Why Are You an Anglophile?

Several chapters into Jonathan's very readable book, it occurs to me that the question above is one to which we could each respond. What sparked your interest in all things British? Was it the history? Literature? Landscape? Culture? Did someone special plant and nurture the seed of Anglophilia? Let's hear about the elements that drew you to a love of England and Britishness, and what kinds of things continue to fascinate you?

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  • Ooh... that's a toughie. I think it may have actually been music. I was a teenager in the 1980s (and now I'm dating myself, please don't do the math!) during the "Second British Invasion"--New Wave and all that. Before then, I was heavily into classical (and it's still my first musical love), but a friend turned me onto Duran Duran. From there, I discovered David Bowie, WHAM!, and a host of other artists, and I reckoned that the UK had the best music. (For patriotism's sake, I decided that Canada came a close second.) Then I discovered British television (thank you, CBC, for airing all those Jeremy Brett "Sherlock Holmes" adaptations!). My favourite books all seemed to be set there, too.

    The rest, as they say, is history... almost literally, since I fell in love with British history, and mediaeval history in particular. ;)

  • My love for all things British really solidified in high school when we were allowed to a genealogy project in our US History class. I worked on mine, with the help of my grandmother, who was in the Daughters of the American Revolution, and thus her side had been traced back to the 1500s to Salisbury, England. We also discovered that we are descended from Nathanael Greene, who was a general under George Washington. (His name is even mentioned in the song "Right Hand Man" in the musical Hamilton.) So, once I started finding out all of this information, I really wanted to knows more about the country that my ancestors called home. Ancestry DNA has confirmed that my love for Britain is truly in my veins with 65% traced to England and 35% traced to Scotland and Ireland. I guess I can't fight it. My first trip to England was in 1995 and I have been back almost every summer since. I'm so fortunate to have made friends that I consider family now over in Blighty.

  • My husband and I moved to London in 1981, thinking it would be for a year or two. My husband was invited to work with a small church in North London and having just been married about a year, we thought it sounded like a fun adventure. Ten years and three children later, England was a big part of our lives. We moved back to Atlanta in 1991 and have looked back to those years in England ever since. While living there, we tried to fully embrace the culture and once our children were in school, we felt almost British. We had learned to love British television and movies while living there and have since sought them out wherever possible. I love to host afternoon tea parties and pull out all the china and silver I collected while living there.

    We try to travel back to the UK about every other year, although sometimes more often. We never tire of returning over and over to some of the same places we love. Rather than traveling to other countries, we prefer returning to the UK and digging deeper into local areas where we have visited before.

  • My love of the British Isles began when I was very young, the books my grandmother and mother read to me, then history, then everything I could find that educated me about the country, the customs,the people. I loved geography as it was called in school in the olden days, all countries fascinated me, but none as much as Britain.
    As a young mother my husband was transferred to Upper Hanford. We lived in Middleton Cheney for a couple of years then RAF Croughton for the rest of the three years. I was the perpetual room mother and went on every field trip I possibly could. I loved it all and felt in my soul that I had come home. I was amazed to discover words that were pronounced differently from most Americans by my family were the British pronouncing and the names of things were also British. (My family was here, US, before the revolution)
    Years later I took over the research of my family history which eventually led to a DNA test which revealed 67% England, Wales, and Western Europe and 37% Scotland and Ireland.
    Sorry this is so long.

  • Because I was born 0ne!
    Peter Epps

  • When I was a little girl I was obsessed with Olivia Newton-John. I thought her accent was British! So I began to obsess about Britain. LOL! I was adopted, so I would fantasize that my biological mother was the queen of England! LOL! Childhood fancies.
    Anyway, I ended up marrying a Brit ( not because he was a Brit----lololol----that was just a happy accident). My first visit to see him, I knew my life would never be the same. There was an overwhelming feeling that England was "home". It just felt right. We lived there for 5 years and started our family there. We visit his family annually and when I am there, it feels like home. We both miss it and plan on moving back when we retire in 3-5 years.

  • My story is similar to Catherine_T above; it was about the music in the 70's and 80's.
    My older cousin was a huge Bowie fan from the "Ziggy Stardust" era and I did not have a choice but to listen to it when I visited my grandparents every week (cousins lived next door) because she played it so loud. I was around 11 in 1981 when I heard a Bowie song called, "Look Back in Anger" that completely stopped me dead in my tracks and that was the day I could not get enough of music that was so different than what was playing on radio. My city got MTV at the beginning of January 1982 and I watched it obsessively and since most music videos were from the UK, it started my interest in all things from the UK.
    Many of my favorite groups had fan clubs that were UK-based and I joined a few and the one for a Scottish band called, Simple Minds, had a newsletter with a penpal section to connect with fans. In 1986, I submitted my name in the newsletter and I got quite a lot of letters and I also wrote to a specific fan in Lancashire. He has been my husband of 24 years and we have two children together (they were born in England).
    I'm currently living in the US but we will be making our move back to the UK to retire in the next few years, like balletmum. It's just home to me.

