From Admiral Nelson to Morecambe and Wise: A basic guide to British life for immigrants

The new citizenship handbook cuts out benefits advice and trumpets Thatcher’s legacy

It has been described as “essential reading” for migrants and takes readers on a whirlwind historical tour of Britain from Stone Age hunter-gatherers to Morecambe and Wise, skipping lightly through the Black Death and Tudor England.

The latest Home Office citizenship handbook, Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents, has scrapped sections on claiming benefits, written under the Labour government in 2007, for a triumphalist vision of events and people that helped make Britain a “great place to live”.

The Home Office said it had stripped-out “mundane information” about water meters, how to find train timetables, and using the internet.

The guide’s 180 pages, filled with pictures of the Queen, Spitfires and Churchill, are a primer for citizenship tests taken by around 150,000 migrants a year.

Comedies such as Monty Python and The Morecambe and Wise Show are highlighted as examples of British people’s “unique sense of humour and satire”, while Olympic athletes including Jessica Ennis and Sir Chris Hoy are included for the first time.

Previously, historical information was included in the handbook but was not tested. Now the book features sections on Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain to give migrants an “understanding of how modern Britain has evolved”.

They can equally expect to be quizzed on the children’s author Roald Dahl, the Harrier jump jet and the Turing machine – a theoretical device proposed by Alan Turing and seen as a precursor to the modern computer.

The handbook also refers to the works of William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer and Jane Austen alongside Coronation Street. Meanwhile, Christmas pudding, the Last Night of the Proms and cricket matches are described as typical “indulgences”.

The handbook goes on sale today and forms the basis of the 45-minute exam in which migrants must gain marks of 75 per cent to pass.

In its previous incarnation, the handbook described Margaret Thatcher as a “divisive figure” whose policies caused a “massive” industrial decline.

Now it hails her as the longest-standing 20th century Prime Minister who introduced a “number of important economic reforms”.

By contrast, Labour’s 13 years in power are given a solitary paragraph in the handbook while Gordon Brown’s premiership is described in one sentence – “Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister in 2007”.

“The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British. Instead of telling people how to claim benefits it encourages participation in British life”, said the Immigration minister Mark Harper.

Would you be able to pass a citizenship test? Here are  six sample questions from the Home Office

Best of British: The Test

1. Which landmark is a prehistoric monument which still stands in the English county of Wiltshire?

a) Stonehenge

b) Hadrian’s Wall

c) Offa’s Dyke 

d) Fountains Abbey

2. What is the name of the admiral who died in a sea battle in 1805 and has a monument in Trafalgar Square, London?

a) Cook

b) Drake

c) Nelson

d) Raleigh

3. In 1801, a new version  of the official flag of the United Kingdom was created. What is it often called?

a) The British Standard 

b) The Royal Banner

c) The St George Cross

d) The Union Jack

4 Who is the patron saint  of Scotland?

a) St Andrew

b) St David 

c) St George

d) St Patrick

5. What flower is traditionally worn  by people on Remembrance Day?

a) Poppy

b) Lily

c) Daffodil

d) Iris

6. Which of these sporting events was hosted in London in 2012?

a) The Commonwealth Games

b) The Cricket World Cup

c) The European Football Championship

d) The Paralympic Games

7. At her jubilee in 2012, how many years as queen did Queen Elizabeth II celebrate?

a) 25

b) 40

c) 50

d) 60

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk