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The World in the UK

01 September 2011

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Brick LaneBrick Lane

One of my favourite themes for ‘Discovering Places’ is ‘The World in the UK’, and its related project ‘Walk the World’, which we are presenting in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (RGS).  This all stems from an idea of our Project Director, Ian Lush, who, early on in the life of ‘Discovering Places’, thought that it would be interesting to see if we could identify, with the help of the Great British Public, physical manifestations of all 205 Olympic Nations somewhere within the UK.

What do we mean by ‘physical manifestations’?  Well, these need to be fixed, not movable, but can be abstract, such as an area or place name (‘Little Germany’ in Bradford comes to mind) or more tangible, such as a monument or building.  We are also interested in food, of course, and will be looking at the myriad of different world cuisines which can be found in distinct areas of the UK, in plants such as those in the many wonderful botanic gardens, and in the movements of peoples as shown in language and customs represented in our truly multi-cultural country.

Little Germany, Bradford

In October the RGS will be launching the Walk the World website.  An interactive world map will plot out the links to the 205 Olympic Nations and help you craft your local walks through the nations.

To get things started however, we’ll need your help.  Let us know about the places in your area which have a direct and perhaps unexpected connection with a country on the other side of the world, or one of our European neighbours.  Upload your sightings and links here on our blog site and get the conversation started and the RGS will also put them on the Walk the World map in time for their October launch.

Finding representations of all 205 nations in as many different parts of the UK as possible will be a real challenge, but with your help we know we can succeed!

Happy exploring.

Lord Grossman, Chair, The Heritage Alliance.

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