  • Born in Exeter, Devon on 8/10/1933, emigrated to USA in 1977.

  • My grandfather came from England and so I grew up reading English books and learning about the culture. I’ve been to the U.K. 7 times. He had many relatives I was able to visit.

  • How do I love England?
    Let me count the ways........
    No, wait! I'm supposed to write a comment here, not a novelette......
    My love of England really began before I knew it. Long before I was born, my maternal grandparents met King George VI and Queen (Mother) Elizabeth when they toured Canada in 1939. Then, in 1953, my mother was chosen to represent Queen Elizabeth in the Coronation re-enactment parade held in Fort William, Ontario. The picture of Mom, as she stands in gown and crown in front of her 'tinfoil' carriage, is framed along with a letter from the real 'Her Majesty', and now hangs in my sewing room. These events were occasions of honour in my family's collective memory.
    My love affair only deepened when our son moved to and married in England, and thus, we visited many times and many places. Alas, our son moved his family back to Canada so our trips over the pond have been reduced.
    It's been fun subscribing to Anglotopia because of the connection we feel to many of the topics covered, and it 's been good to know that there are so many Anglophiles out there, living in Canada and in the US.

  • Much like Alison, I grew up in Canada with strong connections to the Crown and GB. I swore an oath to the Queen each morning in school the way Americans do in the Pledge of Allegiance. We sang "God Save the Queen". My family came from Manchester in 1881 so I cannot say that I am anything more than a descendant. I enjoy Britain. I enjoy the USA. I enjoy Canada. That's why many folks position us in-between or as a part of both. Differently though, when I am in GB, I feel at home. As much as I feel at home in Canada. Probably some genetics at work there.

  • My love for England began out of the blue but it started around 2000. I knew about England, had seen it on TV, interacted with coworkers in England, but to want to MOVE there and like everything British came out of nowhere. I never thought that watching a silly British comedy would put it in my heart to wish I could live there. I’ve watched shows from other beautiful countries and don’t want to move there. Why England? It’s unexplainable and only some people would understand the “pull” to want to live there. I’m so glad that Jonathan started this forum. It’s great to share these British things and longings with others who love England!

  • I lived in England from age 2-5, and started school at age 2. I still have my school uniform and hat that I wore. I think there must be something about spending formative years in England that has caused me to love it so much. I have so many fond memories, even though it was a short time in my life. I find the English countryside and coastlines to be so beautiful. I also really appreciate the British reserve and dry sense of humor.

  • I was born there and it was home for, well, decades before I moved to the US in 2012!

  • I was born here and have spent a lifetime exploring and still find things to see. I have travelled in Europe and Canada and visited New York.

  • I believe it is partly that my ancestors came from the UK. The other part is my love of British history. The literature is wonderful. Tea. The places I visited. The people. I feel like it slowly snowballed into where I am now.

  • My Dad was USAF and we were stationed there in the late 70's. It's the place I consider the home of my heart.

  • My mom was an Anglophile and she made me one. She read me every book she could find by British authors or set in the UK. Something about the UK just sparked my imagination from the start. I've been several times and every time I can't wait to go back. It feels like home when I'm there. I joke that if my husband dies I'm taking the insurance money and moving to England 😂

  • As a Brit I don’t really think of myself as an Anglophile but I very much enjoy reading about other people’s love for my homeland. I guess it makes me feel thankful that I was born here when there seems to be so much friction in other parts of the world, and the fact that I live less than a 10 minute drive from the Peak District is the cherry on top of the cake.

    Reading people’s comments about their love and appreciation for my country continually reminds me not to take it for granted.

  • My Kindergarten teacher was a Welsh war bride. Even living in the South for over 25 years, she hadn’t lost that beautiful lilting accent. She shared stories from her childhood, and I was hooked. My mother encouraged my curiosity and fed me a steady diet of Paddington, C S Lewis, and Beatrix Potter.

  • My grandparents were both from England and so I was inducted at a very young age. My great grandmother also lived with them and I used to sit and chat with her about where she grew up. I even marked in my school atlas where they were from and still have that atlas to this day.
    Every Sunday we would walk over to their house for afternoon tea. I knew that all I wanted was to go to England and be part of it.
    I have been 3 times now and if I could, I would retire there in a small country village.

