Photo by Salt Water New England

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Is a Love of British Clothing, TV, Cars, and Tea Common in New England?

 

'British Tweeds' Store, Camden, Maine. 1964. Photo by My Father  
Dear Editor,  
May I ask the community a question? 
Being a Brit, I am fascinated by the SWNE communitie's love of many things British including our country clothing, (being a countryman who shoots and fishes I spend half my life in tweed, lambswool, tattersall and moleskin) our television dramas and some of our vintage cars (who wouldn't love a vintage MG). I've even spotted some tea drinkers out there. Is this common throughout New England or is it that SWNE attracts the kind of people who like things from this side of the pond? 
Kind regards.

29 comments:

  1. Is it common, no, I say not by a long shot. Is it more common than the US as a whole, I'd say emphatically yes.

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  2. I would say yes, but more so by previous generations! Thank you! Cheers!

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  3. I'm from the South and I've been an Anglophile from day one. I chose to go to college in England and I was lucky enough to live there twice. Many people from the East Coast are of British descent and, at least among my acquaintances, have a real affection for many things British.

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  4. If we weren't Anglophiles, we wouldn't be addicted to this site.

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  5. My experience is that lots of American Anglophiles can be found where there are lots of Episcopal churches and horses- Kentucky, Virginia, and some parts of South Carolina. My New England relatives are mostly in Massachusetts, which seems to only want to be itself.

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    1. I’m from central Virginia, and my family raised hunters and jumpers…I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Episcopal horse!

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  6. My maternal grandmother was first generation. Her family came to the U.S. from the West Country and the north of England in the early years of the 20th century. She always maintained close ties to family and places in the U.K. and most definitely was an Anglophile, something my mother as well as my sister and I picked up on through small things like tea-drinking, certain types of clothing, and horseback riding to bigger things like religious views/affiliation (Anglican-Episcopalian. . . preferably High Church). Both my mother and maternal uncle lived and studied in the U.K. during their younger adult lives, something I always meant to do myself, but somehow ended up in Norway. Life is a funny old thing as Bertie Wooster might say to Madeline Bassett while strolling one evening beneath God's daisy chain of the moon and stars. I stumbled onto this online community about ten or eleven years ago while doing online searches for traditional clothing/style, and much here resonated instantly although I grew up outside of Philadelphia. Salt Water New England remains a comfortable, familiar corner in an increasingly unpleasant physical world.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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    1. ^^ Top marks for bringing in Bertie Wooster. “I don’t want to wrong anybody, so I won’t go so far as to say that she actually wrote poetry, but her conversation, to my mind, was of a nature calculated to excite the liveliest suspicions.”

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  7. Required reading: ALBION'S SEED: FOUR BRITISH FOLKWAYS IN AMERICA, by David Hackett Fischer.

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    1. Read it in grad school. Good treatment of a complex subject, but the conclusion is a dog's breakfast.

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    2. FANTASTIC book; received recommendation from a previous comment on another post. Do recommend. - hrplo

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  8. Clothing, TV and tea, yes. Cars, not so much.

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  9. Yes! In fact I just watched "A Very British Scandal", with Claire Foy and Paul Bettany. Not awesome, but very enjoyable!

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  10. Perhaps it's not unique to New England despite the region's name. I grew up in Seattle but had an English grandmother who emigrated after the First War to Toronto and then to the US.

    That connection along with living so close to Vancouver and Victoria B.C. there was a lot of English influence. And though Im half Norwegian I consider myself an Anglophile most of the time. Certainly the history, literature, clothing, ceremony; but also the language. Even low-brow humor such as Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and On the Buses.

    I love Wimbledon, Henley, and my great uncle's zig-zag tie of the Royal Artillery (worn only in the States). But I feel more than anything, we have an affinity with the England and the United Kingdom through our shared history of 400 years.

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  11. My son-in-law's grandmother was English, from London. She was a war bride. I've never noticed anything especially British or English inclined about any of that family. However, her family was worried about the man she married because he had a German name. She served in the R.A.F. during the war. She was at our daughter's wedding but has since passed away.

