While British scientists, philosophers and artists have made some of the most important breakthroughs in the history of mankind, it turns out a lot of us don’t really know who they are.
A new survey has revealed that a quarter of Britons do not know what Charles Darwin (above) or Isaac Newton are famous for while 44 per cent didn’t know that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.
Here are the 11 famous Britons we know are famous, but not why
10=. Sir Charles Darwin (25% didn’t know what he was responsible for)
Key contributor to evolutionary theory and wrote On the Origins of Species
10=. Sir Isaac Newton (25%)
9. Sir Francis Drake (26%)
Explorer and sea captain who helped defeat the Spanish Armada in 1588
8. JMW Turner (28%)
British painter, considered to be one of the finest of all time
7. Sir Alexander Fleming (29%)
5=. Marie Stopes (33%)
Women’s rights campaigner and pioneer of birth control
5=. Oliver Cromwell (33%)
Military and political leader who defeated Charles I
4. Michael Faraday (35%)
Pioneer in the field of electricity
3. William Wilberforce (40%)
Politician who helped to abolish slavery
2. William Tyndale (43%)
First man to translate the Bible into English and led the Protestant reformation
1. Tim Berners-Lee (44%)
Inventor of the World Wide Web
The results of the research shows that there are so many Brits that have shaped the course of history with interesting stories to tell and, for whatever reason, they seem to have slipped out of our national consciousness.
From science to politics to the arts, we have so much to be proud of and it’s about time these great figures came back on our national radar and received the recognition they deserve.
Dr Paul Readman, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at King’s College London
One Poll surveyed 2,000 Britons to coincide with the 2 March release of Mr Turner on DVD and Blu-Ray.