WBEZ | England http://www.wbez.org/tags/england Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Maid’s memoir gives glimpse at real life ‘Downton Abbey’ http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/maid%E2%80%99s-memoir-gives-glimpse-real-life-%E2%80%98downton-abbey%E2%80%99-106523 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/maids%20of%20downton%20abbey%20AP%20PBS%20Nick%20Briggs.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="The maids of ‘Downton Abbey.’ The memoir of real life kitchen maid Margaret Powell served as one inspiration for the show. (AP/PBS, Carnival Film &amp; Television/Nick Briggs)" /></div><p>You may have heard of Anna and Mr. Bates, O&rsquo;Brien and Thomas, but have you heard of Margaret Powell? Her 1968 memoir about servants&rsquo; life below the stairs of a stately English house was a direct inspiration for <em>Downton Abbey</em> and its popular predecessor, <em>Upstairs, Downstairs</em>.</p><p>Powell, born Margaret Langley in 1907, grew up in Sussex extremely poor. Her father, a house painter, and her mother, a charwoman or house cleaner, could barely support Margaret and her six siblings.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember when we hadn&rsquo;t anything left to use for warmth and no money to get coal,&rdquo; she wrote in <em>Below Stairs</em>. &ldquo;I said to Mum, &lsquo;Get all the wood down. Let&rsquo;s have a fire with wood.&rsquo; She took every single shelf there was in the rooms and she even took the banisters from the stairs. Things like this make you hard.&rdquo;</p><p>Perhaps predicting her future success as a writer, Margaret won a scholarship to grammar school at age 13. But her parents couldn&rsquo;t spare her, and sent her to work in a laundry by the time she was 15.</p><p>A year later Margaret found work as a kitchen maid in a stately Regency-style mansion in the posh Adelaide Crescent section of Hove, a town on England&rsquo;s south coast. She recalled the first time she set foot in the house, which was home to a minister and his family:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;When my mother and I arrived at this house for the interview we went to the front door. In all the time I worked there, that was the only time I ever went in the front door. . . We were ushered into the hall and I thought it was the last word in opulence. There was a lovely carpet on the floor, and tremendously wide stairs carpeted right across, not like the tiny little bit of lino in the middle we had on our stairs. There was a great mahogany table in the hall and a mahogany hall stand, and huge mirrors with gilt frames. The whole thing breathed an aura or wealth to me. I thought they must be millionaires. I&rsquo;d never seen anything like it.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Powell died in 1984, but her legacy has been preserved &ndash; and not just through her memoir or shows like <em>Downton</em>. Chicago historian and actress Leslie Goddard has developed something of a specialty inhabiting the lives of famous women of yore. In an appearance in February, she took on the role of Powell, performing an adaptation of <em>Below Stairs </em>as the author herself.</p><p>In the audio above, you can hear Goddard perform as Powell. She describes the astonishing workload typical of a pre-war kitchen maid, and explains how the stark contrast between Powell&rsquo;s impoverished upbringing and her newly lush surroundings eventually radicalized her politics.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from <a href="https://soundcloud.com/chicago-amplified/a-conversation-with-u-s">Chicago Amplified&rsquo;</a>s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Leslie Goddard performed at an event presented by Chicago Culinary Historians in February of 2013. Click <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/tea-party-below-stairs-servants-life-early-20th-century-england-106369">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.<br /><br />Robin Amer is a producer on WBEZ&rsquo;s digital team. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/rsamer">@rsamer</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Sat, 06 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/maid%E2%80%99s-memoir-gives-glimpse-real-life-%E2%80%98downton-abbey%E2%80%99-106523 The history behind a vote for Scottish independence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-30/history-behind-vote-scottish-independence-95954 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-30/scotland4.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Scottish government recently announced plans to hold a referendum on independence from Great Britain. Though Scotland has partial self-government, it's been a part of the United Kingdom since 1707.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Today, <em>Worldview</em> tries to unravel the emotional and practical implications of Scottish independence with local Scot <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/geography/People/EuanHague/index.asp" target="_blank">Euan Hague</a>. Euan is chair of the geography department at DePaul University.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>To read an article by Euan Hague on the culture of the Scottish-American community, click <a href="http://www.scottishaffairs.org/backiss/pdfs/sa38/sa38_Hague.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 30 Jan 2012 16:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-30/history-behind-vote-scottish-independence-95954 Fifty years ago in the U.K., birth control transformed sex lives, mores http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-03/fifty-years-ago-uk-birth-control-transformed-sex-lives-mores-95241 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-03/p00lw93y_640_360.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On December 4, 1961, the contraceptive pill became widely available for the first time in the United Kingdom. For married women, this meant reliable, convenient family planning. For unmarried women, it meant unprecedented sexual freedom.