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  12. For generations there was a strong British influence on so-called Ivy or Preppy clothing – think tweed jackets, Shetland sweaters, tartan scarves, etc. – which Americans borrowed and integrated in their own special way. Beyond that I don’t think there is any special Anglophilia that is unique to New England. I do notice that this blog has gradually developed more of a British flavor over the years and applaud that. At the same time many purveyors of classic American clothing have been taking on more quintessentially British items as well ( for example, J. Press now sells covert coats and tweed field coats). I take that to be a sign of appreciation for authentic, traditional, well-made clothing.

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  13. I'm British and have spent the past 26 years living, first, in North Carolina and more recently, Virginia. NC didn't, but Virginia does feel quite English in many places!

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    1. The eastern part of Virginia has so many English place names that it could easily feel like home, were it not for everyone driving on the right side of the road. My family has been in Virginia since around 1650, having initially settled in Lancaster County (There is also a York County). I was the first in my line not to be born in Virginia, my father having moved all of ten miles across the state line. But I live in Virginia now.

      Flora MacDonald, who claimed to have helped Bonnie Prince Charles escape after losing the battle of Culloden, moved to North Carolina and lived there for a number of years. But she was a loyalist and returned to Scotland.

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    2. Been living in Middleburg for 35 years. It used to feel very much like England. Now starting to feel a bit like the Hamptons. Or maybe the Cotswolds on a good day.

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    3. BlueTrain, yes, I definitely agree with you on your eastern VA comments. I'm all the way over here in Roanoke which has quite a different, far more recent feel to it, but there are a few, nice oldish neighborhoods and a couple of nice college campuses to wander around. Anything beyond Charlottesville is like Out West! I miss the old buildings, etc, but the land is grand around here, so that's a compensation!

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  14. We seem to like Anglophilia "light." Many of us tend to wear our tweeds in American cuts and tailoring, to favor button downs over traditional collar tattersalls, and not to wear typically English combinations. We like our tea, but too many of us think high tea is afternoon tea at the Four Seasons rather than Heinz beans on toast and a boiled egg. We enjoy church bells but have no idea how change ringing works. We know our Episcopalian hymns but do a poor job with Jerusalem. We read British mysteries but are not schooled in Macaulay.

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    1. That is a very shrewd obsevation regarding the difference between afternoon tea and high tea. Even in the U.K. you have to be of a certain age or brought up in particular areas to understand the difference.

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  15. Being an Anglophile is rather universal, no matter where one lives or what nationality. This website, as someone already pointed out, remains "a comfortable, familiar corner in an increasingly unpleasant physical world", promoting by the way a wonderful British craftsmanship, tradition and culture. One of the reasons we are here. Thank you!

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  16. Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful moms in the world!!!

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  17. It's a happy exchange. At Oxford in the 1970s American grad students rushed to acquire Harris tweed jackets, while British undergrads hustled to Camden market [north London] to find second-hand seersucker jackets shipped by the container-load,

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  18. As a Brit who immigrated to the US as a child, we've always been surprised at the sort of mystique that people attribute to most things British - but then again, no one does pomp and circumstance quite as well (Royal weddings are a must-see in our house), and it must be said that everything sounds somehow smarter when spoken with a British accent! We enjoy tea, trifle and Christmas crackers. We have subscriptions to BritBox and Acorn, as well as The English Home magazine. My dad used to love bell ringing, and did so at Groton, the Old North Church (where you could see Paul Revere's initials carved into the rafters) and Beacon Hill's Church of the Advent. My husband, a retired lawyer, is now a deacon in the Anglican church. (Our original church building was actually bombed by the British in The Burning of Falmouth (now Portland) in 1775.) While Camden no longer has British Tweeds (or sadly, the Admiral's Buttons) we do have Bridgham & Cook in Freeport for all things British (including Barbour coats, PG Tips, Bird's Custard Powder, Branston Pickle and Jelly Babies), which is always hopping. As so often happens when life turns full circle, after going to art school in London, our daughter has now married and made a life in quintessential rural England (Norfolk). She loves to walk around in her LL Bean boots, Harvard hockey sweater (courtesy of dad) and other American "comfort clothes," and we have a young British friend doing his PG year at a New England boarding school who is taking home trunk loads of everything Vineyard Vines, so it's a "happy exchange" indeed!

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  19. Northern Westchester is fortunate in having a wonderful British shop in Mt. Kisco called The Hamlet that sells all sorts of Brit. goodies. No clothing though but there is a wonderful selection of vinyl records displayed in a big walk-in vault belonging to the previous tenant, a bank.

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