All posts tagged: Geoffrey Gorer

skeptic society The English Character

The English Character

This is a small essay wrote somewhere in early 2011, but still relevant today, it’s reflection on Geoffrey Gorer and Mr Frank Field’s work. IN THE early 1950s a sociologist called Geoffrey Gorer set out to solve the mystery of England’s “charactter”. To be precise, how had the English gone from being a thoroughly lawless bunch—famed for truculence and cruelty—to one of the most orderly societies in history? Just over a century before, he noted, the police entered some bits of Westminster only in squads of six or more “for fear of being cut to pieces”. Popular pastimes included public floggings, dog-fighting and hunting bullocks to death through east London streets. As late as 1914, well-dressed adults risked jeering mockery from ill-clad “rude boys”, and well-dressed children risked assault. Yet by 1951, when Gorer surveyed more than 10,000 men and women, he could describe an England famous worldwide for disciplined queuing, where “you hardly ever see a fight in a bar” and “football crowds are as orderly as church meetings”. In a book, “Exploring English …