English for Everybody Английский для всех | England and the English: Central England

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England and the English: Central England

England and the English: Central EnglandНазвание: England and the English: Central England
Уровень: Pre-Intermediate


The Midlands (or the Midland industrial region) represent the largest concentration of manufacturing industry. Metal-working on the basis of local coals was the source of the «Black Country» development.

The characteristic industries of the West Midlands are metallurgy (steel tubes and non-ferrous metals), machine-tool building, electrical engineering, and the car, carpets and pottery industries (with over 80 per cent of Britain’s ceramic industry located in Staffordshire, around Stoke-on-Trent).

Birmingham is the regional capital, a «city of a thousand trades», including not only motor cars and bicycles but engines for aircraft production. Coventry is the centre of the car and aircraft industries.

In the East Midlands, Leicester is noted for hosiery* and knitwear*, boots and shoes and machinery for making these products, Nottingham — for lace* and bicycles, tobacco and pharmaceutical goods, Corby — a new town — for steel industry (it was nearly condemned to death by the closure of steelworks by the British Steel Corporation).

In argiculture, horticulture* is important in the Midlands as a supplier of food for the local urban population.

hosiery — чулочные изделия
knitwear — вязаные вещи, трикотажные изделия
lace — тесьма, кружево
horticulture — садоводство, огородничество


In the heart of England, about 112 miles north-west of London, is Birmingham, a city with over a million inhabitants. The growth of this city during the last century has been very rapid, for it owes its importance, almost entirely to its iron industry. Although it has no outlet on the sea-coast and does not stand on any great river, it has become a busy hive* of industry.

The district around Birmingham is known as the Black Country. It is a land of factories and mines. Steam engines, gas-engines, motor-cars, railway carriages, rails, guns, bicycles, argicultural implements*, cooking utensils*, carpenter’s tools, screws*, and nails are among the articles manufactured in the factories of the Black Country.

Birmingham is surrounded by typically English countryside — quiet meadows and woodland, sleepy oldworld villages, impressive castles and ancient churches. South of Birmingham lies the historic town of Warwick with its great castle. Nearby is Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Coventry is famous for its magnificent modern cathedral. The waters of Leamington Spa* can cure* medical problems. In the beautiful fruit-growing countryside of the Severn valley, are the famous cathedral-towns of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester, plus ancient Tewkesbury.

hive — улей, людской муравейник
implements — принадлежности, инвентарь
utensil — посуда
screw — болт, шуруп
spa — курорт с минеральными водами
cure — исцелять, вылечивать


Long famous as an international business centre, Birmingham has developed into a modern and exciting city whose buildings and shops are second to none*.

Birmingham is at the heart of Britain’s motorway system. The superbly designed inner ring road is easily identified* by its red surface and gives easy access* to the city centre.

Massive post-war development schemes have meant exciting new buildings. But the best of the old has been preserved.

The city’s museum and art gallery has some of the finest examples of pre-Raphaelite painting, with works by Burne-Jones and William Morris. The Science Museum houses the earliest English locomotive actually built (1784).

Birmingham’s ultra-modern library is one of the largest and best stocked* in Europe and includes the Shakespeare Memorial Library with 40, 000 books in 90 languages.

The city possesses several interesting churches and two cathedrals.

Shopping facilities in Birmingham are a magnet for thousands; there is a wealth of variety few places in Britain can rival*. The multilevel Bull Ring Shopping Centre is completely traffic free and linked by subways with the major shopping streets of the city. It includes most kinds of retail shops*, open-air and covered markets, banks, restaurants and offices. Equally impressive is the air-conditioned New Street Shopping Centre.

Birmingham has more canals than Venice. Some canal basins have been developed as recreational centres, with walks, pubs, restored buildings and boat trips from Gas Street Basin and Cambrian Wharf.

The city has excellent facilities for all kinds of sport. It boasts* twenty swimming pools and eight municipal golf courses, as well as many private clubs. Edgbaston Reservoir is a 60-acre lake for sailing, rowing and fishing, and the Wyndley Leisure Centre at Sutton Coldfield provides facilities for indoor sports. Test* and County cricket is played at Edgbaston; Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion are the local football teams.

second to none — непревзойденный
identify — опознавать
access — доступ
best stocked — наилучшим образом укомплектована (книгами);
rival — соперничать, конкурировать
retail shops — магазины, продающие в розницу
boast — гордиться; хвастать
Test (matches) — международные (соревнования)


Buying and selling has been an important part of life in Birmingham for more than eight hundred years. In fact men used to sell their wives there as recently as the 18th century! (In 1733 Samuel Whitehouse sold his wife to Thomas Griffiths in the market place for a little more than a pound!) Although neither husbands nor wives are for sale nowadays, Birmingham’s markets offer a large choice of other goods.

