Wednesday, 9 December 2009

We're NOT England! 150 years ago...

One thing that really gets my goat as a displaced Ulsterman is when people refer to 'Britain' when they are in fact talking about the 'UK' - a good example being the recent Olympic team of GBR. I am constantly reminding people, whether they like it or not, that the 'UK' is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - which is not the same as Britain, Great Britain, or indeed the British Isles, all of which mean different things. Four British countries, lots of islands - and infinite grief when describing them!

Scots often get wound up by the same thing, when people talk about 'Britain' when what they really mean is 'England'. But this is nothing new, and Audrey Collins from the National Archives has discovered the proof! Audrey has found two items within HO 45/7928, part of the extensive collection of Home Office Registered Papers relating to Scotland held at Kew, which she has transcribed and placed online at the Your Archives site.

The first document is a protest from 1864 against the use of the word 'England' being imposed to describe the United Kingdom, which was 'dishonouring to the Scots', and signed by over three and half thousand bolshy bovver boys (probably from Edinburgh's Canongate!); the second is a reply written on behalf of Lord Palmerston (a Sasannach if I ever saw one, grrrr!!!!), quite happy with calling Britain 'England', but contradicting himself by also mentioning the UK at that stage included Ireland. ( brain is going wobbly!)

Nothing changes! The documents can be read at
A Protest against The Name England being imposed upon the United Kingdom.

So just to recap - we're NOT England, we're NOT North Britain and we're NEVER happy - we're SCOTLAND!!!! (OK, we're sometimes happy...!)

(Many thanks to Audrey!)

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Penny said...

Well written Cris. In Canada they always seem to get it confused. I'm new to your blog, but so far have really enjoyed what I have read. Penny

Ron Ferguson said...

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