buried within its precincts: some statesmen (William Pitt, Benjamin Disraeli), some writers and poets in Poets' corner (Geoffrey Chaucer, Samuel Johnson, Byron, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning, Tennison, O. Wilde, R. Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, L. Carrol, etc.). In Poets' corner there is the memorial to William Shakespeare. The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior is worth mentioning. It commemorates those who were killed in the Great War 1914-18 The Coronation Chair contained the 'stone of destiny (or the Stone of Scone) on which the English kings had been crowned. It was brought to London from Scotland (Scone Abbey) by Edward I in 1297 as a symbol of capturing Scotland. Last year (1996) it was taken back to Scotland.

London Bridges.

No one quite knows when the first London Bridge was built, but it was probably early on in the Roman occupation of Britain. Later it was frequently rebuilt and destroyed. In 1176 "old London Bridge" was begun, the first stone one, but it was made into a street when houses and a chapel were added later. It became one of the sights of Europe, but eventually the houses were demolished, though the bridge itself lasted until 1825. In 1973 London Bridge was taken down and packed off to America. The new London Bridge was designed by Harold Knox King. Tower Bridge was built in 1886-94. Its Gothic towers are a stone skin clothing the steel structure which carries the mechanism. It has never failed to open and road traffic must give way. The pedestrian walk was closed because it was used by suicides.

Westminster Bridge, built in 1750, was the next bridge to span the London Thames after the Roman London Bridge. Here Wordsworth was inspired in 1802 to write his sonnet on the view. Sixty years later it was replaced by the present bridge designed by Thomas Page. At its west end is an enormous statue of Boadicea in her chariot by Th. Thornycroft, put there in 1902.


Earth has not anything to show more fair:

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

A sight so touching in its majesty:

This city now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,

Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie

Open unto the fields, and to the sky;

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep

In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at its own sweet will:

Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;

And all that mighty heart is lying still!

British Museums

THE BRITISH MUSEUM is the largest and the most important museum in the U.K., which contains one of the world's richest collections of antiquities and the British national library. It was founded in 1753 with the purchase of Sir Hans Sloane's library and the Harley art collection. The British Museum was opened at Montagu House in 1759. The Royal Library, donated by George II, and the Gotten collection completed the original exhibition. In the years which followed the museum grew to be one of the most extensive in the world and Sir Robert Smirke was commissioned to design a much larger building on the same site. The construction was completed by 1847 and the Reading Room opened in 1857. In 1881 the Natural History Museum was transferred to South Kensington. There are permanent displays of the works of man from prehistoric times to the present day here. The vast collection includes: two of the four copies of Magna Carta, Nelson' plan of the battle of Trafalgar, the Elgin Marbles and the Rossetta stone. The glass-domed Reading Room is 42 m in diameter and 32 m high. It has over 25 miles of shelves. Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital at seat No.G7. The British Museum library receives a copy of every publication issued in the U.K.

The Tower of London

THE TOWER OF LONDON is a fortress on the Thames in the City of London. It was begun by William the Conqueror as a fortress and a palace. The oldest part, the keep, or White Tower, was completed in 1078 by Bishop Gundulf on the site of British and Roman fortifications. It is surrounded by two strong walls and a moat (now dry). The inner wall, with its 13 towers, dates from the thirteenth century and the outer wall, two thirds of a mile in extent, was added by Edward the first. For some centuries it was a royal residence and the principle state prison. There was even a zoo there which began as the king's private collection of animals. After 1850 the Tower became a tourist attraction. Today it is a barracks, an armoury and a museum. Among prisoners executed there were Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey, More. The uncrowned Edward V and his brother are believed to have been murdered here in 1483. The last beheading was in 1747 but 11 spies were shot in the Tower during the First World War. Its museums display weapons, armour and instruments of torture and execution. The Crown Jewels may be seen in Waterloo Barracks. The Beefeaters wear a State Dress uniform which has remained unaltered since the reign of Henry VII. For many centuries ravens have guarded The Tower. Legend has it that should the ravens ever leave, The White Tower would crumble and a great disaster would befall England. These ravens have been protected by royal decree since the reign of Charles II. At present there are about 40 Yeoman Warders at the Tower. They are former warrant officers who have served for at least 22 years. Usually they wear the dark blue and red uniform. For state occasions the Yeoman Warders, like the Yeoman of the Guard on duty at the Tower(Beefeaters), wear Tudor bonnets and scarlet and gold tunics.

Tasks for the Text "Places of Interest in London"(Part I)

I. Learn to pronounce these words and translate these combinations:

to worship God; a splendid exterior; magnificent sovereigns; to mention in one's prayers; to commemorate the heroes; to capture some fortification; to pass by frequently; to frequent to some place; to commit suicide; to settle the argument eventually; to demolish a notorious building; to inspire admiration; an enormous dome; contains the collections of antiquities; founded with the purchase of a library; a library, donated by; completed the original exhibition; grew to be one of the most extensive museums; permanent displays; was transferred to.

II. Give a synonym to the following words:

  • to honour or keep alive the memory of;

  • unusually large in size; immense; vast;

  • to show respect to; to show religious devotion to; to adore;

  • a part, surface or region that is on the outside;

        • to take prisoner or gain control over;

        • constantly, habitually, repeatedly;

        • a personal communication addressed to a deity, God;

        • a monarch;

        • to tear down, break up, to destroy;

        • to stir, to arouse, to have an effect upon;

        • the act of killing oneself intentionally;

        • at the very end, finally.

III. Say it in English:

Боготворить талант художника; часто чтить память погибших солдат; захватить врага; огромное количество выдающихся личностей; внушить постоянную ненависть; в конце концов он купил эти драгоценности; разрушить предметы старины; обширные коллекции включают; стеклянный купол; место военных укреплений; епископ; часто посещаемое туристами место; остался неизменным; королевские сокровища.

IV. Recollect the sentences from the text with the following words:

to worship; to capture; frequently; enormous; eventually; demolish; inspire; instruments of torture and execution; the crown jewels. Translate these sentences into Russian and make sentences of your own.

V. Answer the following questions:

1. How old is Westminster Abbey?

2. Why were sovereigns crowned, married and buried here?

3. What celebrities were buried within the precincts of the Abbey?

4. What are the essentially attractive features of the Abbey?

5. Who does the tomb of the Unknown Warrior commemorate?

6. What is the stone of scone?

7. What bridges span the Thames in London? Name them.

8. What do you know about the old London Bridge?

9. Where are Westminster and Tower Bridges situated?

10. Where can you see a statue of Boadicea?

11. What does the British museum contain?

12. When and how was it founded?

13. Where and when was the museum opened?

14. Who designed the building?

15. Where can one find a copy of every printed matter?

VI. Build a plan in the form of questions to the part devoted to the Tower of London.

VII. Make up a dialogue about the places of interest in London.

VIII. Learn to read the sonnet "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" and learn it by heart.


The Tate Gallery

THE TATE GALLERY is the national gallery of British art from the 16th century to the present day. It is also the national gallery of international modern art. It is funded by the state. There is no charge for admission to its permanent collections.

It was founded in 1897 as the result of an urgent need for a national gallery of British art. The gallery is named after its founder Henry Tate, a sugar manufacturer, (magnet). His company exists today as Tate & Lyle and continues to support the gallery. Tate donated his collection and offered a building to house it. The gallery was built to a design by the architect Sydney Smith, in classical style. Henry Tate was created a baronet, becoming Sir Henry Tate. Among the works in his donation was one of the greatest masterpieces, 'Ophelia1 by John Millais.

The gallery expanded rapidly. All the exhibits are arranged into the British Collection (British artists born before 1850) and the Modern Collection (paintings and sculptures of all artists, British and foreign, born since 1850). Key 18th and 19th century figures such as William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, William Turner, John Constable, William Blake are present here. There is a fine Pre-Raphaelite collection here and works by impressionists and postimpressionists.

Victoria and Albert Museum

VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM is one of the greatest museums of the fine and decorative arts in the world. Here one can find works of art, craft and design from Europe, America, the Far East, South Asia and the Middle East from the 15th century to present day.

The museum was founded in 1852 as a Museum of Manufactures. Later it became known as the 'South Kensington Museum'. Finally, in 1899 it was renamed 'Victoria and Albert Museum' in honour of Queen Victoria and prince Albert. The museum holds the nation's principal collections of jewellery, dress, ceramics, glass, silver, furniture, ironwork, sculpture, watercolours prints and photographs.

Madam Tussaud's

MADAM TUSSAUD'S is the best - known wax exhibition in the world and it is more than 200 years old. It contains a lot of waxwork figures of famous and infamous personalities.

Madam Tussaud was born Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in France. Her mother was a housekeeper of Philippe Curtius, a doctor and a talented modeler of life-size wax figures. In 1770 he opened his exhibition and it was a success. Marie was his pupil. During the French revolution she took death masks from decapitated heads of the victims of the guillotine: Louis XVI and Marie Antionette. They can now be seen in the Chamber of Horrors. After the death of Curtius Marie began to run his exhibition. In 1802 madam Tussaud came to England and opened her permanent exhibition in London in 1835. She was 74 then. Her last work was her selfportrait.

The current exhibition shows many historical and present day celebrities, including royalty, stars if entertainment, sport, politicians and statesmen. Special features include the Sleeping beauty, the Chamber of Horrors, featuring executions and notorious criminals.

Tasks for the Text "Places of Interest in London"(Part II)

I. Learn how to pronounce and translate these words:

No charge for admission; permanent collections; urgent need; a manufacturer; donate; masterpiece; expand rapidly; exhibits; decorative art; craft; jewellery; ironwork; celebrities; notorious.

Find in the text all the sentences where these words are used and translate them.

II. Give an expression synonymous to the following:

a famous person; unfavourably well-known; to make or become greater in size (to increase); not temporary; existing for an indefinite period; an outstanding work, achievement; skill or ability in handiwork; decorative work done in iron; an object or collection displayed to the public; to demand or to set a price; the right or the permission to enter; asking speedy action or attention; quickly, fast; bracelets, rings, necklesses, etc.; give money, time to a charity.

III. Translate into Russian:

An urgent departure; no charge for the service in this place; a most notorious crime of the century; the admission is not free (of charge); splendid ironwork of the current century; a life-size portrait of a celebrity; a prosperous manufacturer; permanent habitation; to vanish rapidly.

IV. Use some of the word combinations from task III. in a situation of your own. (At least 8 sentences).

V. Translate into English:

1. Он срочно позвонил другу.

2. Замечательная коллекция драгоценностей находится в Тауэре.

3. Постоянные выставки предметов старины, предметов ремесла и прикладного искусства финансируются из фондов музея.

4. Этот процветающий магнат - печально известная личность.

VI. Answer the questions:

1. What is the Tate Gallery?

2. Why does it have such a name?

3. What does it contain?

4. Does one have to pay for the entrance?

5. What does V&A museum house?

6. Where is it situated?

7. How old is the Museum of Madame Tussaud's?

8. What is so exciting about it?

9. What is the history of this museum?

10. What attractive features does it possess?

VII. Speak about places of interest in London.


STRATFORD-UPON-AVON. It is a town 94 miles northwest of London, on the Avon. The population of the town is about 20 thousand. Its main points of interest are associated with the name and life of William Shakespeare. In Henley Street stands a one-storeyed wooden house, where he was born, and which now belongs to the British government.

Although Stratford-upon-Avon remains a small market town, it has now become a gathering-place of all nations. People show their love for the great playwright and every year on April, 23 they come to Stratford and take part in celebrating Shakespeare's birthday.

The town has a public library rich in Shakespeareana, a market house, an art gallery with many Shakespeareana paintings, the fine Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, the Shakespeare fountain. William Shakespeare was buried in Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-upon-Avon. Here may be seen his gravestone and a monument to the poet built in the church within 7 years of his death.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the home of Shakespeare's wife before her marriage, is one of England's most famous buildings. It is situated at Shottery, just over a mile to the west of Stratford-upon-Avon.

OXFORD. Oxford is a celebrated city of science. It is situated 54 miles northwest of London. The principle street, "the High", is made by several of the noblest structures of the city, including Brasenose College, all Souls College, University, Queen's and Magdalen Colleges, together with old houses. In its "golden heart" various historic buildings are mixed with houses, shops and offices.

It is assumed that in 1164-1169 Henry II forbade English clerks to go to University of Paris! The scholars had to find somewhere else to continue their studies. Their choice fell on Oxford. There is no "university" as such. The component parts of the University of Oxford are the colleges. Each college is practically autonomous, with its own set of rules of government. There is a central administration, providing services such as libraries and laboratories.

The most remarkable of the college buildings is Christ Church. Its Tom Tower is one of the glories of Oxford. It is remarkable for its famous bell known as "Great Tom", its dining-hall, library and its art collection.

CARDIFF. It is the capital of Wales and its chief port. It has many industries such as coalmining, steel. Cardiff is also a tourist centre. There are some places of interest there: the Castle, Civic Centre, City Hall, National Museum of Wales.

The magnificent Civic Centre was built early this century. City Hall is the first part of the Civic Centre.

The National Museum of Wales displays the panorama of Wales' geology, botany, zoology, industry and art.

The Castle was built by the Romans and the Normans added more fortifications. It is on the main road through the city.

