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Oxbridge

Oxbridge

Oxbridge

Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest universities in Great Britain. They are called Oxbridge to denote an elitarian education.
Only rich people send their children to these universities. The main characteristic feature of these universities is the tutorial (that means the individual tuition).
The normal length of the degree course is three years, after which the students take the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Some courses may be a year or two longer.
Oxford and Cambridge universities consist of a number of colleges, each self-governing and independent. Before 1970 most of all Oxbridge universities were single-sex (mostly for men). But now the majority admit both sexes. The administrative body of the University consists of the Chancellor (who is elected for life), the vice-chancellor (who is in practice the head of the University, and is appointed annually by the Chancellor) and two proctors, whose job is to maintain discipline and who are appointed annually. Each college has its staff called «Fellows».
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The Thames

The Thames

The Thames

The River Thames is one of the sights of London. Tourists come to admire the beauty of Cleopatra’s Needle, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. In fact the river isn’t just a part of the scenery. Without the river London wouldn’t exist. Let’s look back into history.
Two thousand years ago, in A. D. 43 a Roman army decided to cross the Thames at a point where a bridge could be built. That was the beginning of the City of London.
The Thames connected the settlements of the Romans at Kent and at Colchester. All foreign traffic and goods had to cross the Roman bridge, that’s why the nearby land grew into a key port, thus increasing trade with the Continent.
Over the next five hundred years, London exported the nation’s wool, cattle and imported fine clothes from Flanders, wine from France, furs from Scandinavia. The tradesmen formed guilds, which protected their interests and strengthened London’s position as a commercial centre.
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The Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel

Great Britain is separated from the Continent by English Channel.
On May, 6, 1994 the Channel tunnel between Calais and Folkstone was opened by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and President Mitteran of France. They were the first to travel under the sea.
That was the biggest project in which Britain took part. The process of the construction was very difficult and not always a successful one. The price of construction was very high (? 9 billion), several people were killed during the construction, and the start of service was several times postponed.
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The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy

There is a house of great beauty and colour in London. This is Burlington House. Since 1869 it has been the Royal Academy of Arts.
In 1768 a group of leading painters, sculptors and architects presented a memorial to King George III. The young art-loving monarch declared his patronage, protection and support. All succeeding Sovereigns have accepted the style of «Patron, Protector and Supporter» of the Royal Academy. The monarch formally sanctions the elections of new Royal Academicians.
The first President of the Academy was Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose statue (palette and brush in hand) surveys the forecourt of Burlington House. He was President for 24 years and created in the Academy a body of highly skilled professional artists.
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The Museum of Transport

The Museum of Transport

The Museum of Transport

The Museum of British Transport is in London. It tells the story of public transport in Britain.
In 1829, an Irishman (Shillibeer by name) started the first bus-service in London. His bus was very different to those you can see in London today. It was drawn by three horses and looked like a carriage. The first double-decker bus was built in 1851. But the upper deck didn’t have a roof until about 1936. When it was raining the passengers were given raincoats.
In 1885, the first buses, driven by a petrol engine were used in London. The speed of the first petrol engine bus was 12 miles per hour.
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Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is the biggest market-place in Britain. If you come to Covent Garden in the afternoon, you’ll only see enormous buildings and a few tourists. But if you come here early in the morning, you’ll see hundreds of people buying and selling vegetables, fruit and flowers. Cars, vans, lorries are everywhere. There are voices everywhere. Some people are carrying heavy boxes of fruit and vegetables. They are crying: «Mind your backs, please». Before the businessmen arrive at their offices, all the cars and vans will have arrived at the shops all over London. They’ll have delivered everything for customers. By the afternoon all the farmers, shopkeepers, porters and drivers will have gone home. The market-place will have been cleaned by the dustmen. It’ll be ready to meet tourists.
Covent Garden has been the most important market-place in London for 300 years. It was officially established by King Charles II in 1670. It was called Covent Garden because it was the garden of the monks of Westminster Abbey. At that time it was very small, and used only by Londoners.
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The British Museum

Great Britain

Great Britain

The British Museum is the largest and richest of its kind in the world. This Museum comprises the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, and the National Library. It was built in the middle of the last century. The Museum is situated in London (in Bloomsbury district).
On one of the houses in Bloomsbury there is a plaque, which tells people that for nearly 50 years this was the home of Sir Hans Sloane, the benefactor of the British Museum.
Sir Hans Sloane was an Irishman. He arrived in London nearly 300 years ago with 800 species of plants collected in West India. His particular specialities were natural history specimens and books. All his long life Sir Hans Sloane remained a collector. In his will he offered his vast collection to the people of Britain. Later on the Government bought his collection. Two important libraries were added to the collection of natural history specimens and books.
At first, his collections were on view to the public in a large house not far from the present museum.
The present building was built in 1852.
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London and places of interest

London

London

London is the capital of Great Britain, its political, economic and commercial centre. It is the chief port of Great Britain. It is one of the greatest cities of the world. Its population is about 9 million people.
The origin of the city may be dated as the beginning of the 1st century A. D., when a tribe of the Celtic family settled near the Thames. The Roman town, LONDINIUM, grew up on the two hillocks near St. Paul’s Cathedral and Cornhill, not far from the Tower of London. The English are very proud of the long history of their capital. The city became extremely prosperous during the 16th century. Then in 1665 and 1666 two catastrophes occurred: the first was epidemic of plague which killed 100,000 citizens, and the second was the Great Fire which destroyed the whole of the City, including St. Paul’s Cathedral. London is a real museum of architecture. Most of the finest buildings date from the second half of the 17th century. At the beginning of the 19th century England was at the height of her power. During Queen Victoria’s long reign (1837 — 1901) the construction of the Underground began. And the first line between Paddington and Farringdon was opened.
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Television in Great Britain

Television

Television

Television is the most popular entertainment in British home life today. In London people have four TV channels: BBC I, BBC II, ITV=Independent Television (Channel III) and Channel IV.
The BBC is known for its objectivity in news reporting. The BBC is financed by payments which are made by all people who have TV-sets. People have to pay the licence fee.
In 1932 the BBC World Service was set up with a licence to broadcast first to Empire and then to other parts of the world. There is no advertising on any BBC programme.
ITV started in 1954. Commercial television gets its money from advertising. The programmes on this channel are financed by different companies, which do not have anything to do with the content of these programmes.
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The Press in Great Britain

Newspapers, magazines

In Britain newspapers differ greatly from each other in the type of news they report and the way they report it.
On the one hand, there are «quality» news-papers: The Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph. These papers report major national and international news stories, with the world of politics and business and with the arts and sport.
On the other hand, there are «populars» or «tabloids», so called because of their small size. Popular papers (The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Daily Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Star) pay much attention to sensational news, extraordinary events, catastrophes, accidents, private lives of royalty and nobility, of people of art, of music and movie stars.
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