Each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, the colourful rag market can be found. People used to come to buy and sell old clothes (rags) but now there is a wide selection of modern fashions for everybody.

Years ago farmers used to sell their animals at the Bull Ring, but now it is one of the biggest open-air markets and shopping centres in the United Kingdom. People enjoy shopping there because it has modern shops, together with atmosphere of a traditional street market.


Representatives of the former war-torn* cities of Coventry and Volgograd have renewed friendship pledges made more than 50 years ago at the time of the Battle of Stalingrad.

A new Coventry leisure area in the city centre — a pleasant green space with seats and fountains — has been named Volgograd Place, and bears a plaque marking the naming of the area «as a symbol of the friendship between Volgograd and Coventry born out of the sufferings of both cities during wartime and now devoted to international understanding».

The plaque was unveiled on November 25, 1973, by Deputy Mayor of Volgograd, Mr. Mikhail Zolotaryov, who said: «The friendship between our two cities was born in the trenches* of Stalingrad and the ruins of Coventry.»

«Citizens of our two cities are well aware what war is. That is why the policy of our two cities is for friendship and the preservation of peace. Thirty years is a long time, and our cities have changed greatly in that time, but our friendship has not changed.»

There was a moving silence when Mr. Zolotaryov handed to Coventry’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Wilfred Spencer, a polished wood casket* containing soil taken from Mamayev Hill, soil soaked* with the blood of the defenders of Stalingrad.

Mr. Spencer recalled that the Battle of Stalingrad marked the turning point of the war in Europe and that it was remembered in order to build a more secure future.

renew — возобновлять, возрождать
pledge — обещание
tear (tore, torn) — поранить, оцарапать
trench — траншея, окоп
casket — шкатулка
soak — пропитываться


Nottinghamshire lies in the heart of England’s East Midlands. The capital city of Nottingham is ancient. Its castle was founded by William the Conqueror in 1068. On the other hand, it is a very modern city of some 300, 000 people with a range of shops comparable with those found in the West End of London (which lies some 120 miles to the south), several fine hotels, an Art Gallery, lovely parks and a multitude* of other attractions and amenities*. These include two modern theatres, the Nottingham Playhouse, which since its opening in the mid-1960s has won a national reputation as one of the leading repertory theatres* in Britain; and the Nottingham Theatre Royal, more than a century old and recently completely refurbished*.

Nottinghamshire’s prosperity comes from its varied industry in which coal mining and agriculture each feature strongly. Textiles, lace, hosiery, engineering, bicycles, tobacco, pharma-ceuticals, chemicals, telecommunications, brewing*, shoes and furniture are also extremely important products from a county which is «home» to worldwide household names such as Players, Boots, Raleigh and Plessey.

Nottinghamshire is further enriched by its market towns of Newark, Mansfield, Retford, Worksop and Southwell. Each has a special attraction: Newark with its Castle, historic buildings and Civil War connections; Mansfield with its new shopping centre; Retford’s attractive market square; Worksop’s Priory Church with its ancient Gate House; and Southwell wi’th its beautiful Norman Cathedral and village-like atmosphere.

multitude — множество, большое число, масса
amenities — все, что способствует хорошему настроению, отдыху; удовольствия
repertory theatre — театр с постоянной труппой и подготовленным для театрального сезона репертуаром
refurbish — вновь отремонтировать, обновить
brewing — пивоварение


The Maypole* is an ancient fertility* emblem belonging to the beginning of summer, and it also represents a tree; indeed, at one time it was a tree, brought in from the woods with ceremony, and set up on the village green. In the darkness of the early morning, the young people went out on May Day and cut down a tall, young tree, lopped off* most of its branches, leaving only a few at the top, and so brought it home, to be adorned* with flowers and garlands, and to serve as a centre for their dances.

Sometimes the parish* possessed a standing Maypole, a permanent shaft* which remained in position all the year, and was freshly painted and adorned when May Day came round. A few still stand, or rather, their descendants do on the traditional site, for the average age of a Maypole is not much more than fifteen years. After that, it begins to rot* at the foot and has to be renewed. These permanent poles are usually very tall. That at Welford-on-Avon, with its bright-red, circular* stripes*, like a barber’s pole*, is seventy feet high, that at Barwick-in-Elmet, near Leeds, is even taller, rising to eighty or ninety feet. This pole is taken down every three years, on Easter Monday*, and set up again on Whit Tuesday*. The arrangements are in the hands of three elected Pole Men. While it is down, the Maypole is repainted, and ever so often, when it becomes necessary, replaced, and its four garlands renewed.