EDINBURGH is the capital of Scotland. It is a very old city. There is evidence of habitation in the 900s. Old Edinburgh was a long, narrow town. It became a Royal Burgh in 1329. It is a city where the historic past lives side by side with the present, it was the home of Scottish Kings and Queens for centuries. The New Town was built in the 18th century. Its scheme was designed by James Craig, a 23-year-old architect. Craig's New Town is valuable to 20th century Edinburgh.

The city is important as an intellectual centre. It has one of the oldest universities in Europe – the University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582.

Edinburgh is famous for many things: art galleries, museums, libraries, buildings such as the Castle Rock and especially its festivals.

In summer the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place in the Edinburgh Castle, with hundreds of soldiers in traditional Scottish costume and with music from pipe bands. In summer there is the Edinburgh Festival, Britain's biggest arts festival. The city gets thousands of visitors during the festival period.

Edinburgh is a very historic city with some of the finest architecture in Europe. It is sometimes called the Athens of the North.

Tasks for the text "British Cities"

I. Finish each part of a broken sentence from A with one from B:


a) Stratford-upon-Avon is a town...

b) Its places of interest...

c) Stratford remains...

d) There remains a house...

e) There are many places here, connected with the name of Shakespeare...

f) William Shakespeare was buried...

g) One of England's most famous buildings is...


1) ...where William Shakespeare was born; it's in Henley Street.

2) ...in this church (Holy Trinity Church) where there is his monument.

3) ...94 miles northwest of London, on the river Avon.

4) ...Anne Hathaway's cottage in Shottery, the home of Shakespeare's wife before her marriage.

5) ...are associated with the name of William Shakespeare.

6) ...a small market town, but it gathers thousands of people on April,23, on the day of Shakespeare's birthday.

7) ...Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, the Shakespeare fountain, Shakespeare's Memorial, Holy Trinity Church.

II. Fill in these words: celebrated, autonomous, scholars, various, remarkable, principle.

1. There are ... colleges in Oxford: Brasenose College, all Souls College, Queen's and Magdalen Colleges and others.

2. Each college is ..., with its own set of rules.

3. Christ Church is a most... building in Oxford.

4. Oxford is a ... city of science, because many ... work here.

5. In its ... street noble historic buildings are mixed with old houses, shops and offices.

III. Sort out these proper names and say what you know about them:

Tom Tower, Anne Hathaway's cottage, Craig's New Town, Henley Street, Great Tom, Brasenose College, Magdalen College, the Military Tattoo, Christ Church, Holy Trinity Church, Shottery, the National Museum of Wales, all Souls College, Queen's College.

IV. Answer the following questions:

1. Where is Stratford-upon-Avon situated?

2. What is it famous for?

3. Why is it a gathering place of all the nations?

4. What attractive sights does the city possess?

5. What kind of city is Oxford?

6. Where is it?

7. What colleges are there in Oxford?

8. What facts do you know about the history of the city?

9. Is every college independent?

10. What is the most remarkable of the college buildings?

11. What makes Cardiff a nice tourist centre?

12. What does the National museum of Wales display?

13. When did Edinburgh appear?

14. What did it look like then?

15. What is Edinburgh famous for?

V. Imagine that you are an agent of a travelling company. Make an advertisement of a tour to one of the cities mentioned above. Make your city sound so that it is really worth visiting.


England and Wales. Most public holidays in the United Kingdom are also known as "Bank Holidays" but on many of these shops stay open.

These holidays are: New Year's Day (January 1st), Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day (first Monday in May), Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May), August Bank Holiday (last Monday in August), Christmas Day (December 25th), Boxing Day (December 26th).

Scotland. The Scots do not usually celebrate Good Friday or Boxing Day. In the winter they concentrate instead on Hogmanay, their version of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, which is even more of a festive occasion than Christmas. Their bank holidays can also be more variable than south of the border, with Spring and Autumn Holidays replacing some of the fixed date bank holidays in England. Scotland has also a number of its own festivals, celebrating the birthday of their national poet with Burns suppers on January 25th, and their national saint on St. Andrew's Day, November 30th.

Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has several additional festivals of its own, namely, St. Patrick's Day in Catholic communities (March 17th) and Orange Day, in Protestant communities, celebrating the Battle of the Boyne (July 12th).


At Easter the British celebrate the idea of the .new birth by giving each other chocolate Easter eggs, which are opened and eaten on Easter Sunday. On Good Friday bakers sell hot cross buns, which are toasted and eaten with butter. Easter Monday is a holiday and many people travel to the seaside for the day or go and watch one of the many sporting events as football or horse-racing.

Egg-rolling is a traditional Easter pastime which still flourishes in Northern England, Scotland, Ulster, the Isle of Man, and Switzerland. It takes place on Easter Sunday or Monday, and consists of rolling coloured, hard-boiled eggs down a slope until they are cracked and broken after which they are eaten by their owners. In some districts, this is a competitive game, the winner being a player whose egg remains longest undamaged, but more usually, the fun consists simply of the rolling and eating. This is evidently the older form of the custom, since egg-rolling does not appear to have been originally a game to be lost or won.

August Bank Holiday

On Bank Holiday the towns folk usually flock into the country and to the coast. If the weather is fine many families take a picnic-lunch or tea with them and enjoy their meal in the open. Seaside towns near London, such as Southend, are invaded by thousands of trippers who come in cars and coaches, trains, motor cycles and bicycles. Great amusement parks like Southend Kursaal do a roaring trade with their scenic railways, shooting galleries, water-shoots, Crazy Houses, Hunted Houses and so on. Trippers will wear comic paper hats with slogans such as: "Kiss Me Quick" and they will eat and drink the weirdest mixture of stuff you can imagine, sea food like cockles, mussels, whelks, shrimps and tried fish and chips, candy floss, beer, tea, soft drinks, everything you can imagine.

Bank Holiday is also an occasion for big sports meetings at places like the White City Stadium , mainly all kinds of athletics. There are also horse race meetings all over the country, and most traditional of all, there are large fairs with swings, roundabouts, coconut shies, a Punch and Judy Show , hoop-la stalls and every kind of side-show including in recent years bingo. These fairs are pitched on open spaces of common land, and the most famous of them is the huge one on Hampstead Heath near London. It is at Hampstead Heath you will see the Pearly Kings and Queens , those Cockney costers (street traders), who wear suits or frocks with thousands of tiny pearl buttons stitched all over them, also over their caps and hats.

They hold horse and cart parades in which prizes are given for the smartest turn out. Many Londoners will visit Whipsnade Zoo . There is also much boating activity on the Thames, regattas at Henley and on other rivers and the English climate being what it is, it invariably rains.


If you try to catch a train on the 24th of December you may have difficulty in finding a seat. This is the day when many people are travelling home to be with their families on, Christmas Day, December 25th. For must British families, this is the most important festival of the year, it combines the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ, with the traditional festivities of winter.

On the Sunday before Christmas many churches hold a carol service where special hymns are sung. Sometimes carol-singers can be heard on the streets as they collect money for charity. Most families decorate their houses with brightly-coloured paper or holly, and they usually have a Christmas tree in the corner; of the front room, glittering with coloured lights and decorations.

There are a lot of traditions connected with Christmas but perhaps the most important one is the giving of presents. Family members wrap up their gifts arid leave them at the bottom of the Christmas tree to be found on Christmas morning. Children leave a long sock or stocking at the end of their bed on Christmas Eve, December 24th, hoping that Father Christmas will come down the chimney during the night and bring them small presents, fruits and nuts. They are usually not disappointed. At some time on Christmas Day the family will sit down to a big turkey dinner followed by Christmas pudding. They wilt probably pull a cracker with another member of the family. It will make a loud crack and a coloured hat, small toy and joke will fall out! Later in the afternoon they may watch the Queen on television as she delivers her traditional Christmas message to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. If they have room for even more food they may enjoy a piece of Christmas cake or .eat a hot mince pie.

Boxing Day

This is the day when one visits friends, goes for a long walk or just sits around recovering from too much food — everything to eat is cold. In the country there are usually Boxing Day Meets (fox-hunting). In the big cities and towns tradition on that day demands a visit to the pantomime, where once again one is entertained by the story of Cinderella, Puss in Boots or whoever it may be — the story being protracted and elaborated into as many spectacular scenes as the producer thinks one can take at a sitting.


At midnight on December 31st throughout Great Britain people celebrate the coming of "the New Year, by holding hands in a large circle; and singing "For Auld Lang Syne". This line means "in memory of past times" and the words were written by Scotland's most famous poet Robert Burns. He wrote much of his poetry in the Scots dialect of English. New Year's Eve is a more important, festival in Scotland, than it is in England, and it even has a special name. It is not clear where the word "hogmanay" comes from, but it is connected with the provision of food and drink for all visitors to your home on December 31st. In addition, many people believe that you will have good luck for coming year if the first person to enter your house after midnight is a "tall dark stranger". It is also thought lucky if the person brings a piece of coal and some white bread! Most Scots take part in a ceilidh (Gaelic for "dance") on New Year's Eve and there is much dancing and singing until the early hours of the morning.

Most of the old New Year customs take place in Scotland, beginning with "first-footing" in which the first person to enter the house in the New Year must be entertained with food and drink. But he, on his part, must take food, drink and fuel into the house, to ensure that there shall never be lack of them during the coming year.

But this is a custom that must never be carried out by woman, because it is believed that if a woman first sets foot the house, bad luck will follow throughout a year! The same custom is carried out in part of the North of England.

Another Scottish custom is to burn juniper in the house on New Year's Day in order to protect the inmates from harm.

Besides public holidays there are other festivals, anniversaries, celebrations and simply days on which certain traditions are observed, but unless they fall on a Sunday, they are ordinary working days.

February 14th

When all fun of Christmas and New Year is over, there's a feeling of anti-climax. The rest of January is dreary, and cold. But before long the empty shops seem to come to life once again with displays of attractive and brightly coloured "I love you" Valentine cards.

St. Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome and died for his faith in AD 170. His feast happens to fall on February 14th — the traditional day for lovers. But this is mere coincidence. He was not noted for helping lovers in distress and was not therefore the true patron saint of lovers.

There was in early times a strong belief that on this day birds choose their mates. To some extent this might explain why lovebirds seem to be such popular motifs on Valentine's cards. A 14th century poet wrote: "On Valentine's Day all the birds of the air in couples do join" And Shakespeare carried on the tradition when Theseus says in "A Midsummer Night's Dream":

St. Valentine is

past: Begin these

wood-birds but

to couple now?

But antiquarians maintain that St. Valentine's Day Celebrations are a continuation of a Roman festival of Pan and Juno.

There used to be a custom in England (and probably in other countries) on St. Valentine's Day, mentioned by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Pepys: the names of young unmarried men and girls were mixed up and drawn out by chance. The person of the opposite sex whose name came put after yours was your chosen, "Valentine" for the year.

Just over a century ago it became fashionable to send pretty lace-edged cards. Earlier, ludicrous and sometimes vulgar cartoons were sent to friends and strangers on this day.

In our own time, too, the Valentine tradition has undergone a sort of revival in Britain. There seems to be no limit to the variety of cards on sale for this celebration. They are happy or sad, romantic or humorous, serious or ridiculous. The card manufacturers, realising they're on to a good thing, cater for all tastes - including the vulgar. You can pay anything from 10p to 10 pounds, depending on the depth of your love and the depth of your pocket! If you really want to get rid of some money you can always use the St. Valentine's Day Greetings Telegram — a service put on specially for February 14th by the Post Office, for really love-sick.

Of all the Valentine cards on the market the humorous variety seem to be the most popular, but some of them are so cruel you would have to be quite heartless to send them, even to your worst enemy. Anonymity is, of course, part of the thrill of sending Valentine cards — you must not say who you are. The person receiving it must be left to wonder. You can send cards to anyone you like, or, for that matter, even people you don't like. There are cards specially printed to My Wife, My Husband, Mother, Father, Sweetheart, and, would you believe it, Grandmother and Grandfather. At least it is good to know that in this troubled world love is still living and spreading a little happiness, especially in dreary February.

Pancake Day

Ash Wednesday is the day in February when the Christian period of Lent begins. This refers to the time when Christ went into the desert and fasted for 40 days. Although not many people actually give up eating during this period, on Pancake Tuesday , the day before Ash Wednesday, they eat lots of pancakes. These are made from flour, milk and eggs, and fried in a hot pan.

St. David's Day

On the 1st of March each year one can see people walking around London with leeks pinned to their coats. A leek is the national emblem of Wales. The many Welsh people who live in London — or in other cities outside Wales — like to show their solidarity on their national day.

The day is actually called Saint David's Day, after a sixth century abbot who became patron saint of Wales. David is the nearest English equivalent to the saint's name, Dawi.

The saint was known traditionally as "the Waterman", which perhaps means that he and his monks were teetotallers. A teetotaller is someone who drinks no kind of alcohol, but it does not mean that he drinks only tea, as many people seem to think.

