Britain, We Heart You


It might have started stormy, but since the War of 1812, the U.S. and U.K. have been closer than Tango and Cash—an infatuation that has influenced even the most mundane aspects of American culture.

FASHION. The trenchcoat, the preferred article of clothing for exhibitionists circa 1976, became popular as a raincoat for British Army officers stationed—where else?—in trenches during World War I. OTHER BRITISH STYLE WE CAN’T QUIT: Dr. Martens, the moptop and the miniskirts

GEOGRAPHY. Sure, there’s New York. But how did Birmingham, Alabama, end up being named after a city in central England? Because its large deposit of iron ore reminded its founders of the thriving iron industry in the English Birmingham. OTHER BRITISH CITY NAMES WE CAN’T QUIT: Nearly every town in Massachusetts (102 in all according to Wikipedia), Pennsylvania (73) and New York (61)


ENTERTAINMENT. Downton Abbey, a show about life on an English country estate, is the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Its fifth season premiere drew more viewers than every other network show save for CBS. OTHER BRITISH POP CULTURE WE CAN’T QUIT: James Bond, Monty Python, The Beatles

FOOD. Apple pie, the iconic American dessert, isn’t American at all. English apple pie recipes go back to the 14th century—though early versions had no sugar, which made the pastry as tough as Tupperware. OTHER BRITISH DELICACIES WE CAN’T QUIT: Bacon, roast beef and English muffins