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View Full Version : In your opinion, who are the greatest Britons?



Zauriel
01-06-06, 17:20
Here are the names plucked from the Greatest Britons List on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_Greatest_Britons

Winston Churchill (1874–1965), Prime Minister during World War II
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806–1859), engineer, creator of Great Western Railway and other significant works
Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997), first wife of HRH Charles, Prince of Wales (1981–1996) and mother of Princes William & Harry of Wales.
Charles Darwin (1809–1882), naturalist, originator of the theory of evolution through natural selection and author of The Origin of Species.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616), English poet and playwright, thought of by many as the greatest of all writers in the English language.
Sir Isaac Newton, physicist
Queen Elizabeth I of England, monarch
John Lennon (1940–1980), of The Beatles, musician
Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, naval commander
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector
Sir Ernest Shackleton, polar explorer
Captain James Cook, explorer
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts
Alfred the Great, King of Wessex
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, military commander and statesman
Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister
Michael Crawford, actor
Queen Victoria, monarch
Sir Paul McCartney, of The Beatles, musician
Sir Alexander Fleming, pharmaceutical innovator
Alan Turing, pioneer of computing
Michael Faraday, scientist
Owain Glyndŵr, Prince of Wales
Queen Elizabeth II, monarch
Professor Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist
William Tyndale, English translator of the Bible
Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette
William Wilberforce, humanitarian
David Bowie, musician
Guy Fawkes, English revolutionary
Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire, aviator and charity organiser
Eric Morecambe, comedian
David Beckham, footballer
Thomas Paine, political philosopher
Boudica, leader of Celtic resistance to the Roman Empire
Sir Steve Redgrave, Olympic rower
Sir Thomas More, English lawyer and politician
William Blake, author and printer
John Harrison, clock designer
King Henry VIII of England, monarch
Charles Dickens, author
Sir Frank Whittle, jet engine inventor
John Peel, broadcaster
John Logie Baird, television pioneer
Aneurin Bevan, politician
Boy George, musician
Sir Douglas Bader, aviator and charity campaigner
Sir William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland
Sir Francis Drake, English naval commander
John Wesley, Methodist leader
King Arthur, semi-mythical Celtic monarch
Florence Nightingale, nurse and charity campaigner
T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), Arabist and soldier
Sir Robert Falcon Scott, polar explorer
Enoch Powell, politician
Sir Cliff Richard, musician
Alexander Graham Bell, telephone pioneer
Freddie Mercury, of Queen, musician
Dame Julie Andrews, actress and singer
Sir Edward Elgar, composer
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Queen consort
George Harrison, of The Beatles musician
Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster
James Connolly, Irish revolutionary
George Stephenson, railway pioneer
Sir Charlie Chaplin, comic actor
Tony Blair, Prime Minister
William Caxton, English printer
Bobby Moore, footballer
Jane Austen, author
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army
King Henry V of England, monarch
Aleister Crowley, mystic
Robert I, King of Scots
Bob Geldof, Irish musician
The Unknown Warrior, soldier of the Great War
Robbie Williams, musician and former member of Take That
Edward Jenner, pioneer of vaccination
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George, prime minister
Charles Babbage, mathematician and pioneer of computing
Geoffrey Chaucer, English author
King Richard III of England, monarch
J.K. Rowling, author
James Watt, developer of the steam engine
Sir Richard Branson, businessman and adventurer
Bono, Irish musician
John Lydon (Johnny Rotten), musician
Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, military commander
Donald Campbell, water speed world record challenger
King Henry II of England, monarch
James Clerk Maxwell, physicist
J.R.R. Tolkien, author and linguistics professor
Sir Walter Raleigh, English explorer
King Edward I of England, monarch
Sir Barnes Wallis, aviation technology pioneer
Richard Burton, actor
Tony Benn, politician
David Livingstone, missionary and explorer
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, internet pioneer
Marie Stopes, promoter of birth control

Zauriel
01-06-06, 17:31
Dammit. I forgot to make it a multiple choice poll.

Maciamo
01-06-06, 17:37
Sorry, there is no way to make a poll multiple choice once it's posted. Maybe it is better this way, so we don't choose half of them. :p

Zauriel
01-06-06, 17:45
But you can edit polls, right? And by the way who, in your opinion is the greatest briton?

Maciamo
01-06-06, 19:13
It was a difficult choice, but I voted for Churchill. I hesitated with Darwin and Shakeaspare, but Churchill probably had the biggest consequence on British society.

Duo
01-06-06, 19:23
I agree for me churchill is top 1 as well... not only england but europe as well...and JK rowling i see not how she could be great...or even tolkien for tha matter...furthemore sean connery is scotish

Zauriel
01-06-06, 20:32
I agree Churchill is great but I would go for Shakespeare.


By the way, Duo, Scots are British, too. You don't understand the distinction between England and Britain. Britain isn't only England. Britain is composed of England, Wales, and Scotland. If you don't believe me, read the Britain article on the Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain EDIT: Also, the British explorer David Livingstone who is on the 100 greatest Britons list is from Scotland, too.

Mycernius
01-06-06, 21:13
You forgot Northern Ireland. The full title of the UK is The United Kingdon of Great Britain and Northern Island. Great Britain is the name of the Island on which England, Scotland and Wales are found. Incidently the first mention of a King of Great Britain was by James I in the title of the King James Bible, where he also styles himself as the King of France, a claim made by all monarchs of Britain until Victoria. Although the idea of King of Great Britain didn't really catch on until the 19th century after the act of union with Ireland.