In spite of the leeks mentioned earlier, Saint David's emblem is not that, but a dove. No one, not even the Welsh, can explain why they took leek to symbolize their country, but perhaps it was just as well. After all, they can't pin a dove to their coat1

Remembrance Day (Poppy Day)

Remembrance Day is observed throughout Britain in commemoration of the million or more British soldiers, sailors and airmen who lost their lives during the two World Wars. On that day special services are held in the churches and wreaths are laid at war memorials throughout the country and at London's Cenotaph, where great number of people gather to observe the two-minute silence and to perform the annual Remembrance Day ceremony The silence begins at the first strike of Big Ben booming 11 o'clock, and is broken only by the crash of distant artillery and perhaps by the murmur of a passing jet. When the two-minute silence is over, members of the Royal Family or their representatives and political leaders come forward to lay wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph. Then comes the march past the memorial of ex-servicemen and women, followed by an endless line of ordinary citizens who have come here with their personal wreaths and their sad memories.

On that day artificial poppies, a symbol of mourning, are traditionally sold in the streets everywhere, and people wear them in their-buttonholes. The money collected in this way is later used to help the men who had been crippled during the war and their dependants.


Hallowe'en means "holy evening" and takes place on October 31 st. Although it is a much more important festival in the USA than in Britain, it is celebrated by many people in the United Kingdom. It is particularly connected with witches and ghosts.

At parties people dress up in strange costumes and pretend they are witches. They cut horrible faces in potatoes and other vegetables and put a candle inside, which shines through their eyes. People play different games such as trying to eat an apple from a bucket of water without using their hands.

In recent years children dressed in white sheets knock on doors at Hallowe'en and ask if you would like a "trick" or "treat". If you give them something nice, a "treat", they go away. However, if you don't, they play a "trick" on you, such as making a lot of noise or spilling flour on your front doorstep.

Guy Fawkes Night

In 1605 King James I was on the throne. As a Protestant, he was very unpopular with Roman Catholics. Some of them planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the 5th November of that year, when the King was going to open Parliament. Under the House of Lords they had stored 36 barrels of gun powder, which were to be exploded by a man called Guy Fawkes. However, one of the plotters spoke about these plans and Fawkes was discovered, arrested and later handed. Since that day the British traditionally celebrate 5th of November by burning a dummy, made of straw and old clothes, on a bonfire, whilst at the same time letting off fireworks.

This dummy is called a "guy" (like Guy Fawkes) and children can often be seen in the pavements before 5th of November saying "Penny for the guy". If they collect enough money they can buy some fireworks.

Tasks for the text "Public Holidays"

I. Answer the following questions:

1. What public holidays can you name? What holidays are spread in the U.K.? What are regional ones?

2. What presents do they get for Easter? Why? What are various activities on this day?

3. What are Bank holidays? What dishes do people have on these days? What are their favourite occupations? What do people enjoy at fairs?

4. What symbols of Christmas do you know? What are the traditional decorations? What food is present on the table? What is the typical way of having Christmas festivities?

5. What is Boxing Day? What is it - Boxing Day meets? How do people spend their time on this day?

6. When do they celebrate Hogmanay? What does the word "Hogmanay" mean? What about "First Foot"? Why mustn't it be a woman? What are the principal activities on this day?

7. What are the roots of St. Valentine's Day? When did it become a tradition to send cards? What is the nature of the cards?

8. Why is Pancake Day celebrated? What are the main occupations on this day?

9. What have you learnt of St. David's Day? When is it observed?

II. Give a definition of the following words:

A Bank holiday; Good Friday; cockney; carols; holly; Boxing Day; first-footing; Ash Wednesday.

III. Compare British and Russian public holidays.



There is no other nation that clings to the past with the tenacity of the British. The Briton has a sense of the continuity of history. He loves to go through his ancient ceremonies as he has always performed them, with the consciousness that he is keeping faith with his ancestors, that he is maintaining the community they created. He does not often change his manner of carrying out official acts, and if ever he does, the new method at once becomes the tradition.

Queen Elizabeth the First provided one of these examples of discarding the old and supplanting it with the new. She was knitting when the list of nominees for sheriff was brought to her. Tradition decreed that she should take up her quill and make a check in ink against the name of each person whom it was her pleasure to appoint. There was no pen handy. So Elizabeth the First, with one of her knitting needles, pricked a little hole in the parchment beside each favoured name. That is the reason why today Queen Elizabeth the Second appoints sheriffs of England by pricking holes in the listing of their names.

Even the casual visitor to London can view without effort many of the brilliant parades and spectacles in which the colour of medieval times has been preserved for ours. And if you wish you can also enter the visitors' gallery of the House of Commons as long as it existed. If a speaker steps across the line on the floor that marks the point at which he would be within sword's length of his advertisers on the opposite side of the Chamber, the session is automatically suspended. If a rebellious member should seize the great mace, the symbol of authority that rests on the table before the Speaker's chair, and make off with it (this happened at least once), no legal business can be transacted until the mace has been restored to its position. You can also go into the House of Lords, where the glitter is more pronounced, the royal scarlet more in evidence, and where your own back will begin to ache sympathetically at the spectacle of the Lord Chancellor, so uncomfortably seated on the edge of the enormous woolsack.


Much leisure time is spent in individualistic pursuits, of which the most popular is gardening. Most English people love gardens, their own above all, and this is probably one reason why so many people prefer to live in houses rather than fiats. Particularly in suburbian areas it is possible to pass row after row of ordinary small houses, each one with its neatly-kept patch of grass surrounded by a great variety of flowers and shrubs. Many people who have no gardens of their own have patches of land or "allotments" in specially reserved areas — though a group of allotment gardens, with its mixed-up collection of sheds for keeping the tools and the dull arrangement of the rectangular sections of land, is usually not a thing of beauty.

Although the .task of keeping a garden is so essentially individual, for many people gardening is the foundation of social and competitive relationships. Flower-shows and vegetable-shows, with prizes for the best exhibits, are immensely popular, and to many gardeners the process of growing the plants seems more important than the merely aesthetic pleasure of looking at the flowers or the prospect of eating the vegetables. In many places a competitive gardener's ambition is to grow the biggest cabbages or leeks or carrots, and the plain fact that the merits of most vegetables on the table are the inverse ratio to their size seems often to be forgotten.

Wedding Superstitions

In England the wedding preparations, ceremony and feast have all become loaded with ritual practices to ward off evil and bless the marriage with fortune and fertility.

The choice of date is important. May is traditionally unlucky for weddings and many modern couples marry between Easter and late May, the practice much encouraged by tax rebates. The tradition that the bride's parents should pay for the wedding dates back from two or three centuries ago, when wealthy families would pay an eligible bachelor to take an unmarried daughter off their hands in exchange for a large dowry. At most formal weddings brides still get married in virginal white — many other colours are considered unlucky.

A bride will also ensure that her wedding outfit includes "something old, something new; something borrowed, something blue". "Old" maintains her link with the past; "new" symbolizes the future; "borrowed" gives her a link with the present; and "blue" symbolizes her purity.

Even a modern bride will observe the taboos about wearing her dress before the ceremony. The groom mustn't see her in it until she enters the church. The veil should be put on for the first time as she leaves for the church. It's a lucky omen if the bride should see a chimney sweep on her way to church. Sometimes a sweep is paid to attend the ceremony and kiss the bride — a relic of the old idea that soot-and ashes are symbols of fertility.

After the ceremony, the couple are showered with the confetti — to bless the marriage with fertility.

One old custom was for the bride and sometimes the groom to negotiate some obstacle as they left the church — guests would impede them with ropes of flowers, for example, or with sticks that had to be jumped over.

After that the bride is faced with the feast. The: most important item is the wedding cake, whose richness symbolizes fertility, just as it has done since Roman times. Today, the first slice is cut by the bride to ensure a fruitful marriage.


In English homes, the fireplace has always been, until recent times, the natural centre of interest in a room. People may like to sit at a window on a summer day, but for many months of the year they prefer to sit round the fire and watch the dancing flames.

In the Middle Ages the fireplaces in the halls of large castles were very wide. Only wood was burnt, and large logs were carted in from the forests, and supported as they burnt, on metal bars. Such wide fireplaces may still be seen in old inns, and in some of them there are even seats inside the fireplace.

Elizabethan fireplaces often had carved stone or woodwork over the fireplace, reaching to the ceiling. There were sometimes columns on each side of the fireplace. In the 18th century, space was often provided over the fireplace for a painting or mirror.

When coal fires became common, fireplaces became much smaller. Grates were used to hold the coal. Above the fireplace there was usually a shelf on which there was often a clock, and perhaps framed photographs.


Dancing is popular, and the numerous large and opulent-looking public dance-halls are an important element in the folklore and courtship procedures of all but the upper and middle classes. They manage to survive against the competition of the more modern, smaller, noisier discotheques. They are strictly places for dancing, with good floors and good bands, but often no tables for people to sit at when they are not actually dancing, only rows of chairs round the walls. They are visited mainly by young unmarried people. Girls tend to go in groups of two or three, friends from the same street or the same office, relying much on each other's support as they go in; the young men sometimes go in groups too, but often alone. All the girls tend to congregate together between dances, and the young men similarly. At the beginning of each dance a man chooses a girl from the mass, and will ask the same girl to dance with him again if he find her company agreeable, but the girl may refuse. Most of the dancers go home as they come — but not quite at all. If a couple like one another the young man may offer an invitation to go to a cinema on some future night, and this invitation may be succeeded by others. After several prearranged meetings a couple may regard themselves as "going steady" together thought for a long time they will meet only in public places, and an invitation home implies great admiration. Young people are thoroughly emancipated, and find it easy enough to meet each other.

Henry Wood Promenade Concerts

"Ladies and gentlemen - the Proms!"

Amongst music-lovers in Britain — and, indeed, in very many other countries — the period between July and September 21 is a time of excitement, of anticipation, of great enthusiasm.

We are in the middle of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts — the Proms.

London music-lovers are particularly fortunate, for those who are able to obtain tickets can attend the concerts in person. Every night at 7 o'clock (Sunday excepted) a vast audience assembled at the Royal Albert Hall rises for the playing and singing of the National Anthem. A few minutes later, when seats have been resumed, the first work of the evening begins.

But even if seats are not to be obtained, the important parts of the concerts can be heard — and are heard — by a very great number of people, because the BBC broadcasts certain principal works every night throughout the season. The audience reached by this means is estimated to total several millions in Britain alone, and that total is probably equalled by the number of listeners abroad.

The reason why such a great audience is attracted is that the Proms present every year a large repertoire of classical works under the best conductors and with the best artists. A season provides an anthology of masterpieces.

The Proms started in 1895 when Sir Henry Wood formed the Queen's Hall Orchestra. The purpose of the venture was to provide classical music to as many people who cared to come at a price all could afford to pay, those of lesser means being charged comparatively little — one shilling — to enter the Promenade, where standing was the rule.

The coming of the last war ended two Proms' traditions. The first was that in 1939 it was no longer possible to perform to London audiences — the whole organization was evacuated to Bristol. The second was that the Proms couldn't return to the Queen's Hall after the war was over — the Queen's Hall had become a casualty of the air-raids (in 1941), and was gutted.

The Derby

The annual race for the "Derby" at Epsom racecourse in Surrey is perhaps the most famous single event in the whole world. The day is almost a public holiday. It is Derby Day (it takes place in the first week in June) and, attended by an army of bookmakers to record their bets, of gipsies ready to tell their fortunes, and side-show proprietors to provide amusement during the hours of waiting, thousands flock to the course, many of them apparently not at all worried about whether or not they see the race that is the excuse for all the excitement. Of those who stay away, the majority, even of those who do not gamble habitually, will do so in a small way on Derby Day. Every office, club, shop and factory will run its Derby sweepstake which you enter in the hope that you will draw the name of the winning horse put of a hat and thus win all the money contributed by the various competitors.

The Fish and Chip Shop

A special British institution is the fish and chip shop, where it is possible to buy over the counter a piece of fried fish and potatoes. You can eat fish and chips in the street as you walk along, or take it home, if you live near by, arid eat it on the plate. Most fish and chip shops close before 11 p.m., staying open late enough to serve people as they come out of cinemas, which usually finish around 10.15 p.m. Snack bars and espresso coffee bars have great success among young people below the age for going to pubs.

What Is a Pub?

There are visitors who come to England and leave thinking that they have never been inside a pub. They don't realize that the words pub or "public house" are rarely included in the title of the place. So how do you know whether a building is a pub and what does a pub offer the visitor?

The first thing to look is a large sign either hanging over the street or placed on a pole outside the building. This sign may have a name like "The Kings Arms", "The Black Rabbit" or "The Duke of Kendal" or an appropriate picture. Many pubs have names linked to royalty, popular, heroes, sports or great occasions. There is a pub called "The Concorde" after the new airliner.

On the doors of a pub you may see the words Saloon Bar or public Bar. The Saloon Bar is more comfortably furnished. Occasionally the words Free House can be seen beside the name of the pub. This doesn't mean they serve free food and drink; it refers to the fact that the pub doesn't buy its drinks from one particular brewery only. It isn't a "Tied House" — tied to a brewery.

The services a pub offers vary around the country. The basic service is the sale of alcoholic drinks at certain times of the day. Opening times, as these periods are often called, are usually from 10.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays. On Sundays the opening times are 12 noon until 2 p.m. and 7 — 10.30 p.m. although these times can vary slightly according to the region. Pubs can also offer food and accommodation. To help visitors, an experimental system of symbols is being tried out in Southern England and East Anglia. These symbols indicate just what is available from a particular pub.

