There are ten British icons that have become the top global symbols of this country. They all remind us, residents and tourists alike, that Britain is unique place that has been the melting pot for many cultures over thousands of years. A place where tradition is cherished, innovation is admired and eccentricity is accepted. Here are the top ten British icons with a twist. They are all bright red!
The red telephone box design was accepted as a result of competition in 1924 and the first started appearing on streets of London in 1926. Red Telephone Box can still be seen on the streets of the UK, Malta and Gibraltar. The kiosk has become a great British Icon that some companies have started producing flat pack replicas for general sale.
The Union Jack. In 1603, Scotland and England were united for the first time under a common monarch, King James I. To represent this union a new flag was created, a combination of the English flag of Saint George – a red cross – and the Saint Andrew’s Cross of Scotland – a white saltire on a blue background. And thus the Union Jack was born. The Welsh are not represented in the design at all - a long standing grievance in that part of the world.
Routemaster Bus. The original red busses of London were introduced in 1958. Designed for the city they were distinctive double-deckers that quickly became a British icon. Although production ceased in 1968 they were still widely used up until 2005. Tourists to London often consider a ride on one of these vehicles a ‘must-do’ activity and can still use them on two heritage routes. Various societies exist to preserve these busses and many are now owned by private individuals.
The London Underground. One of the most recognised symbols in London is a red wheel bisected by a blue rectangle. It’s the sign of ‘The Underground’, a vast network of subterranean railway tunnels that connect almost every part of the city. As the oldest underground railway in the world it has a special place in transport history. Started in 1860, certain sections are still being extend today.
Guards at Buckingham Palace. The elite guards at Buckingham Palace are known as the (Royal) Household Division. They’re comprised of some of the best active soldiers in the world from seven elite British military regiments. Dark trousers, a red tunic and the famous bearskin headgear have become synonymous with precision, courage and discipline. The bearskin headgear was adopted from the Grenadier Guards who were granted permission to wear it after their victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The Red Pillar Mail Box. It’s generally accepted that the modern postal service was first invented and implemented in Britain. It should not be confused with advanced courier services that had already existed for thousands of years. The red pillar box was made from cast iron and introduced in 1852. More than 150 variations have been produced over the years and it quickly became an icon of Britain.