Ma Cherie
01-06-06, 23:52
I'd go for Shakespeare. I don't know about David Beckham, I just find him extremly attractive. :-)

Sean Connery is a good actor but he hasn't done any good films lately.

Maciamo
02-06-06, 00:04
I don't see wht we couldn't add Southern Irish who were born and lived most of their lives before the independence of the Republic of Ireland. They were British too. As we are at it, why not people born in former colonies before their independence ? Thomas Paine is regarded as British, isn't he, so why wouldn't Gandhi ? If it weren't for the British Empire, he wouldn't have lived both in South Africa and India...

Zauriel
02-06-06, 13:24
Maciamo, I don't think Gandhi considered himself British. He would have preferred to be called Indian. I recall Thomas Paine was born and grew in England.



Sean Connery is a good actor but he hasn't done any good films lately.

But Sean Connery is the definitive James Bond actor. His portrayal of James Bond is legendary.

Mycernius
02-06-06, 18:28
Actually you could call anyone born in Ireland, British, after all the Islands are called the British Isles not the country. A bit like calling anyone from the Americas, American being Canadian, Mexican, Brazilian etc.

Maciamo
02-06-06, 20:02
Actually you could call anyone born in Ireland, British, after all the Islands are called the British Isles not the country. A bit like calling anyone from the Americas, American being Canadian, Mexican, Brazilian etc.

I thought that the British Isles were Britain with the small islands around (Hebrides, Scilly...) and Ireland was not part of that. I often hear that the Irish (even northern) do not call themselves British and dislike being called this way.

Zauriel
02-06-06, 20:24
The Irish have a long history of hate with English so they even confused British with English.

Sensuikan San
29-06-06, 07:28
It was a difficult choice, but I voted for Churchill. I hesitated with Darwin and Shakeaspare, but Churchill probably had the biggest consequence on British society.

I had a similiar problem between Churchill and Sir Isaac Newton.

Perhaps Newton actually was the best choice offered but not such a charismatic character in more recent history.

The list could have been longer.

But just think - old Isaac invented gravity!

If it weren't for him ... we'd all have floated away years ago ..... !


I don't see wht we couldn't add Southern Irish who were born and lived most of their lives before the independence of the Republic of Ireland. They were British too. As we are at it, why not people born in former colonies before their independence ? Thomas Paine is regarded as British, isn't he, so why wouldn't Gandhi ? If it weren't for the British Empire, he wouldn't have lived both in South Africa and India...

I quite agree. Why not bring in folks like Shaw, Wilde, Brendan Behan et al? In truth - and I'm not being facetious here - one could most certainly include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and pretty well all of the founding fathers of the United States - who were all British colonial subjects at the time.


W

Sensuikan San
29-06-06, 07:32
How the he11 did Boy George get on that list?

W

No-name
29-06-06, 07:39
Isaac Newton also invented integral calculas...

I don't think you should include as British anyone who would not have considered him or herself British.

Maciamo
29-06-06, 08:42
Isaac Newton also invented integral calculas...
I don't think you should include as British anyone who would not have considered him or herself British.

Well then we are limited to the last 200 or 300 years, as the concept of nationality didn't really exist in people's minds before that.

No-name
29-06-06, 16:01
...or perhaps I should state in the negative: We shou exclude as British anyone who would have reasonably be expected to reject the label as British.

Chris
27-06-09, 18:42
Given one of the options is King Arthur (in terms of defining Briton), I'd choose King Alfred the Great. At one time his kingdom was limited to a few square miles of the Somerset marshes, as the Danes advanced across what was left of his kingdom of Wessex. He prevailed, and ultimately pushed the Danes back, settling for the division of England between Wessex and Danish territory called "Danelaw".

Had he not succeeded, English history would have turned out significantly different.

Jackson
08-03-12, 18:33
It was a tough choice, but i decided to go with J.R.R Tolkien purely because i've grown up with his incredible work to some degree. Although he was part German i believe, still a Briton though.
I would otherwise have voted for Winston Churchill or (had he been included) King Alfred the Great as Chris above mentions - both are iconic figures that played a pivotal role in defending their nation (or notion of nation, in regard to King Alfred). In both cases, i think history would have been very different if either had failed as Chris rightly points out.
All have done a service, but i think without many of those in the political sphere, the artists and others we know and love may not have had a chance.

Kind Regards,
Sam Jackson

hope
12-04-12, 03:16
There have been a lot of outstanding Britons through the years. However I go for James Simpson and John Snow for their pioneering work with anaesthetic. After all who wants to go for an operation without that? Also Sir David Henderson for the Royal Air Force.

Keegah
16-04-12, 07:24
Not sure I understand the logic behind equating Britons - that is, Insular Celts - with Englishmen.

American Idiot
29-11-13, 06:37
How the he11 did Boy George get on that list?

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that is what I would like to know too. He isnt great at all.... In fact, I dont know WTF he is!!! (LOL)



anyway, I wanted to choose King Henry the VIII, but he wasn't listed in the voting poll.

and one poster mentioned Alfred the Great.......also very good choice, IMO.

I vote for Johnny Rotten!