English Life and Leisure: A Social Study

By B. Seebohm Rowntree; G. R. Lavers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
HOW HONEST IS BRITAIN?

FOR generations past the British people have enjoyed a worldwide reputation for honesty, so great that, before the days of Exchange Control, an unknown Englishman's cheque would be accepted in almost any great city in the world. The idea of English integrity has been so high that it has even found expression in some foreign languages, such as the mot anglais of the French, to denote a promise that would not in any circumstances be broken.

In consequence of the long years of unquestioned integrity, the British have come to think of themselves as an absolutely honest nation, and to a very large extent that idea still prevails.

When considering the subjects we should deal with in this book, we thought that there would be no need for us to deal with the question of honesty, because, except for a small criminal class, we believed that people in Britain were honest. We were advised, however, not to take that fact as true without enquiring further about it, and the results of our enquiries are set out in this chapter.

It is stated in the Annual Abstract of Statistics that the indictable offences known by the police to have been committed in England and Wales rose from 266,165 in 1937, to 415,010 in 1944, to 498,576 in 1947, and to 522,684 in 1948. Apart from a drop of about 1 per cent from 1945 to 1946, there has been a steady rise in every year covered by the latest edition of the Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1938-48.

Although some of the offences are comparatively minor in nature, it is alarming to reflect that on the average one citizen in every 83 in England and Wales committed an indictable offence in 1948. Even worse is the high incidence of young persons among those guilty of these offences. Of all persons

-218-

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English Life and Leisure: A Social Study
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II- Commercialized Gambling 122
  • Chapter IV- Smoking 199
  • Chapter V- Sexual Promiscuity 203
  • Chapter VI- How Honest is Britain? 218
  • Chapter VII- The Cinema 228
  • Chapter VIII- The Stage 257
  • Chapter IX- Broadcasting 267
  • Chapter X- Dancing 279
  • Chapter XII- Adult Education 315
  • Chapter XIII- Religion 339
  • Chapter XIV- Leisure Time Activities in High Wycombe 375
  • Chapter XV- Leisure Time Pursuits in the Scandinavian Countries 415
  • Appendix I 465
  • Appendix II 469
  • Appendix III 472
  • Index 473
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