The colloquial expression "cock and bull story", used to describe information that is highly exaggerated or untrue, is said by some people to have its origins in pub names. A century ago a London pub called "The Cock" caught fire. The panic-stricken guests were given shelter at a nearby inn called "The Bull". The guests' exaggerated stories of their escape became known as cock-and-bull stories. The term is used for any long, rambling and unlikely story. There are several other versions of the derivation of this phrase.

The Game of Darts

In the bar of every English pub there is a dart-board, arid on most evenings you will find the game of darts being played. This is a traditional English game, and it presumably developed from archery, which was much encouraged for military reasons during the Middle Ages. The first record of something like the modern game appears in a sixteenth-century description of a tournament where people threw missiles at a target by hand, instead of using a bow. The Pilgrim Fathers, who Sailed in the "Mayflower" to America in 1620 in search of greater freedom, played darts during their voyage.

The dart-board has numbered sections, and the score depends on the section in which the dart lands. The darts are small, about five inches long, and have a steel point, a metal body, and three feathers. A set of three darts is used and each player throws them in turn. Expert players usually have their own private set of darts, but pubs always provide a set for occasional performers. Style is a matter for the individual; but you must have a good eye and steady hand — not always easy in a pub!

Traditions and Festivals

The Highland Games. The games which are now celebrated in the Highlands first started in Celtic times and were always held in front of the king. Competitors were held to find the strongest and fastest men to the body-guards and messengers. Essential to the modern games are the events such as putting the stone, throwing the hammer and tossing the caber.

Other events include running and jumping, as well as competitions for playing the bagpipes and dancing traditional Highland dances.

The games held in the north-east are best known for the athletic events, whilst the best piping is traditionally found in the Highlands and Islands off the west coast.

Tattoo Spectacular. The Edinburgh military tattoo takes place every August and September, and is known throughout the world. For 90 minutes on five or six nights a week, 600 people perform under flood-lights. They are surrounded on three sides by an audience of 9,000. On the forth side is the Edinburgh Castle itself which provides an exciting setting for the evening's performance of military music, marching and other spectacular displays.

The name tattoo has an interesting origin. Traditionally soldiers were told to return to the living-quarters each night by a beat of the drum which sounded like "tat-toe". After this time the pubs would serve them no more whisky!

On the final night of the display the sky is filled with the bright colours of exploding fireworks.

Edinburgh International Festival. The post-war years have seen a great growth in the number of arts festivals in Britain and other European countries. Among them the Edinburgh International Festival has now firmly established its reputation as one of the foremost events of its kind in the world. This is not surprising because everything in the arts, if it is first-class, is Potentially an Edinburgh Festival attraction. On most evenings during the Festival there are as many as six events to choose from on the official programme: symphony concerts, ballets, plays, recitals — all given by the finest artists in the world.

The idea of the festival originated in the first post war year. All over Europe rationing and restrictions were the order of the day, and hundred of towns lay in ruins. It is in this setting that the festival was planned. Its founders had many difficulties to face, not the least of them being the fact that this was something Edinburgh and indeed Scotland had never previously known. Nor have been the problems solved even today, for example, the King's Theatre where operas and ballets are staged during the festival is completely inadequate for the purpose, and the administration finds it increasingly difficult to get companies to perform there.

The Festival was inaugurated in 1947. Glyndebourne Opera, the Viena Philharmonic Orchestra, the Old Vic Theatre and Sadler's Wells Ballet were only a few of the participants of this first venture. The Festival was a success, and has been held annually ever since.

The Festival is quite international in its character giving as a rule a varied representation of artistic production from a number of countries, and over the past few years it has had a definite theme, that is the work of one or two composers was studied depth. A great number of the works ranging from symphonies and operatic excerpts to string quartets, songs and piano pieces were included in the programme.

Since the Festival started in 1947 as a gesture of the Scottish Renaissance against post-war austerity, much has blossomed around it. Every hall in the city is occupied by some diversion: and you may find Shakespeare by penetrating an ancient close off the Royal Mile, or plain-song in a local church. Fringe events bring performing bodies from all over Britain and beyond, and student groups are always prominent among them, responsible often for interesting experiments in the drama. Then there is the International Film Festival, bringing documentaries from perhaps 30 countries; Highland Games, and all sorts of other ventures from puppet to photo shows.

Burns' Night. 25th of January is celebrated all over the world by Scotsmen wherever they are, as it is the birthday of Robert Burns.

There are hundreds of Burns Clubs scattered throughout the world, and they all endeavour to hold Burns Night celebrations to mark the birth of Scotland's greatest poet. The first club was founded at Greenock, Renfrewshire, in 1802. The traditional menu at the suppers is cock-a-leekie soup (chicken broth), boiled salt herring, haggis with turnips, and champit tatties (mashed potatoes). The arrival of the haggis is usually heralded by the music of the bagpipes. "The Immortal Memory" is toasted, and the company stand in silent remembrance. Then follows dancing, pipe music, and selections from Burn's lyrics, the celebration concluding with the poet's famous "Auld Lang Syne".

Tasks for the text "Traditions and Customs"

I. Answer the following questions:

1. Why do the British observe their traditions with tenacity?

2. Can you give any examples of it?

3. Is gardening popular in Britain? Why? What is grown in their gardens? Is gardening a favourite pastime in Russia?

4. What wedding superstitions impress you as most unusual? What lucky omens do you remember? Do you personally agree with these superstitions? Do Russian people have any?

5. Do fireplaces have a long history? Can you prove it?

6. What does the word "the Proms" stand for? When and where do all music-lovers gather in London? When did the Proms start? What was the purpose of it?

7. What is the annual race for the "Derby" famous for? When is the Derby Day? Who attends the race?

8. What do you know about various eateries in Britain? Do we have similar places in Russia?

9. What names do the English pubs have? What services does a pub offer? What does the expression "cock and bull story" mean? What is the origin of this phrase? What games can be played in a pub? What kind of game is it?

II. Say what you remember about the following expressions:

The Great Mace; the enormous woolsack in the House of Lords; allotments; a chimney sweep on a wedding day; a wedding cake; a Free house; a Tied House.

III. Speak about Russian traditions and customs.


Early Britain

THE OLD STONE AGE: (500.000 - 10.000 B.C.) The first signs of human habitation are known to have taken place about 500.000 years ago, when Britain was still part of Europe and the English Channel was not yet formed. Not many people lived in Britain then. Just a few hunting families occupied caves such as Cheddar Gorge in South Devon. They developed their own primitive culture.

During the MIDDLE STONE AGE (about 6000 B.C.) Britain was separated from the continent.

About 2.500 B.C. farming colonists crossed to Britain from Northern France and the Mediterranean. They brought cattle and sheep and seeds of wheat.

THE NEW STONE AGE (2.500 - 1.800 B.C.) lasted over 5 hundred years. People had no metal. They got their clothes and food from their cattle, they cut their furniture from their native rock. In Low-land England people used to mine flint. That was the beginning of mining in the British Isles. The most famous mines are those of Grimes Graves in Norfolk.

We know about a fine example of tombs as the Cotswold long-barrows. These barrows are communal graves, they are very large in size. The origin of these barrows is Mediterranean. (We can see this type of long-barrows in Sicily, Malta.) The religion of the people of the NEW STONE AGE was also Mediterranean in origin. Female statuettes (The Earth Mother) found in the Grimes Grames flint mines, point towards the cult of fertility, death and rebirth.

Some scientists believe that the first settlements were founded by Iberians ("Iberians" often means "Spaniards" or "Portuguese").

THE BRONZE AGE (1.800 - 500 B.C.). In about 1.800 B.C. Britain was invaded by tribes from France and the Low Countries (Holland and Belgium) known as the Beaker Folk. They brought metal. Many of the Beaker Folk were descended from the northern warrior peoples and probably spoke an Indo-European language (some believe that it was Gaelic). They did not look like the Stone Age people, they were taller, more heavily built, much fairer in colouring. Their religion was also different: they did not have communal graves. Their chiefs were hurried individually in round barrows.

The first religious temples were built in Britain: Stonehenge, Avebury and other monuments. They were centres for religious ritual directed towards the sun and the heavens. Stonehenge and Avebury were probably meccas to attract people from far off for special ceremonies. This must have been the most sacred area of Britain. Stonehenge is situated near Salisbury, Wiltshire. The fact, that the famous "blue stones" were carried two hundred miles from Pembrokeshire in West Wales, shows that this group of "standing" or " hanging" stones was sacred.

THE IRON AGE (500 - 400 B.C.). About 500 B.C. the Celtic invasion began. They brought iron. The first group of tribes - the Scots - appeared about 800 B.C. The second group was the Brits, the third - the Belgae (or the Belgic tribes). In war time the Celts wore skins and painted their faces with a blue dye to make themselves look fierce. As warriors they introduced the use of chariots which Caesar's soldiers found so frightening. There were excellent carpenters among them, who could make carts and boats, and blacksmiths - their art survived in metalwork: bracelets, necklaces, hand-mirrors, helmets, etc.

The Celts brought their language: its Gaelic form was used in Ireland and Scotland, the Brythonic form was used in England and Wales. It was the Brythonic tribe that gave its name to the whole country.

Tasks for the text "Early Britain"

I. Learn to read the following words:

Cheddar Gorge; the Mediterranean; Grimes Graves in Norfolk; the Cotswold long-barrows; female statuettes; Iberians; Portuguese; the Bronze Age; the Beaker Folk; Stonehenge; Avebury; Gaelic; Salisbury; the Celts; the Belgae; Julius Caesar.

II. Translate the following word combinations:

human habitation; to mine something; the origin of something; the cult of fertility, death and rebirth; to descend

from warrior peoples; religious temples; to look fierce; sacred stones; invasion.

Recollect the situations from the text where these combinations were used and tell your class about them.

III. Answer the following questions:

1. What evidence of the first human habitation on the British Isles is known?

2. Where did the first settlers come from during the Stone Age?

3. What were the main occupations of the ancient people?

4. What was their religion like?

5. Where did the Beaker Folk come from?

6. What kind of people were they? What is known of their religious beliefs?

7. When did the Celtic invasion begin?

8. What is the Celtic influence on Britain and its culture?

IV. Make reports on the following topics:

1. Stonehenge and its mystery.

2. The Celtic culture.

V. Speak about Early Britain.

The Roman Invasion (43 A.D. - 410 A.D.)

Why did the Romans invade Britain?

The first reason is that Britain was a sort of Celtic resistance centre against the Romans who had conquered Europe.

The other reason is that under the Belgic tribes Britain was a major corn-producing country. The Romans wanted food badly.

In 55 B.C. Julius Caesar's expedition took place. A year later the expedition was repeated. But there was no obvious influence left.

The actual conquest took place in 43 A.D. when the Emperor Claudius sent a 50, 000 strong army. Since that time up to 410 A.D. Britain was one of the provinces of the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted 4 centuries.

The most famous rebellion of the Northern Celts was headed by Boadicea (the Celts called her their queen). She and her daughters used to fight in her war chariot and after the defeat they took poison.

The Celts in Scotland - the picts - produced a strong impression on the Romans and in 121 A.D. the Emperor Hadrian caused a wall to be built known as Hadrian's wall. They had built another wall known as the wall of Antonine or Grime's Dyke.

Wales belonged to the so-called military districts of Roman Britain together with the mountainous areas of the North and West. Towns were in the civil districts. Forts were built at Chester, York with a legion in each place. The Romans exported grain, skins, tin, pearls and slaves.

The Romans built paved straight roads leading to towns. Three of the four principal roads met in London (=Londinium): Ermine Street, Watling Street, Icknield way. The Fosse Way connected Lincoln and York.

The Romans introduced Christianity but it did not prosper.

There was a handful of Latin words to enrich the Celtic vocabulary like "castra" ("a military camp") found in names like Lancaster, Winchester, Leicester, Chester, etc.; "valum" ("wall") - Hadrian's wall; "via strata" ("street").

All over the country new towns were planned with well-planned streets and shops and town halls and bath-houses. Brick houses were modest, long and narrow, frescoed and centrally heated.

In 407 orders came for the legions to return. The safety of Rome itself was in question. So, the Romans left and failed to return.

Tasks for the text "The Roman Invasion"

I. Learn to read these words:

The Romans; Julius Caesar; Claudius; the Roman Empire; emperor; Boadicea; Hadrian; legion; the wall of Antonine; Londinium; Ermine Street; Watling Street; the Icknield Way; the Fosse Way; Leicester; to introduce Christianity.

II. Read and translate the following words:

To invade; the centre of resistance; to conquer; a conquest; a rebellion; to defeat; prosper; safety. Then make up sentences of your own using these words.

III. Recollect the text "Early Britain" and make the right choice:

1. The first people on the British Isles were:

a) Celts

b) Iberians

c) the Beaker Folk

2. Which of the tribes are not Celtic:

a) Brithons

b) Belgae

c) Jutes

3. The first religious temples built by the Beaker Folk were: a) Stonehenge and Avebury

b) Londinium

c) the Fosse Way

4. Britain was conquered by the Romans in:

a) 54 B.C.

b) 55 B.C.

c) 43 A.D.

