Tag Archives: history

UK Bank Holidays

Today is the May Day Bank Holiday here in the UK, so I thought I would look at the history of why we have these public holidays.

I was sure that the commonly held belief  of why ‘bank holidays’ are so called was incorrect, and it appears that Wikipedians confirm this assumption: “Bank holidays are often assumed to be so called because they are days upon which banks are shut, but this is not in fact the case”. However, I found the reason behind bank holiday legislation fascinating and very… British:

In 1871, the first legislation relating to bank holidays was passed when Sir John Lubbock introduced the Bank Holidays Act 1871 […]. Sir John was an enthusiastic supporter of cricket and was firmly of the belief that bank employees should have the opportunity to participate in and attend matches when they were scheduled. Included in the dates of bank holidays are therefore dates when cricket games were traditionally played between the villages in the region where Sir John was raised. The English people were so thankful that they called the first Bank Holidays ‘St. Lubbock’s Days’.

The Evolution of Language

Bartleby, the free (as in beer) ‘Internet publisher’, has available a fascinating graphic depicting the evolution of language (all those stemming from the single Proto-Indo-European language, anyway).

Now I know the historic route of my native tongue (as opposed to my cradle tongue), Welsh: it’s closest ‘relatives’ are Cornish and Breton (in that order) as they are all Brythonic languages that in turn stem from Insular Celtic.

Update: It appears the original has been removed/taken down. I’ve updated the link above to point to a local copy.