Britons unaware of how amazing Britain is

23 June 2014

family television The British, it turns out, are unaware of how amazing they are, and don't know that they're responsible for half the inventions they've bestowed the World.

A study into essentially 'who made what' to provide an insight into what the UK populace actually knows about things invented by fellow Brits, shows that people are a little ignorant of their history.

57% of people knew that the television was a British invention, and less than two thirds had a clue as regards the origins of the telephone. Around half knew that the jet engine started life in the UK, but apparently it spells trouble all round for the future, as ignorance over such things could prove fatal.

Kettles, cashpoints, cats eyes, the electric motor, light bulbs - all amazing, and all started life in some boffin's shed or spare room in the UK.

The lack of recognition for more recent British inventions, such as modern-day carbon fibre, means only half of consumers consider Britain a good inventing and manufacturing nation.

Terry Scuoler, CEO of the manufacturers’ organisation EEF which commissioned the report with Siemen, says: "Inventiveness and resourcefulness are written into our collective DNA. Unfortunately, our strengths appear to be flying under the radar and this could damage our ability to innovate in the future."

"If we want to Make it Britain then we have to wake up Britain to the innovation, creativity and design going on within our shores today. Our success didn’t end with the steam engine – it carries on from strength to strength with carbon fibre, bionic limbs and now the hypersonic engine too."

"We should be proud of what our inventiveness contributes to the world. If Britain is to continue to innovate then we need to start shouting about our achievements."

"We have to ensure that everyone is aware that success lies before us and not just in the past. Above all, we must give greater recognition to our inventors and innovators, so as to encourage more young people to want to learn the right skills to follow in their footsteps."

So, learn your history, or be ignorant of your future is the key catchphrase here.

The report will be presented by Vince Cable, the business secretary (nice to see him getting about), at the launch of Manufacturing, Science and Technology Week in Liverpool, which focuses on Britain's manufacturing heritage and the contribution to the world.

Cable said: "This report serves as a very good reminder of the UK’s considerable strengths in manufacturing, and the current revival that we’re seeing in the sector is highly encouraging."

"The Government is working closely with manufacturing businesses to give them the confidence to invest, securing highly-skilled jobs, a stronger economy, and more world-shaping inventions in the future."

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