5. The first Roman emperor to come to Britain was:

a) Claudius

b) Hadrian

c) Caesar

6. Hadrian's wall was built:

a) to protect Britain from the picts

b) to stop the Romans

c) to make a beautiful place out of Britain

7. Which of the cities was not built by the Romans:

a) Nottingham

b) Bath

c) Winchester

8. The Romans left Britain for good in:

a) 407 A.D.

b) 43 A.D.

c) 54 B.C.

IV. Match the two parts of the sentences from parts A. and B.:


1. The long barrows in the Cotswolds were....

2. The Beaker Folk buried their dead....

3. The first religious temples were...

4. The first people in Britain were:....

5. The Celtic tribes....

6. The Celtic tribes were called....

7. The first attempt to conquer Britain by the Romans...

8. The famous rebellion of the Celts against the Romans...

9. Britain was conquered by the Romans...

10. Hadrian's wall was built...

11. The Romans built four paved roads:....

12. In 407 A.D. the Romans....


a) was headed by queen Boadicea.

b) Mediterranean in origin and called berians.

c) Brithons, Scotts and Belgae.

d) communal graves during the New Stone Age.

e) Stonehenge, Avebury and lesser monuments.

f) was made by Julius Caesar in 55-54 B.C.

g) in the round barrows during the Bronze Age.

h) began to invade Britain about 450 B.C. during the Iron Age.

i) left Britain for good.

j) in 43 A.D. when the emperor Claudius brought his army.

k) by the Romans because of the picts who came from the North.

l) Ermine Street, Watling Street, Icknield Way and the Fosse way.

V. Answer the following questions:

1. What are the reasons for the Roman invasion?

2. When and by whom was Britain conquered? How long did the conquest last?

3. Were the Celts happy about the invasion? Why or why not? Prove it.

4. What influence did the Romans have on Britain? Can we call this influence "civilization"?

5. What was built in Britain by the Romans?

The Anglo-Saxon Invasion

The first tribe to arrive was the Jutes. They settled in the southern part of the island and founded their state of Kent. Lots of Jutes used to serve as soldiers in the Roman army.

The other tribes were primitive Angles and Saxons. They were land-tillers.

At the end of the 4th and early in the 5th century they began to invade Britain. (The mass invasion began in 449-450 A.D.) It took them about 150 years to conquer the Celts. The object of the invasion was territorial conquest. The barbaric invaders killed and enslaved the Celts, they laid the country waste. A lot of people moved to Wales, Cornwall, the North and Ireland. Many of the Celts crossed the Channel, emigrating to the continent (now known as the French province of Brittany).

One brave tribal leader - King Arthur - organized Celtic resistance. The Celts made their faith a weapon in their struggle against the Germanic invaders. King Arthur is in the memory of the people a defender of the faith. His knights of the Round Table are bright examples of all moral virtues.

Groups of tribes formed independent states which chose separate kings. And up to 829 English history is the struggle between different Anglo-Saxon States. The Angles and Saxons formed 6 kingdoms, three of the Angles in the Northern and central parts of the island: North-umbria, East Anglia and Mercia; and three of the Saxons in the southern part: Sussex, Essex and Wessex.

The new Anglo-Saxon society was passing from the tribal organization to the feudal class organization. The chiefs of the invaders were becoming founders of the royal dynasties.

The Anglo-Saxons were heathens. Their highest god was Woden, the war god. (Thor was the thunder boss, Freya - the love goddess).

Their poetry reflected historical legends and primitive beliefs. The greatest monument of early poetry was "The Poem of Beowulf'.

Christianity began to develop. Monasteries and churches became the centres of art and letters. The Venerable Bede of Northumbria (673-735) lived in a monastery, teaching and writing. He wrote on problems of science - geography, astrology, climate, seasons. His work was translated by King Alfred from Latin. It is called "Historia Ecclesiastica". He, Bede, wrote about the first poet - a shepherd Caedman (his hymns are left) Poetry of Cynewulf (750-825), a poet from Wessex, is famous.

The culture of Wessex is inseparable from the name of King Alfred. He invited foreign scholars, translated books from Latin. He systemized or began a kind of national diary "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle", a year by year account of important historical events.

English place names which came from the Anglo-Saxon language:

Southampton, Brighton, Preston, Northampton ("ton" meant "a place surrounded by a hedge); Salisbury, Canterbury, Edinburgh ("burgh", "bury" meant "to hide"); Nottingham, Birmingham, Cheltenham ("ham" meant "home"); Sheffield, Chesterfield, Mansfield ("field" meant "open country"). At the end of the 8th century Scandinavian raids began.

Tasks for the text "The Anglo-Saxon Invasion"

I. Learn to read these words:

The Jutes; the Angles; the Saxons; king Arthur; Northumbria; East Anglia; Mercia; the Venerable Bede; king Alfred; Caedman; Cynewulf.

II. Read and translate the following words and word combinations:

To enslave; to lay the country waste; moral virtues; heathens; to make raids. Recollect the situations from the text where these words were used.

III. Answer the following questions:

1. What tribes invaded Britain in the 5-th century A.D.? Which tribe came first? What kind of people were they?

2. How long did the invasion last?

3. What happened with the Celtic population?

4. Who organized the Celtic resistance?

5. What do you know about the knights of the Round Table?

6. How many new states appeared? What were they?

7. What have you learnt about the culture of the Anglo-Saxons?

8. What famous people of this period of history do you know?

9. What places in Britain bear the Anglo-Saxon names?

IV. Make the right choice:

1. Which of these tribes do not belong to the same group:

a) angles


c) scotts

2. The Anglo-Saxons formed:

a) 6 states

b) 3 states

c) 7 states

3. Who was not a leader of the Celtic resistance:

a) queen Boadicea

b) king Alfred

c) king Arthur

4. Which of the cities is Anglo-Saxon in origin:

a) Birmingham

b) Manchester

c) Chester

5. By origin the Anglo-Saxon tribes were:

a) Northern

b) Mediterranean

c) Germanic

6. Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia were the states of:

a) saxons

b) celts

c) angles

V. Make reports on one of the topics:

1. Legends about King Arthur.

2. The culture of the Anglo-Saxons.

VI. Try to solve this puzzle. There are 9 names from the history of Britain of the periods of the Roman and Anglo-Saxon invasions. Find them:


















































































The Scandinavian Invasion

In 793 the Danes and Norwegians invaded Britain and Ireland. They were skilful warriors, shipbuilders, good fighters and pirates. These Northmen were known by many names: the Vikings, the Normans, the Danes. They came from Denmark and Norway.

The Scandinavians stayed in Britain for almost two centuries (the 9th and the 10th centuries). They began to found their kingdoms. They conquered Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia and tried to conquer Wessex. But the young king of Wessex, Alfred the Great (871-899) stopped them. 871 is called "Alfred's great year of battles". The country was devided into 2 equal parts: the Danelaw part of the north-east and England proper in the south-west. This is how place names have Scandinavian endings ("by", "toft", "wich"): Derby, Ashby, Lowestoft, Norwich, Ipswich.

Alfred the Great made the country strong, built the first British Navy, made new rules for the army. Every free man had to serve and provide his weapon. A levy of free men and an army of knights were formed. Alfred's "Truth" was the first code of England's Common Law.

The Danish raids accelerated the process of feudal development. England was made part of the Danish kingdom including Norway and Sweden with Canute or Knut as King (1017-1035). People had to pay a large tax (Danegeld tax) After Canute's death an Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessor came to power. He was educated in Normandy and brought with him lots of Norman nobles, monks and counsellors and thus prepared ground for the Norman conquest.

Many Scandinavian words came into the English language: happy, low, ugly, ill, loose; to take, to die, to call; sister, husband, sky, fellow, law, window, leg, wing, harbour.

Tasks for the text "The Scandinavian Invasion"

I. Answer the following questions:

1. When did the Scandinavian invasion begin?

2. Was England a centralized country at that time? Was it easy or difficult to conquer it?

3. By what names are the Scandinavians known in history?

4. What were their occupations?

5. How long did the Scandinavian invasion last?

6. What king stopped the Scandinavian invasion?

7. What is king Alfred famous for?

8. What Scandinavian words in the English language do you know?

II. Speak about the Scandinavian invasion and its influence on the British history.

The Norman Conquest

In the eleventh century England was invaded by the Normans. The Normans were also "Northmen", but they settled in France, in Normandy. And while the Danes mixed up with the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans became like French. Normandy was very strong and powerful.

In 1066 king Edward the Confessor died and Harold was declared king. But Edward's cousin William, the Duke of Normandy, declared himself heir to the throne and began to gather an army to invade Britain.

William landed in the South of England and the battle of the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons took place on the 14th of October 1066 at a little village near the town now called Hastings. Harold was killed in this battle. It took William and his barons several years to conquer England. William became king of England, William I, the Conqueror. He ruled for 21 years. He was a ruthless man.

The Norman conquest brought about very important changes in the life of the Anglo-Saxons. After the conquest the royal power strengthened greatly. William became the richest feudal lord of all. The owner of the land was the king, and all the barons were land-holders. That's the reason for the future English revolution. Every Norman noble became the king's vassal and took an oath to be true to the king, not to his overlord ("the vassal of my vassal is my vassal").

The country was divided into shires or counties. A royal official was the king's "sheriff. By the thirteenth century all free peasants became serfs or villains.

In 1086 William the Conqueror introduced the Doomsday Book, where the information about the king's vassals, their land, property, serfs and free peasants was gathered. The villagers were threatened to be punished on Doomsday if they didn't tell the truth. So, this feudal registration strengthened the position of the conquerors.

England was ruled by a foreign king, foreigners occupied all the highest offices. The Normans made up new aristocracy and the Anglo-Saxon people became their servants. The official language was Norman-French - a Norman dialect of French. In time English became the language of the educated classes as the majority of the population was English. Such words as noble, baron, serve, command, obey, court, crime, arms, troops, guard, navy, battle, victory are Norman by origin.

Towns began to grow. William ordered that many castles should be built. The White Tower of the Tower of London was begun.

By the beginning of the thirteenth century the establishment of feudalism was completed.

Tasks for the text "The Norman Conquest"

I. Learn to read the following words:

Normandy; the Duke of Normandy; the Normans; Edward the Confessor; William the Conqueror; the battle of Hastings; Harold; feudal lords; vassals; sheriff; the Doomsday Book; feudalism.

II. Translate the following words and word combinations using a dictionary:

An heir to the throne; a ruthless man; take an oath; peasants; serfs; villains; property.

Recollect the situations from the text where these words were used. Then build up your own sentences with these


III. Answer the following questions:

1. Who were the Normans? Where did they come from?

2. Who was the leader of the Normans?

3. Who did William the Conqueror fight against?

4. When did the battle of Hastings take place? What was its outcome?

5. Who became the owner of the land and who were the land-holders?

6. What was the main principle for the vassals?

7. What was the Doomsday Book? What do you know about it?

8. In what century was the feudal system established? What were the main classes?

9. What was the Norman influence on Britain?

IV. Make reports on one of the following topics:

1. William the Conqueror, the new king of England.

2. The Battle of Hastings.

3. The Norman castles.

4. The Norman influence on the English language.

The Great Charter (Magna Carta) and the Beginning of Parliament

In 1154 a new dynasty was begun by Henry II Plantagenet (1154-1189). His vast possessions in France were added to England. He made some reforms to limit the power of barons.

The church was very strong and possessed a lot of land. At the end of the 11th century crusades began to be popular. The second Plantagenet king - Richard the Lion Heart - was an enthusiastic crusader fighting Salah-ad-Din. When he got in captivity, his ransom was paid because people had to belt up their bellies. During 10 years of his reign (1189-1199) he spent only 6 months in England.

In the 13th century the second son of Henry II, a third Plantagenet, John the Lackland, became a king. He tried to fight barons and the church and the French king who wanted his lands in France back at the same time. He did not guard his vassals' possessions well enough and was very unpopular. It was during his reign that the Great Charter was signed on the 15th of June 1215. It was the first document of feudal rights.

The Charter cancelled the right of the king to control the personal property and liberty of all free men (barons, vassals, merchants). The king was not to be allowed to impose new taxes and arrest those who objected to paying them. But later when villainage died out, the idea of freedom was no longer connected with land holding.

In 1216 John died and his son Henry III (he was only 9 years old) came to the throne (1216-1272). The Great Council became very important in discussing the affairs of the state. But soon Henry took the affairs in his hands and enlarged the taxes. The barons refused to pay. They were supported by knights, citizens and rich free peasants. A civil war began in 1263 with Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, heading the army against the king's tyranny. Henry had to sign a treaty, Simon became the ruler of England and on the 20th of January 1265 Simon de Montfort convened the first Parliament with barons and clergymen.

The son of Henry III, Edward, led the army to meet Montfort, won and killed Montfort. Neither Henry III nor Edward I could disestablish the Parliament, though there were no knights or citizens in the Parliament yet. No tax was to be raised by the king without the Parliament.