  • I cannot remember how or when my love of "all things British" began. Certainly, my early reading choices ran towards British literature. My favorite music was always British, beginning with the Beatles (my first 45's). I have adored the accents of Great Britain probably since my earliest exposure to Jimmy (Jack Wild) on H.R. Pufnstuf (I was 10 years old). Throughout childhood, I longed to visit Great Britain and in 2005, I was fortunate to spend three glorious weeks touring Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales (via rental car, coach, bus, foot, taxi). In 2006, I spent seven weeks in Oxford as a study abroad student. From Oxford, I wandered around England as much as possible on long weekend trips. From 2007 until my return in 2015, I thought I'd go mad with homesickness. For to me, Oxford is home. Inexplicably and completely without any justification, Oxford is home. I feel more alive there. More myself there. Happier there. I love wandering London and have done so now on seven trips to England. But it's on the streets of Oxford that you'll find me standing still as if I've seen a ghost, happy tears streaming my face, as I realize pure bliss. The kind of bliss you experience when you're exactly where you're meant to be. My paternal grandmother called herself a Scots/Irish and most of her family were from England, Scotland, and Ireland - but I didn't know the details until recently. My recent DNA test says "78% from the British Isles" and I have to say (grinning ear to ear) that news was not shocking but was very welcome! When my feet first touched Irish soil (first stop in 2005), I felt my roots grow into the blessed soil. It's weird, I know. I fell in love with Ireland and her people then. After 9 days in Ireland, I took the ferry to Scotland and spent time in the Highlands where I fell deeply in love with Scotland. But I admit, when I made it to York, England (my first stop in England) I knew that I had come home. I'd always been in love with England. England captivates my soul in a way that beggars belief and defies description. I've traveled so much within England and have yet to find a place that I didn't absolutely adore. So, long story not short... I am unapologetically an Anglophile without the foggiest notion why.

  • For me, it is mostly about history. I am obsessed with British history. But I also love the culture. I love London! I feel at home there. I'm sure I have a very idealized perception of it, but I love the museums, buildings, the Tube, and the streets. I could happily walk around and explore different neighborhoods. I very much hope I will get to go back soon!

  • As a child, I can remember stumbling upon a black and white old version of "David Copperfield" on TV and being fascinated (what can I say, it was pre-internet days!). Since then I've become more and more obsessed! I read mostly books by British authors or set in England, subscribe to several British TV services to keep up on shows and the culture, and listen to LBC news to keep up with the latest tube delays. :) I have been lucky enough to travel to London for 2-3 weeks every summer for the past 10 years or so, and was very disappointed when this year's trip had to be postponed. I'm very eager to get back and visit the city I love!

  • My love began when I was young and saw the wedding of Charles and Diana 😊. My grandmother watched the wedding on tv as I imagine most Americans did, and I've been sucked down the British rabbit hole ever since. I loved Britain so much that I earned a degree in English Literature because I was so in love with the authors and poets from there. I went on to attend graduate school in London. That was 10 years ago and I miss it enormously. I'm moving to Paris (as soon as the world begins again!) but I plan on visiting England (as well as the rest of Britain) often because I can't stay away! Also, imagine my surprise when I did two ancestry tests from two different companies and found I had a small percentage of British and Irish. It was less than 10% but still it's something! 😂

  • When I was a child in the 1960s I was fascinated with all of the media coverage of the London Scene: especially the fashions and early Beatles and Stones. Oh, the day my father brought home the 45 of "Satisfaction!" More excitingly, my next-door neighbors were English/Scots immigrants and they were right next door on a home visit during the filming of a Beatles movie.

  • My parents were sent to England for five years for my father's work, and I was born there during the last year of their stay. Consequently, I grew up hearing all their fond memories of England without having any memories of it myself, to my great annoyance. Mom and Dad's best friends from London relocated to the United States for a similar assignment during my formative years, so aside from my parents, they and their two boys were the people I spent the most time with as a child. My family visited the UK three times during my youth, and my love for it--landscapes, history, literature, culture--has continued to increase since then. My husband and I were supposed to go back for a month this summer, which would have been our third time there together, but we hope to reschedule for next year. Eventually, we would like to move there, maybe to Wales, but I think it will be a long time yet before we can make that a reality.

  • With me, it's HERITAGE. British, Canadian, Scots and Yank on my Dad's side and British, German, and EXTREMELY Feisty Citizens of the Colony of NEW JERSEY on my Mom's Side. I was blessed to visit London Four Times, between 1987 and 1992, and loved every single second I was there. Memories are Christmas Eve Service in ST Paul's Cathedral, and later, Visits to the British Film Institute, and every single bookshop I could find. Most Exciting? Most Exciting was finding, and being able to afford, a Pictorial Program from "The OLD SAVOY", of the Original JOURNEY'S END!

  • My parents were very enamored of England and the Royal family, and subscribed to "Coming Events in Britain" magazine, which I started reading when I was very young. I guess that's when my love of Britain started. Since establishing my family tree on Ancestry, and having my DNA tested, I was excited to find that my ethnicity estimate is 92% is English, Scottish and Irish.

  • I'm English/British but you're more of both than I am! My DNA showed me 32% Scandinavian (all those Vikings coming to the East of England), 32% East European (that's my father), but only 17% English - plus a few other bits & bobs. It's lovely to see so many non-Brits love the country as much as those of us born here.

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