Who do you think are most significant British historical figures of all time? A brilliant scientist, a powerful monarch… Is the pen truly mightier than the sword? The discussion is bound to continue for a long time to come, but here are some of the favourites from the London Pass team.
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Whatever the character Malvolio from Twelfth Night may have said, the playwright, author and poet is widely considered to be the greatest writer in the English language.
Learn more at the Globe Theatre
The longest-reigning British monarch before Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria presided over a period of intense innovation and development, which shaped the modern world to an remarkable degree. Her nine children and 42 grandchildren have married into royal families across the continent, earning her the nickname “grandmother of Europe”.
Learn more at Kensington Palace
A naturalist, geologist and biologist, Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution, published in his book “On the Origin of the Species”. It remains the best available scientific theory about how we have come to be and has had a huge influence on politics and society in the two hundred years since it was published.
Learn more at Westminster Abbey
Known as The Lady with the Lamp from her time nursing soldiers during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale led efforts to formalise the training of nurses and to improve care for patients. She is arguably the founder of modern nursing and also a significant social reformer, due to her role in introducing nursing to poorhouse infirmaries.
Learn more at Florence Nightingale Museum
“The day may dawn when fair play, love for one’s fellow-men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.” Prime Minister of the UK from 1940-5 and 1951-5, Winston Churchill remains best-known for his part in the British war efforts during WW2. Did you know that he also won the the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, for “mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”?
Learn more at the Churchill War Rooms
The second Tudor monarch was famous for his six marriages and for starting the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from the control of the Pope. He was also well-known for having a 52-inch waist, playing tennis and taking huge amounts of money from the dissolved monasteries.
Learn more at Hampton Court Palace
Daughter of King Henry VIII, the Virgin Queen of England and Ireland, and last of the Tudors. Elizabeth presided over a golden age of exploration and culture. However, when she was 21, her older sister Queen Mary I had her imprisoned in the Tower of London for a year!
Learn more at the Tower of London
Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Oliver Twist, the Artful Dodger, Pip, Miss Havisham, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, Samuel Pickwick… The famous author created fictional characters that are known around the world 200 years after his death and stories that provide a vivid insight into Victorian life.
Learn more at Charles Dickens Museum
Few architects have had more influence on the London skyline than Sir Christopher. Responsible for 51 city churches and his masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral, he had a key role in the rebuilding efforts following the Great Fire of London in 1666. Sir Christopher also founded the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence in the world and publisher of works ranging from Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica to Chadwick’s detection of the neutron that lead to the unleashing of the atom. Fellows of the Society have included Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee – many of them British historical figures in their own right.
Learn more at St. Paul’s Cathedral
Professional footballer, captain of West Ham United and captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup in London. An icon to generations of English football fans who continue to hope that ‘football’s coming home’.
Learn more at Wembley Stadium
May 3, 2018 by Leisure Pass Blogger
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