Only in 1295 Edward had to include the wider representation. Later in the 14th century the Parliament divided into the House of Lords and the House of Commons. In the 13th century a new class was born

Tasks for the text "The Great Charter and the Beginning of Parliament"

I. Learn to read the following words:

Henry II Plantagenet; Richard the Lion Heart; John the Lackland; Magna Carta; Simon de Montfort; barons; clergymen; villainage.

II. Translate the following words and word combinations using a dictionary:

Crusades; to get into captivity; to pay somebody's ransom; to cancel the right; to impose taxes; to convene the parliament.

III. Fill in the empty spaces with the suitable words. Use the words from exercise II.:

1. The weather was awful and we made up our minds to ... our trip to the mountains.

2. These rare species of mammals don't survive, if they.........and have to change their habits.

3. After a long summer vacation the parliament was ... again.

4. The government spoke of the crisis in the country and explained why it had to ... high ....

5. "I feel that I can't leave the job. It's my... to help and cure sick people," said the young man.

6. The kidnappers demanded that the parents paid ... on time.

IV. Use the words from exercise II. in a situation of your own.

V. Say it in English:

Ограничить власть короля; крестовые походы против мусульман; подписать Хартию Вольностей; документ феодальных прав и свобод; контролировать частную собственность и свободу; крепостное право вымерло; совет старейшин; разогнать парламент; созвать парламент; стал правителем; идея, связанная с владением землей, свободные крестьяне; крепостные.

VI. Answer the following questions:

1. What was the name of a new dynasty of kings? When did this dynasty begin?

2. Was the church strong or weak at that time? Prove your point of view.

3. Which of the English kings took part in the crusades?

4. During whose reign was the Great Charter signed? When and why was it signed?

5. What is the main idea of the Great Charter?

6. Who came to the throne next? What happened during his reign?

7. When did the civil war begin and who headed it?

8. When was the first parliament convened? Who was it represented by?

9. Since when was the representation undisturbed?

10. When was the parliament divided into two houses?

Britain in the XIII-XVth Centuries

In the XIIIth century a new class was born - a class of gentry - new nobles, small landowners - knights who were not very grand; or rich free craftsmen, citizens or wealthy peasants could be knighted (yeomen). The idea of commutation arose, exchange of villain labour for money payment. The landowners could hire wage labourers. The big landowners began to seize common lands. Peasants fled to towns.

The Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) was a series of usual medieval wars of conquest held between England and France with considerations of trade, for the wool market of Flanders and the wine of Gascony. England lost the Hundred Years' War and Britain had no market for wool. That's why wool cloth industry began to develop in Britain.

In 1381 Wat Tyler's uprising took place against the poll tax, when Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and John Ball led the army of peasants from Essex, Kent and East Anglia to London. After this rebellion villainage was abolished.

After the defeat in the Hundred Years' War rich landowners returned home and took part in the fight for power and influence over the royal treasury. They divided into two hostile groups: one supporting the House of Lancaster with a red rose in their coat-of-arms, the other - The House of York with a white rose in theirs. A civil war began (1455-1485), the "War of the

Roses". The losses on both sides were great. Henry VII Tudor, earl of Richmond, finished this war and the Tudor dynasty was established (1485-1603). Henry VII was from the Lancaster House. His marriage with Elizabeth of York put an end to the war. Since that time there has been a red rose in the national emblem of England.

Absolutism was established: absolute royal power and a centralized state Old aristocracy was exterminated. Bourgeoisie and the new nobility supported the Tudor absolutism. The profound political reaction began.

Tasks for the text "Britain in the XUI-XV-th Centuries"

I. Answer the following questions:

1. What new class (or classes) appeared in the XVI-th century?

2. What changes can we observe in the village life?

3. When did the Hundred Years' war take place? What were its causes and results?

4. After what event was villainage abolished in England?

5. Why did the "War of the Roses" begin?

6. When was it? Who won this war? Who became a new king?

7. What outstanding people of the XVI-XV-th centuries do you know?

II. Make reports on the following topics:

1. The Hundred Years' War.

2. The War of the Roses.

3. Wat Tyler's uprising.

Tudor Absolutism. The Beginning of Capitalist Development

New nobles, landowners, went on enclosing common lands for sheep rearing. More peasants left for towns, where wool cloth industry developed.

After the death of Henry VII his son Henry VIII also leaned upon new nobles, gentry, yeomentry, free-holders and bourgeoisie. The parliament was very obedient.

England was a Christian country and the influence of the Pope was great and this monopoly was not pleasant for the absolute monarchy as well as the fact that all the wealth had to go to the church.

Henry VIII (1491-1547), king of England (1509-47) had no son from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; he divorced his first wife and married Anne Boleyn, in 1533. This was not approved by the Pope, but Henry VIII broke with Rome and announced himself head of the church by the Act of Supremacy made by the Parliament. Later Anne Boleyn was executed (1536) and Henry married Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. Monasteries were suppressed and their lands were confiscated. The crown sold all these lands to new nobles and bourgeoisie, who were interested in the Reformation.

Reformation was a religious and political movement of 16th century Europe that began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the establishment of the Protestant Church.

The English Reformation was introduced not because of religious considerations but because of the king's enrichment. The Anglican Church became the state church and the faith became compulsory. The church did not become cheaper, there were no changes in the doctrine.

Some protestants wanted to purify The Church of England of most of its ceremony and other aspects which they believed to be Catholic. These protestants were called puritans. A lot of protestants and puritans were persecuted when they wished to go too far.

During the time of absolutism free peasants became poor and turned into beggars. Some bloody laws against beggars were adopted as poverty was a crime. These people became wool cloth industry workers and miners.

After the death of Henry VIII his son Edward VI was on the throne, but he died soon. There appeared a 9-days' queen - Lady Jane Grey - as protestants tried to make her their queen. But Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned and later executed.

Henry VIII had two daughters. Mary I (1516-58), queen of England (1553-58) was the daughter of Catherine of Aragon. She tried to restore Catholicism and 300 hundred of Protestants were burnt at the stake as heretics. That's why she is known as Bloody Mary. Mary made a mistake by marrying the king of Spain Philip II, the English enemy at that time. England was therefore envolved in a war against France.

Elizabeth I (1533-1603), queen of England (1558-1603) was the daughter of Anne Boleyn. Her reign was notable for commercial growth, maritime expansion, and the flourishing of literature, music and architecture. Elizabeth put an end to Catholic plots. Catholics in England thought that Elizabeth's cousin - Mary Stuart - Queen of Scots, was the legitimate heiress, not Elizabeth. When protestants raised a rebellion against Mary in Scotland she came to Elizabeth and was imprisoned and executed finally.

Elizabeth was a cunning politician. She created a powerful fleet. Elizabeth supported pirates; she bought a share in slave trade. Elizabeth destroyed the Invincible Armada of Spain in the war of 1587-1604.

The XVI century is known as the English Renaissance when a human being, the beauty and the joy of this life were in the centre of attention. Its representatives were: Sir Christopher Wren, Inigo Jones, Hans Holbein, Van Dyck, Rubens, Thomas More, Edmund Spencer, Philip Sidney, Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, Fransis Bacon and William Shakespeare.

Tasks for the text "Tudor Absolutism. The Beginning of Capitalist Development"

I. Learn to pronounce the following words and word combinations:

Bourgeoisie; yeomentry; Catherine of Aragon; Anne Boleyn; Jane Seymour; Anne of Cleves; Catherine Howard; Catherine Parr; Christianity; Catholicism; catholics; heretics; Bloody Mary; protestants; the Invincible Armada; Reformation; puritans.

II. Read and translate the following words and word combinations:

Obedient; to divorce somebody; was not approved by the Pope; announced himself head of the state; to be executed; religious considerations; to be persecuted; to adopt bloody laws against beggars; poverty was a crime; to be notable for maritime expansion; a legitimate heiress.

III. Recollect the situations from the text where the words from exercise II. were used and reproduce them.

IV. Answer the following questions:

1 What were the important classes in the XVT-th century during the reign of Henry VII and Henry VIII?

2. What does the word "absolutism" mean? What are its features? When was it established in Britain?

3. Why did Henry VIII have 6 wives? Was it allowed to divorce at that time?

4. Did Rome and the Pope approve of the king's divorce? What was his reaction?

5. What happened to monasteries and their lands? Why?

6. What did the English Reformation mean?

7. What is the name of the English church today?

8. Who were "puritans" and what was their role in the history of religion?

9. Who were king Henry VIII's successors on the throne?

10. What do you know about Henry's children?

11. What was queen Elizabeth I famous for?

12. Why is the period of her reign called "The English Renaissance"?

V. Explain in English the meaning of the following words:

An absolute monarchy; Reformation; Renaissance; the Anglican Church; puritans; catholics; protestants; a 9-days' queen; the Invincible Armada.

VI. Make reports on one of the following topics:

1. "Weddings and beheadings", the life story of king Henry VIII.

2. Mary, Queen of Scots, and the plots connected with her.

3. The English Renaissance and its representatives.

VII. Think and say what events from the Russian history the period of the English Reformation reminds you of. Can you compare the English politicians of that time with any politicians from the Russian history?

The Bourgeois Revolution in England in the XVII"th Century

In the XVII century in the agrarian England new industries developed: shipbuilding, metallurgy, coal-mining. But capitalist development was stopped by the Tudor government system of monopolies.

There were several religious sects of puritans who played an important role in the bourgeois revolution: puritans nicknamed "roundheads", supporters of Parliament against Charles I; Presbyterians, those who wanted the church to be governed by aldermen, i.e. presbyters; and independents who wanted no centralization and wanted independence of religious organizations.

In 1603 Elizabeth I died and James I became a king (1603-1625). He ignored the interests of merchants and an opposition was formed against James I in the Parliament and during the reign of his son Charles I (1625-1642) this opposition reached its climax.

In 1628 the king needed money badly and had to sign the Petition of Right suggested by the Parliament. But as soon as he got his money he dismissed the Parliament in 1629 and didn't summon it for 11 years and imprisoned some of the leaders of the opposition. Many puritans were persecuted during the 11 years of no Parliament and emigrated to America.

In 1640 Charles I had to convene the Parliament again because he didn't know where to get more money to pay after a Scottish rebellion. The so-called Short Parliament was convened, but it lasted only 3 weeks because the opposition was very strong. Soon Charles I convened the Long Parliament (1640-1653).

The new Parliament took up the course of the bourgeois revolution. The first period of the revolution 1640-1642 led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy - the constitutional period of the revolution.

During the following elections puritans got the majority in the Parliament. The king's advisers were sentenced to death. All monopoly patents and privileges were cancelled. The puritans' moral norms were made uppermost, the Presbyterian church was declared obligatory all over England. Theatres, dances were not allowed.

A rebellion in Ireland began. Both puritans and royalists (supporters of the monarch) wanted to suppress the rebellion. But puritans didn't want the king to control the army. So, Charles I left for the Northern counties where he headed an army. The Parliament gathered an army, too. The second period of the revolution was a period of civil wars (1642-1649).

England was devided into two hostile camps: royalists (or cavaliers) were popular in the North, the West and Southwest; puritans (or roundheads) - in the industrial centres of the North and Midlands. The new nobles, bourgeoisie, and the gentry and the yeomentry were the roundheads; the feudal aristocracy and the high Anglican clergy gathered round the king. The Parliament army was well organized and supplied. The whole of London was on the side of the Parliament army.

At first the Parliament army lost through lack of military experience and desire of compromise with the king. This army was headed by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). He came of a gentry puritan family, was well known as a talented military organizer. His army defeated the royalists at Naseby and the king fled to the Scottish army. The king was handed over to the Parliament by the Scotts and executed before a crowd of people on the 30th of January, 1649.

After this the House of Lords was abolished and England became a Republic, but the aristocratic landownership remained.

In the third period of the revolution (1649-1653) the republic triumphed over the feudal absolute monarchy. In 1649-1652 Cromwell went to Ireland and massacred thousands of Irishmen. The Irish land was given to the new aristocracy In 1651 Scotland was made a part of England.

The bourgeoisie was frightened by the growth of the people's activity and in 1653 the Long Parliament was dissolved; England was ruled by a council of officers who established military dictatorship and Cromwell was declared its Lord-Protector. The establishment of Protectorate was the end of the revolution. The bourgeoisie wanted monarchy back and offered Cromwell the crown. Cromwell refused.

In 1658 Cromwell died. The Parliament decided that power was to belong to the king, the Lords and the Commons. In May, 1660, Charles II was crowned, the monarchy restored. The Restoration period lasted until 1688. Puritans were persecuted, lands returned to their owners.

In the 70s of the XVIIth century two parties were formed which were to struggle for power for two centuries: the tories and the whigs. The tories, the biggest landowners and Anglican clergy, stood for strong royal power. (The name "tory" means "thief in Celtic language). The whigs, the City merchants, bourgeois landowners, were for limiting the power of the crown. (The name "whig" means "cabman").

In 1685 Charles II died and an invitation was sent to William of Orange, the Netherland ruler, by opponents of James II. In 1689 William and Mary, the daughter of James II, were offered the throne. The easy and bloodless change was called "the glorious revolution".

So, the supreme power belonged to the Parliament, the House of Lords was very important again, the king was obedient. England was no longer feudal monarchy, but bourgeois monarchy.