</p><p>The BBC's Claire Bowes talks to the writer Michelene Wandor, who was a student at Cambridge University in 1961, about this turning point in reproductive health.</p><p><em>This piece orignially aired on the BBC World Service.</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Jan 2012 17:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-03/fifty-years-ago-uk-birth-control-transformed-sex-lives-mores-95241 The scandals and background of the 2011 Cricket World Cup http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-23/scandals-and-background-2011-cricket-world-cup-84136 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-23/110489412.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All sports have controversies, but cricket sets a high bar for scandals. Right now, billions of people globally are tuned into the Cricket World Cup, underway in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. The final eight teams are currently in the knockout round.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s news desk editor <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/ammad-omar">Ammad Omar</a> clues us in on cricket&rsquo;s incredible story lines.</p></p> Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-23/scandals-and-background-2011-cricket-world-cup-84136 Blagojevich not leaving the country http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/blagojevich-not-leaving-country <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP070418059617 Seth Perlman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rod Blagojevich won't be going to England. His attorneys withdrew a request Tuesday to grant the former Illinois governor permission to leave the country.</p><p>Blagojevich's attorneys were scheduled to appear in front of federal Judge James Zagel to argue that the former governor should be allowed to leave the country. Attorneys filed a motion saying Blagojevich had been asked to speak to the Oxford Union a debate group located in Oxford, England. But his attorneys withdrew the request this morning.</p><p>An attorney for Blagojevich said the trip would have been too hard to put together in a short time frame even if the judge had approved the trip.</p><p>Before Blagojevich's first trial, he tried to go to Costa Rica to appear on a reality TV show, but the judge denied that request. Blagojevich's wife, Patti, was a contestant on the show, instead.</p><p>Blagojevich's re-trial is scheduled to begin April 20.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 08 Mar 2011 17:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/blagojevich-not-leaving-country BBC Documentary: The Irish are angry about the country’s financial crisis http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/bbc-documentary-irish-are-angry-about-country%E2%80%99s-financial-crisis <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/56935442.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Celtic Tiger seems to have lost its roar. After months of resistance, this past weekend Ireland agreed to accept an EU/IMF bailout of some $100 billion to help shore up its crippled banking system.</p><p>As Ireland faces one of Europe&rsquo;s most punishing financial crises, the anger amongst its citizens has grown. After coping with two years of recession and major cuts, many Irish taxpayers have had enough. Some have decided to leave the country in order to find employment.</p><p>For the program <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00bgtqd">Assignment</a>, the BBC&rsquo;s Ed Butler went to Ireland to meet some of the casualties of the country&rsquo;s economic collapse.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 23 Nov 2010 17:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/bbc-documentary-irish-are-angry-about-country%E2%80%99s-financial-crisis World Cup: Why France & England Disappoint http://www.wbez.org/ARehab/2010/06/world-cup-why-france-england-disappoint/26822 <p>France and England boast top talents in their ranks that include some of the most successful footballers at the club level, world class names who where instrumental in winning their local league this past season.‚  And yet neither side has managed to capitalize on the hype; to the contrary, each has put up an overall abysmal performance in their first two group games.‚  At this stage, their play thus far has been little more than "World Cup Window Dressing". France could only muster a goalless draw against Uruguay in its opening game and was beaten convincingly by Mexico in its second game setting itself up for an early exit. England drew with the USA in its opener and then drew again with Algeria in a match-up that most analysts predicted would give England a comfortable win. So what's going on?<!--break--> It's simple, it isn't about the big names - at least not anymore. While France and England can boast top class players, they sorely lack two key ingredients necessary for success on the World Cup stage:‚ team coherence and national spirit. In an increasingly competitive field in which the gap between the traditional powerhouses and the underdogs is forever narrowing, fielding eleven top class players no longer cuts it, fielding one cohesive team is what you want to shoot for. ‚ The two certainly do not equate to the same thing. Zidane said it best after the France vs Uruguay opener when he heaped abuse on Domenech whom he rightly regards to be incompetent: <blockquote>They didn't play together and it was more a case of individual efforts. The players must take responsibility for themselves, move themselves. You have to be straight with each other. [Domenech] is not a coach. He picked his squad and he has to make them play together. You must put your ego to one side and work together. Teamwork is the most important thing, and that's not what we saw during the [Uruguay] match.</blockquote> The same can be said of England. Rooney was so much a shadow of his Manchester United self against Algeria that at one point in the match, I found myself contemplating whether he was drunk.‚  Gerard, who could hardly deliver a meaningful pass, was not much better.