There are still a good many Maypoles today. Most schools have them, on May Day, or on some convenient day during the month, and some villages maintain the old tradition, especially in places where there are standing-poles.

maypole — майское дерево (столб, украшенный цветами, флажками и т. п., вокруг которого танцуют на майском празднике)
fertility — плодородие, изобилие, богатство
lop off — очищать дерево от сучьев
adorn — украшать
parish — церковный приход
shaft — ствол, стебель
rot — гнить, портиться
circular — круговой
stripe — полоса
barber>s pole — шест, окрашенный в красный и белый цвета по спирали, служащий вывеской парикмахера
Easter Monday — второй день пасхи, первый понедельник после пасхи
Whit Tuesday — духов вторник (после духова дня; отмечается англиканской, церковью; до 60-х годов был нерабочим днем)


The huge slabs* and uprights* of stone at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire were somehow inched into position about four thousand years ago, in the Bronze Age. This prehistoric monument consists of two circles of huge stone blocks. Inside these are two groups of stones in the shape of a horseshoe. No written record exists of the origins of these features and they have always been surrounded by mystery.

At one time, people thought that Stonehenge was a Druid* temple*. The Druids were a Celtic religious group who were suppressed* in Great Britain soon after the Roman Conquest. Some people believe that they were a group of priests, while others regard them as medicine-men who practised human sacrifice* and cannibalism*. It is also thought that the circle of stones was an immense* temple in which to honour the sun god, and perhaps even to offer human sacrifice.

The theory saying that the Druids used Stonehenge as a temple is kept alive today by members of a group called the «Most Ancient Order of Druids». They perform mystic rites* at dawn on Midsummer’s Day (24th June). Every year, they meet at Stonehenge to greet the first midsummer sunlight as it falls on the stones and they lay out symbolic elements of fire, water, bread, salt and a rose.

Scientists think that the early inhabitants of Britain were sun-worshippers; they thought of the sun as a god and they built Stonehenge in honour of that god.

On June 21st, the longest day of the year, the rising sun faces the open part of the horseshoe and shines on the centre stone.

There were many beliefs and superstitions* concerning Midsummer, often to do with happenings in the future: who was soon to die, and who was soon to marry. There is a bright yellow flower, rather like a little sun, which blooms around 24th June, and is called St. John’s Wort. It was considered to have magical properties of driving away the evil spirit and fairy folk who were out working mischief on St. John’s Eve. This flower was also used in love charms and to protect houses from fire and lightning. It was best gathered very early on St. John’s Eve, while the dew* was still wet on it. If a girl slept with it under her pillow that night, she would dream of the man she was to marry. William Shakespeare wrote a play called A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which all sorts of tricks are played on human beings by mischievous* fairies and a hobgoblin* called Puck.

Midsummer was once one of the most popular highdays of the year, but gradually many of the customs connected with it have died out or been taken over by May Day, which is still celebrated in most countries of Europe.

slab — плита, пластина
upright — колонна, стойка
Druid — друид, жрец у древних кельтов
temple — храм
suppress — подавлять, запрещать
sacrifice — жертва
cannibalism — людоедство
immense — огромный, безмерный
rite — обряд
superstition — суеверие, религиозный предрассудок
dew — роса
mischievous — озорной, непослушный, вредный
hobgoblin — домовой; чертенок; пугало


1. What kind of an area is the Midlands?
2. What part of England is known as the Black Country?
3. What are the most important industrial centres in the Midlands? What are they famous for?
4. What are the characteristic features of Birmingham? What do you know about it as the market place? What happened there in 1733?
5. Why are Coventry and Volgograd twinned cities?
6. Why is Nottingham worth seeing?
7. What do you think about the English tradition to have Maypole? Do we have anything like this?
8. What do you know about the great stone monument of Stonehenge?


Midsummer Day has been marked in England for many centuries. Is there any celebration in midsummer in our country? What is it like? Can you describe it?
Do you believe in magical properties of any flower (animal, bird)? Does this belief help people to be happier? Why do people preserve old customs and traditions like Midsummer Day or Maypole? What do you think about it?

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