Tasks for the text "The Bourgeois Revolution in England in the XVII-th Century"

I. Make a plan for the text.

II. Answer the following questions:

1. What prevented the development of capitalism in England?

2. What religious sects were there in England before the revolution and after the Reformation?

3. What role did they play in the revolution?

4. What did the persecuted puritans have to do?

5. When were the short and the long parliaments convened and by who?

6. How long did the first period of the revolution last? What was achieved?

7. Why did the civil wars begin? What was the pretext?

8. What camps was the country divided into?

9. Who was winning at first?

10. Who headed the puritans' army?

11. When was the period of the civil wars over?

12. When was the king executed?

13. When did the Independents' republic triumph?

14. When was Cromwell's Protectorate established? How long did it last?

15. What happened after Cromwell's death?

16. When was the monarchy restored?

17. How long did the restoration last?

18. Who was the king after Charles II?

19. Whom did the parliament invite and why?

III. Make reports on one of the following topics:

1. Oliver Cromwell and his life.

2. The Great Fire of London.

3. Geographical discoveries of the XVI-XVII-th centuries that made Britain rich.

IV. Arrange these ideas in a chronological order:

1. Civil wars when England was divided into two hostile camps: royalists and puritans.

2. The glorious revolution, a bloodless and easy way to change power, when William of Orange was offered the English throne.

3. The Long parliament was dissolved and Cromwell established a military dictatorship - Protectorate.

4. The execution of Charles I.

5. The constitutional (peaceful) period of the bourgeois revolution began when the Long parliament was convened which led to a constitutional monarchy.

6. England became a republic. It triumphed over the feudal absolute monarchy.

7. The restoration of the monarchy when Charles II was crowned, succeeded by James II.

V. What events do these dates refer to:

1640-1642; 1689; 1649:1660-1688; 1642-1649; 1653-1658; 1649-1653.

Match these dates to the sentences above.

VI. Give a definition of the following words:

Roundheads, Presbyterians, independents; the Short parliament, the Long parliament; cavaliers; levellers, diggers; lord-protector, protectorate; the Black Death; the tories, the whigs; the "glorious" revolution.

Britain in the XVIIIth Century

The XVIIIth century saw the making of the British Empire. England entered the period of active capitalist progress and was the first country in Europe to do so. In the middle of the XVIIIth century the industrial revolution began in England. It lasted till the middle of the XIXth century.

The main political and commercial rival of England in the XVIIIth century was France. England defeated France and got Gibraltar, Minorca, Newfoundland and the Hudson Bay Territory in America. The French and the English fought each other for their colonies in America and the English won finally.

In the XVIIIth century India came under British supremacy (1763) and passed to the British Crown in 1858. Ireland was conquered by England in the XVIth and early XVIIth centuries and ruled as a dependency until 1801, when it was united with Great Britain. The English and the Scottish parliaments united under one monarch in 1707. Since then the title Great Britain appeared and Union Jack became the national flag of Great Britain. This flag is composed of three crosses: St. George's Cross (England), Saint Andrew's Cross (Scotland) and Saint Patrick's Cross (Ireland).

Colonies became markets for goods and sources of cheap raw materials. Colonial officials made huge fortunes, became lords and M.P.s, made wonderful careers.

England took part in the Seven Years' war (1756-1763), resulting from commercial and colonial rivalry between Britain and France and from the conflict in Germany, and held between Britain and Prussia. The Paris Peace treaty of 1763 gave the whole of Canada, French West Indian islands, India to England.

Tasks for the text "Britain in the XVIII-th Century"

I. Make a plan for the text.

II. Answer the following questions:

1. When did the British Empire appear?

2. What is known as the period of the industrial revolution?

3. What country became the first English colony?

4. What other countries did Britain acquire in the XVIII-th century?

5. After what event did Union Jack appear? What does it consist of?

6. Why was Britain interested in colonies?

7. What is an M.P.?

8. What wars did Britain take part in and who was its main rival? What advantages did Britain have?

III. 1760 is the beginning of the industrial capitalism. A lot of money came from colonies and it was used to sponsor new discoveries, the building of roads, canals. The great achievements of the first fase (to 1830) were the inventions made by: John Kay; James Watt; Sir Richard Arkwright; Samuel Crompton; John McAdam; Richard Trevithick; George Stephenson.

Find out what contributions these people made for the welfare of the humanity.

IV. The XVIII-th century saw a philosophical movement called "Enlightenment". It stressed the importance of reason and critical view of existing ideas and social institutions. The following outstanding people worked during this epoch: Jonathan Swift; Henry Filding; Daniel Defo; Robert Burns; William Hogarth; Joshua Reynolds; Thomas Gainsborough; Samuel Johnson; David Garrick.

Find out what these people are famous for and make reports about them.

British Capitalism in the XIXth Century

At the end of the XVIIIth century the world saw the French revolution (1789- 1799). In 1793 Great Britain joins some countries (Russia, Turkey, Prussia) in wars against France. In 1793-1815 Great Britain took part in 6 different coalitions against France in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1804-05 England was in danger but due to Kutuzov's and Nelson's victories England was not attacked. In 1805 admiral Horatio Nelson defeated the French and Spanish fleets off Cape Trafalgar, but the admiral was mortally wounded himself. In 1815 the British army headed by the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo completely. And the Duke of Wellington became the most influential man in Europe in the XIXth century. After the Vienna Congress England got Malta and other territories in the Mediterranean sea, Mauritius, Ceylon.

At the beginning of the XIXth century the structure of the House of Commons remained the same as it had been in feudal centuries. But bourgeoisie wanted to get more power. Lots of industrial centres didn't have any representatives in the parliament and some little villages – did (the so-called rotten boroughs). The whig government carried out the Reform Act in 1832. Now bourgeoisie had more rights. It was an important step towards democracy.

In 1838-1850 there was a radical democratic movement of the working classes in Britain -Chartism. Its name comes from The People's Charter, a program with 6 points (universal manhood suffrage; equal electoral districts; annual parliaments; voting by ballot; the abolition of property qualifications for MPs; payment of MPs). Five of these points were realized in the following years.

The second half of the XIXth century is known as the golden age of capitalism. Britain began to export machinery. It became the world's workshop. On May, 1, 1851, the Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all nations opened in London. It reflected the country's triumph in industry. The exhibition was housed in one of the 'wonders' of the age - Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace, which fell to pieces in 1932.

In 1852-53 Burma was captured. After opium wars for China in 1840-42 and 1856-60 China loses independence, Hong Kong was captured, too. Australia and New Zealand were made into colonies. In 1882 Britain invaded Egypt, in 1897 - Sudan. In 1899-1902 there was the Boer war when the Orange Free State and Transvaal declared war on Britain and were captured.

Tasks for the text "British Capitalism in the XlX-th Century"

I. Make a plan for the text.

II. Answer the following questions:

1. When did Britain take part in different coalitions against France? Why?

2. What famous English military leaders can you name?

3. Who is called the most influential man of the XlX-th century and why?

4. What territories became British colonies in the XlX-th century and when?

5. Why was it necessary to change the structure of the parliament in the XlX-th century? How was it done?

6. What were the two main political parties (ever since the bourgeois revolution)? Do you remember the etymology of these words?

7. What do you know about Chartism?

8. Why is the second half of the century called "the golden age of capitalism"?

III. Make the right choice:

1. The first British colony was:

a) India

b) Ireland

c) the USA

2. Union Jack became the national flag of Britain after:

a) the bourgeois revolution

b) Scotland joined England

c) Ireland became a part of Great Britain

3. The XVIII-th century was:

a) the golden age of capitalism

b) an epoch of enlightenment and elegance

c) the time of great political changes

4. During the Napoleonic wars England took part in:

a) 4 coalitions

b) no coalitions

c) 6 coalitions

5. Admiral Nelson was mortally wounded in the battle of:

a) Waterloo

b) Trafalgar

c) Gibraltar

6. What countries were not captured in the XlX-th century:

a) Sudan

b) Hong Kong

c) Burma

d) Gibraltar

e) India

7. Chartism was:

a) a radical movement towards democracy

b) a revolt against unemployment

c) a revolt against a colonial policy

Britain in the XX-th Century

After 1900 Britain's commercial and colonial rivalry with Germany led to her abandonment of her traditional isolationist policy, and to her entry into the system of alliances dividing Europe and into an armaments race. The working class demanded a higher standard of living and a Liberal government attempted to carry out some social reforms.

The First World War brought new problems. This war was called the Great War or the war to end wars (H.G. Wells). This war of 1914-18 was fought between the Allied Powers (the British Empire, France, Russia, Italy, the USA, Japan, Belgium, Serbia, Montenegro. Greece, Rumania, Portugal) and the Central European Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria). Three main conflicts went to produce the war. The first arose from the French desire to recover Alsace-Lorraine, and the struggle of French and German industrialists to control the iron of Lorrain and the coal of the Rurh. The second was caused by the desire of Russia to dominate the Balkans, and of Germany to do the same. The third lay in the colonial ambitions of the Powers, who had partitioned Africa and divided China into spheres of influence, and especially in the ambitions of Germany, which had been left behind. The powers were divided into 2 rival alliances: The Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy, formed in 1882, and the Triple Entente of Britain, France, and Russia, formed in 1895-1907. The final crisis was caused by the murder of the heir to the Austrian throne at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Austria made this an excuse to declare war on Serbia on July, 28. When Russia mobilized, Germany declared war on Russia and France, and invaded Belgium, whereupon on August 4 Britain declared war on Germany.

The German plan for quick victory failed. Everybody else's plans failed, too. In 1915 both sides made attempts to break through on the western front, with little result. The Germans used submarines to sink all ships (merchant-ships as well) found in British waters. The sinking of the Lusitania with many Americans on board aroused deep indignation in the USA. Very soon, in 1917, America joined the war. In march 1917 anti-war feeling led to the overthrow of the Russian monarchy. In November the Bolshevics took power, fighting ceased on the eastern front, and in March 1918 peace was signed at Brest Litovsk. The example of the Russian Revolution did much to strengthen the anti-war movement in Germany. A revolutionary feeling began to grow in Germany. In 1918 a revolution overthrew (he monarchy and the democratic Weimar republic was established. Peace with Germany was signed at Versailles on June 28,1919.

Almost 5 million men served in the British armed forces during the war. Almost a million British and Imperial troops were killed in the war and more than 1.5 million wounded. The role and the power of the government rose alter the war. The major sectors of the British economy were under government control. The war led to political and social changes. Women were imployed in industry and agriculture and many women served as nurses and support workers in the theatres of the war. Women over thirty got a right to vote. By 1923 the British Empire stood; at its largest extent with no serious rivals in Europe. But Britain was weakened, particularly in its debt to America.

In the 1920s and 1930s Britain experienced the Depression, the slump, which was tlic most severe economic downturn in the British economy. It caused mass unemployment, widespread shuttering and deprivation. During the grimmest phase, in 1933, following the Wall Street crash in US in 1929 the unemployment rose to 3 million (one in four of working population) and in the centres of traditional industries - Scotland, the North-East, south Wales - the unemployment reached as high as 80 per cent of the workforce. This economic depression arose from the dislocation at the world economy and the reduction in markets for the staple industries of coal, iron and steel, textiles; and shipbuilding, which had been the foundation of Britain's industrial and commercial prosperity. Unemployment began to fall after 1935 and rearmament in the late 1930s added to the recovery of employment.

World War II (1939-1945) was the worst and only truly global war in history, it was a number of wars which began for different reasons but ended together in 1945. The war in Europe had its immediate origins in the attempts under Adolf Hitler to reverse Germany's defeat in World War I and to establish a German empire over Europe (and possibly the world). The war was held between the United Nations headed by Britain, the U.S.A., the U.S.S.R., France and China, on the one side, and the Axis powers, Nazi Germany under Hitler, Fascist Italy under Mussolini, and Japan under Hirohito, on the other. On the first of September 1939 Germany invaded Poland and two days later Britain and France declared war. In 1939-1940 Germany invaded Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. On the 10th of May Churchill became prime minister. In June Italy declared war on France and Britain, and France accepted German occupation of northern France. In 1940-1941 Britain fought alone. From August till October the Battle of Britain raged as the Luftwaffe launched their mass daylight raids. When it ended they had lost nearly 2000 aircraft destroyed in daylight. Night raids followed directed first against London, and then against such provincial cities as Coventry, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Plymouth and Glasgow. After their heavy losses the Germans had to cancel their plans to invade Britain (the so-called Sealion operation).

In 1941 Russia and the U.S.A. entered the war. On the 22nd of June Germany attacked Russia. The eastern front saw the heaviest and most barbaric land fighting of the war, occupying two-thirds of all the German armed forces. And on the 7th of December Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbour. The linking of the European war with that in Asia transformed World War II into a global conflict.

In 1941- 1943 Britain's main naval campaign was the Battle of the Atlantic against German submarine warfare, and its main land campaign was in North Africa to prevent Field Marshal Rommel capturing Suez. In 1943 the last Axis forces in Africa surrendered.

It became clear that the Axis couldn't win a long war. The advantage now lay with the Allies. Churchill and the American president Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed a policy of defeating Germany before Japan, and together with Stalin as the 'Big Three' co-ordinated strategy in a number of conferences throughout the war. The turning point for Hitler in the west was the defeat in North Africa. The turning point in the east came with the surrender of German forces at Stalingrad in 1943.

