This England: The Newsreel! 22 March 2019

 Big Ben reveals a new look, the countryside gets cool and a 104-year-old lady is arrested

On This Day: ‘People like to put you in a box. I’m afraid I don’t sit in a box’.

English composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who was born in London in 1948



A striking new style

‘Big Ben’ revealed a new look when part of the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster was revealed this week. Instead of the numerals and hands being black as they were previously, they have been painted in the clock face’s original colour scheme - a fetching shade of Prussian blue.


As reported by Jemma Crew in The Times, there are also plans afoot for the St George’s shields at the top of the clock face to be painted red and white for the first time since the 1930s. 


Big Ben of course is actually the name of the 13.7 tonne bell rather than the clock itself. It fell silent in August 2017 as part of a £61 million refurbishment project due to be completed in 2021.



Heading for the sticks


With their bright lights and promise of opportunity, England’s cities have exerted a pull on the young for hundreds of years. But it seems their allure is on the wane. According to research carried out by estate agent Hamptons International, the average age of those moving from the city to the country has dropped to a mere 37 years old - ten years younger than a decade ago.


Changing attitudes towards flexible working, combined with improved broadband access in rural areas are allowing people to move from cities without having to leave their jobs, reported George Odling for the Daily Mail on Monday… and also make the most of more affordable house prices.


England’s green and pleasant side has never been so trendy!



A penny for your thoughts


We’re used to seeing cyclists competing on racing and mountain bikes, but what about a penny farthing? 


This July, Richard Thoday from Derbyshire will attempt to break a world record set in Victorian times for the fastest ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats on the iconic bike. To succeed he’ll need to complete the epic journey in less than five days. The existing record was set during the summer of 1886 by Lt Colonel George Pilkington Mills and it’s still standing 133 years later.


Richard is certain (and we can understand why) that his record breaking attempt will capture the public’s imagination. Talking to the Daily Express he described the challenge as ‘quirky, historic, dramatic, pure and uniquely British’.


‘Penny farthings are a part of the British psyche’, he continued, ‘and hold a fascination with anyone who sees them. On a ride, I normally see dozens of photos being taken of me’!


Richard, we wish you the very best of luck.



Be careful what you wish for…

Anne Brokenbrow, a grandmother aged 104, had never been on the wrong side of the law. But when she revealed it was her greatest wish to be arrested she was duly handcuffed and bundled into a police car!


Mrs Brokenbrow, a former secretarial worker, was arrested as part of the Wishing Washing Line charity initiative where residents of her care home in Stoke Bishop, Bristol, write down what they most want on their bucket list and members of the public help their wishes come true.


‘It was interesting’, Mrs Brokenbrow told The Times this week. ‘Nothing like that ever happened to me before. They put the cuffs on, I had the lot’.


PCSO Kelly Foyle, whose beat is the area round the care home, had been contacted by email to try to make Mrs Brokenbrow’s wish come true and took part in the arrest. She said that her and her team were ‘happy to be on board’.



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