‚  Lampard, Terry, and the others seemed to run around without vision or purpose.‚  The English, like the French, seem indifferent, unimaginative, and without inspiration. Contrast that with say North Korea or Slovenia, hardly two powerhouses. The individual talent on either of those two teams could not compare to that of France or England, and yet they seem to enjoy team coherence and team spirit, and so they end up over-acheiving while being relatively more fun to watch. How did the USA tie England who are a far better side on paper? By playing as a team, and by playing with heart. That was enough to balance out the superior English talent and experience. Perhaps France and England are suffering from <em>Football Diva Syndrome</em>, perhaps their players have experienced so much success at the club level - as well as withered so much of the accompanying pressures - that they have become desensitized to the mesmerizing lights of national football and too jaded to appreciate the urgency of the World Cup stage. They play like it was a chore, like they don't really want to be there. Where is the passion, where is the self-belief? Whatever their ailment, one thing is for sure: at this rate if they were to make an early exit, they will not be missed. The World Cup deserves better; fans of the beautiful game deserve teams that not only have talent, but drive, urgency and sheer fire.</p> Sat, 19 Jun 2010 17:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/ARehab/2010/06/world-cup-why-france-england-disappoint/26822 World Cup Analysis: What is it about England? http://www.wbez.org/EHague/2010/06/world-cup-analysis-what-is-it-about-england/26838 <p>After the pulsating USA v. Slovenia match on Friday, England played out a dreadful 0-0 draw with Algeria in what was, arguably, the worst game of the World Cup so far (oops -- I forgot about France v. Uruguay).‚  What is it about England? As a Scot with English friends and family, I have a strange relationship with the self-styled "home" of football. I'm not someone who hates England, and wouldn't mind seeing them do well, as long as it doesn't get mentioned again. The problem is, of course, that an England triumph would be spoken of again and again and again. England's one World Cup championship, 44 years ago, is still discussed by many in England as if it were yesterday, and despite Scotland's better qualification record in the 1970s, the press in the UK was (and still is) dominated by a fixation with England. (Note to the US media -- all English people are "Brits," but not all "Brits" are English, so don't use these interchangeably. It's England in the 2010 World Cup, not Britain!) Like many of you, English games and players form the bulk of my regular season soccer-watching, and that familiarity means there's an awareness of the personalities on the England team.‚  So I support them a little bit, but only up to a point. I'm not ecstatic when England wins, it's just nice for them. Nor am I despondent when England loses.‚  In fact, I could hardly keep a grin off my face in The Globe pub back in November 2007 when England imploded against Croatia and lost 3-2.‚  It was just that funny. I think that it is the hubris and hyperbole that accompanies an England World Cup team that leaves me torn between wanting to see them do well, and wanting to see them lose tragically and/or humiliatingly.‚  But I'd at least like to see them playing well. England today showed none of the passion that the USA or Mexico had demonstrated in the last 24 hours.‚  If England had really gone at Algeria, whose goalkeeper was starting his first world cup match, they probably would have won, but they didn't and they didn't. How can England players like Gerrard and Lampard, stalwarts of the Premier League, so consistently fail to get the ball to the would-be match winner, Wayne Rooney?‚  Could you imagine Argentina failing to get the ball to Messi, or Portugal to Ronaldo, of Brazil to Kaka or Robinho, or the US to Donovan? When the US needed someone to step up and take control today, Donovan burst into Slovenia's box and scored.‚  England players went into hiding, regularly over-running the ball, hitting the first defender with corners and being generally devoid of ideas.‚  If Heskey is in the team because his presence helps Rooney, then I've yet to see it. The old tale that Lampard and Gerrard can't play together seems to hold true, and Wright-Phillips and Lennon, as professional soccer players whose job is to cross the ball should, you'd think, be able to cross the ball, after all they get paid to practice crossing every day of the week! Taking my cue from "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" after a poor first 45 minutes, I phoned a friend at half time and asked for his solution to England's malaise. His answer was good -- Manchester City's exciting young winger Adam Johnson. The only problem, Johnson, like other potential matchwinners, Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor and Darren Bent, were left in England.‚  In fact, I read somewhere in the build up to the World Cup that no Englishman, other than Rooney, has scored more Premier League goals in the last 5 years than Darren Bent. The figures are telling: since 2005 (according to Wikipedia, at least) Young has scored 41 professional goals, Agbonlahor 45, Bent 73 and Adam Johnson, despite being only 22 and a midfielder, has scored 23. Emile Heskey has scored 24. Of course, all this English ineptitude could just be an extravagant ploy to make other teams think they are rubbish.‚  After all, this is Fabio Capello's team, and he's Italian, and if any nationality wins World Cups after a playing poorly and drawing their group matches , it's Italy. In 1982 the Italians began with three draws (0-0, 1-1, 1-1) and went through ahead of Cameroon (0-0, 0-0, 1-1) on goals scored, before going on to lift the trophy in exhilarating fashion. For England, however, three draws in 2010 will not be enough.</p> Sat, 19 Jun 2010 07:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/EHague/2010/06/world-cup-analysis-what-is-it-about-england/26838