On 6 June 1944 (D-Day) the Allies opened their long-awaited Second Front in Normandy, the start of the liberation of France. In March 1945 the Allies forced the Rhine, and in April Soviet troops readied Berlin, linking, with American troops at Torgau. German forces surrendered in Italy on 2 May and in Germany on 7 May, with the following day proclaimed as the VE Day (Victory in Europe). Japan surrendered on 14 August 1945 (VJ-Day - Victory over Japan).

Total British and Imperial war dead were under half a million, of which only 144,000 were British soldiers. In contrast the Soviet Union lost 20 million dead (or more) and the total on all sides was nearly 60 million. The war produced major social and democratizing changes, gave hopes for a better post-war world. For example there appeared a policy of nationalization of coal, steel, health service, etc. India was given independence in 1947, Nigeria in I960, then Sierra Leone in 1961, and the process continued.

In the mid-1940s the Cold War began, a period of tension between the Soviet-dominated Communist bloc and the West which lasted to the late 1980s. The Cold War began in Europe with disagreements between the wartime allies - Britain, The United States and the Soviet Union over the division and future of Germany and the nature of the regimes imposed on eastern Europe by the Soviet Union. In March 1946 Churchill made a speech describing an 'Iron curtain' across Europe. Ideological differences between the Communist East and a capitalist west sharpened with the Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948-49, the communist takeover in Czechoslovakia in 1948, and with western support for non-communist forces. In 1949 Nato was formed, of which Britain was a founder member. Another military alliance was concluded by the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. International politics became dominated by the ideological contest between the superpowers for influence. The Cold War reached its maximum intensity during the Cuban missiles crisis of 1962. A new period of tension was in the late 1970s when the Soviet Union intervened in Afganistan. In 1985 a rapid thaw in East-West relations began and Communist regimes collapsed in eastern Europe. In 1989 leading Presidents Bush and Gorbachev declared the Cold War at an end.

Tasks for the text "Britain in the XX-th Century"

I. Make a plan for the text.

II. Give a definition of the following expressions:

"The war to end wars"; the Triple Alliance; the Triple Entente; Lusitania; the Depression; the United Nations; the Axis powers; the Sealion operation; the Battle of the Atlantic; the 'Big Three'; D-Day; VE-Day; VJ-Day; the Cold war; the Iron curtain.

III. Answer the following questions:

1. What were the reasons for the First World War?

2. What rival groups was the world divided into?

3. What was the pretext to start the war?

4. How long did the war last?

5. When and why did America join the war?

6. When was the peace treaty signed?

7. What was Britain's contribution during the First World War?

8. What were the results of this war?

9. How did Britain live through the years of depression?

10. What were the reasons for World War II and what was the pretext?

11. Who was the Prime Minister of Britain at that time? Who were the leaders of Russia, America, Germany, Italy, Japan?

12. How did other countries join the war (Russia, America, France, etc.)?

13. Was Britain ever attacked by Nazi Germany?

14. Is the British role in this war important? Prove it.

15. When and where was the Second Front open? Why?

16. When was the war over?

17. What results did the war bring?

18. What do you know about the Cold War?

19. What military alliances were formed after World War II? When and why?

20. When did the Cold war reach its most intensity?

21. Why was there tension between the West and the East in the 1970-s?

22. When did Communist regimes collapse and when was the end of the Cold War announced?


Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy. The structure of the state power consists of: 1) the legislative power executed by a) the parliament; b) the monarchy. 2) The executive power fulfilled by the monarchy; the government; the cabinet of ministers, civil service, army, police, local councils; 3) the judiciary power.

There is no written constitution in Great Britain. The constitution is often described as mixed, because it comes from a mixture of laws, traditions, and customs begun over hundred years ago; not only the Commons, but also the monarchy and the lords have a part to play in Parliament.

The Parliament sits in Westminster palace (the Houses of Parliament) built by architect Charles Barry.

When people refer to PARLIAMENT, they often mean the House of Commons. The Commons is the most powerful institution in the country. Since laws are debated and made here it is known as legislature. The head of the House of Commons is the Speaker who gives up all party loyalties. The House of Commons begins its work 2.30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and at 9.30 a.m. on Friday and is open till late at night At 10 p.m. MPs vote. There are 659 members of the House of Commons at present. One member represents one constituency in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is elected for five years. Everyone of the age of 18 or over has the right to vote or to belong to any party. Although there is no limit to the number of political parties, in effect Britain has a two-party system of government, since most people vote either Conservative or Labour. M.P.s are of any background or profession but tend to be upper class if Conservative and working class if Labour.

The party that wins the most seats in a general election forms the government and the leader of this party becomes Prime Minister, the head of the government. Officially, the crown still appoints the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister takes policy decisions with the agreement of his Cabinet. He holds Cabinet meetings at his house at number 10 Downing Street. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are called the executive since they are responsible for running of the government. Members of the Cabinet are normally members of Parliament chosen for their abilities and all belong to the same party. They act as one. It is called collective responsibility. Thus, if a minister is attacked in Parliament the government as a whole is being criticized.

The word 'parliament' means 'discussion'. A debate in the House of Commons starts with a motion. If approved by the House, the Speaker then puts the motion in the form of a question. 'The question is that this House... ' Members speak for and against the motion and take a vote. The formal process of voting is called a division. Division bells ring in all corners of the building summoning Members to the lobbies. To express their votes, they must file through one of the two division lobbies labelled 'Ayes' (for) or 'Noes' (against) situated at either side of the chamber; a simple majority decides the issue.

The House of Lords comprises 92 hereditary peers, 500 life peers and the spiritual peers- the 2 archbishops and 24 of the bishops. The Lords are presided over by the Lord- Chancellor. The House of Lords may delay a bill passed by the Commons for a limited period but not reject it.

No bill which a minister prepares can become law until it is passed by an Act of Parliament. Bills can be introduced to either House. But all important bills are presented to the House of Commons first. Here they are explained and debated. If they receive a majority vote, they go to the House of Lords. The House of Lords in turn debates and criticizes them. It sometimes suggests changes, but it rarely votes against the government. They must pass the bill if it is presented a second time. Finally the bills are taken by the prime minister to the Queen, who always signs them. The Queen never makes any decision of her own, although she is the legal head of the state.

A Parliament lasts for five years and is divided up into annual sessions, beginning in the autumn after a long summer recess. Each session is opened by the Queen who makes a speech from the throne in the House of Lords.

Tasks for the text "The Structure of the State Power in Great Britain.

The British State System"

I. Make a plan for the text.

II. Translate the following word combinations:

A constitutional monarchy; the legislative , executive, judiciary powers; the most powerful institution; 10, Downing Street; to represent one constituency; to give up all party loyalties; debates start with a motion; to comprise hereditary peers, life peers and spiritual peers; Lord Chancellor; to delay a bill for a limited period of time; to reject a bill.

III. Recollect the situations from the text where the word combinations from exercise II. were used. Then reproduce them in class.

IV. Answer the following questions:

1. Is there a constitution in Britain?

2. Why is G.B. called a constitutional monarchy?

3. What does the structure of the state power consist of?

4. Who are the legislative , executive, judiciary powers executed by?

5. What is the constitution like?

6. Where is the Parliament situated?

7. Who is the architect?

8. What houses does the parliament include?

9. Which of the two houses is more important?

10. Who is the head of each of the houses?

11. How many M.P.s are there and whom do they represent?

12. When does the parliament work?

13. What are the main political parties?

14. Who becomes a prime minister? What other facts do you know about him/her? Who is the Prime Minister today?

15. What is the "collective responsibility"?

16. In what manner do M.P.s take a vote?

17. Who does the House of Lords comprise?

18. How does a bill become a law?

19. A parliament lasts four years, doesn't it?

V. Compare the structures of the state powers in Britain and in Russia.


The monarchy is the oldest institution of government in Britain going back to at least the 9th century. For centuries the monarch exercised supreme executive, legislative and judicial power in person. This declined with the development of Parliament. By the end of the 19th century, the monarch's active role in politics had become minimal.

Functions of the monarch.

1. The Queen is the head of the state. The Queen came to the throne in 1952, then she reigned over 50 dependencies. Most are now independent members of the Commonwealth, whose head is the Queen. Many members recognize her as head of State.

2. The Queen summons, discontinues and dissolves Parliament (at the request of the Prime Minister). She opens the new session with a speech from the throne which outlines the Government's program.

3. She makes appointments to many important state offices: the Prime Minister (if the winning party has no leader, the Queen can select a Prime Minister); ministers; judges; ambassadors.

4. As Commander-in-Chief of the armed services she appoints officers. As Supreme Governor of the established Church she makes appointments to the bishoprics.

5. She has the power to conclude treaties, to declare war, to make peace, to recognize foreign states and governments.

6. As the 'fountain of honour' she confers peerages, knighthoods and other honours on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

7. She can show pardon and mercy to criminals on ministerial advice.

8. Every Bill which has passed all its stages in both Houses of Parliament must receive the Royal Assent.

The Queen has an audience with the Prime Minister once a week when she is in London. So, the Sovereign has the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn.

There are 5 occupied royal palaces: Buckingham Palace (the London residence since Queen Victoria), Windsor Castle, St. James's Palace, Kensington Palace, the Palace of Holyrood-house in Edinburgh. The 3 'historic' palaces are: the Tower, Hampton Court Palace, Kew Palace.

Her Majesty the Queen was born on April, 21, 1926 (but traditionally they celebrate her birthday in summer). She was the first child of King George VI. The present Royal family belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But because of the first world war it was decided to adopt the name Windsor. In 1947 she married Prince Philip (Mountbatten), the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1952 Princess Elizabeth came to the throne. Her title is: Elizabeth the Second, by Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

She has 4 children: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (born 1948); Princess Anne, the Princess Royal (born 1950); Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (born 1960); Prince Edward (born 1964); and 6 grandchildren.

Each year the Queen undertakes at least two overseas tours. She is an owner and breeder of horses and often goes to race meetings, including the Derby in Epsom and the summer race meeting at Ascot.

Tasks for the text "Monarchy"

I. Translate into Russian:

A supreme goddess (being; court); the decline of the Roman Empire; declining years; to capture the dependency of the empire; to summon all the delegates to a congress; to dissolve the parliament (an assembly); to dissolve a marriage; to recognize somebody as a sovereign; to outline the size of the precincts; to be appointed to the post of an ambassador; the established church; to establish a custom (a belief, some practice); to conclude talks; a permanent treaty; to declare peace (a dividend); to confer a title; to give a sign of assent; to encourage a child; a realm of beauty.

II. Give a synonym to:

- to call upon to appear, to call together to a meeting;

- to know smb./smth. again; identify; realize;

- to set up; to consolidate; to settle; to achieve acceptance;

- to bring or to come to an end;

- greatest; most important; highest in rank;

- a country or province controlled by another;

- to lose strength; decrease; deteriorate;

- to draw or describe a plan, a proposal, a diagram;

- an agreement between states;

- announce openly or formally;

- to grant; to bestow; to give a title, a degree, a favour;

- to give hope to; to stimulate by help;

- a kingdom; a domain;

- mental acceptance or agreement;

- assign a post or office to; to prescribe;

- to disappear or cause to disappear; dismiss; put an end to;

III. Answer the following questions:

1. How old is the British monarchy?

2. What or who caused the kings to give up their power?

3. What is the queen?

4. When the queen came to the throne, where did she reign?

5. What are the functions of the queen?

6. Can the queen dissolve or summon the parliament herself? (appoint a Prime Minister)?

7. In what cases can the queen appoint the prime minister?

8. What's the queen's military title?

9. Who is the head of spiritual lords?

10. How often does the queen have an audience with the Prime Minister?

11. What happens to a bill, when it is passed by the parliament?

12. How many palaces does the royal family have?

13. What is the family name of the queen?

14. Can you translate the official title of the queen?

15. What is the queen's hobby?

16. What do you know about her family?

IV. Make reports on of the topics:

1. Members of the royal family.

2. Princess Diana, a legendary princess.

Краткое описание документа:

Пособие «Страноведение Великобритании» рассчитан на учащихся, которые уже владеют умениями и навыками устной и письменной англоязычной речи, а также чтения и аудирования согласно программе средней школы.

Пособие было составлено для учащихся 10  классов школ с углублённым изучением английского языка и рассчитано на 32 часа в 10 классе.


- способствует культуроведческому обогащению учащихся;

- помогает глубже понять и оценить культуру родной страны;

- готовит школьников к восприятию культуры другого народа и участию в межкультурной коммуникации.

Это пособие может помочь учащимся углубить знания не только по истории, географии, общественно-политической жизни страны изучаемого языка, а также по культуре, искусству и религии; обогатить  знаниями, необходимыми для развития у учащихся умения ориентироваться в межкультурном общении. «Страноведение Великобритании» обобщает и систематизирует знания о стране изучаемого языка, полученные в процессе обучения другим предметам.  Это способствует повышению познавательной активности школьников, расширению их коммуникативных возможностей, активизации и развитию речевых навыков и способностей, созданию положительных мотиваций.

Общая информация

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