These five things are synonymous with Chicago but could equally claim to be British. If they chose to make such a claim. Which they would NEVER DO. Obviously. Because they are only a teeny bit British and a LARGE BIT American. So let’s just all keep Britishly quiet and smugly polite about it ok?
What could be a more fitting icon for the Windy City than a giant bean? (parp) Technically speaking this stunning art instillation at the heart of Millennium Park is called “Cloud Gate” and technically speaking it is British as it was created by British artist Anish Kapoor. Kapoor also designed the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower for the London 2012 Olympic Park. The bean is less than ten years old (finished in 2006) yet is already as big a “must-see” tourist attraction as the skyscrapers that surround it.
The Willis Tower (AKA The Sears Tower)
This one you should definitely whisper about!! In fact, I don’t know a single Chicagoan that refers to the 108 storey skyscraper as anything other than the SEARS TOWER. The tower now officially takes the name of the British based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings who obtained naming rights as part of their 2009 lease agreement. Point this out to a Chicagoan at your peril! Better to remind them that the naming rights are only valid for 15 years so who knows, it could be called anything in 2024.
BBC: Chicago Sears Tower is Renamed:
The Buckingham Fountain and Queens Landing
This beautiful and very symbolic fountain has been a Chicago landmark since 1927 and was in fact designed by British architect Edward H. Bennett, a Bristol born designer and co-author of Daniel H. Burnham’s Plan of Chicago. Better still, if you walk directly across Lake Shore drive opposite the fountain to Monroe Harbor, you will be standing on Queen’s Landing. This is named after our very own Queen Elizabeth who disembarked here from the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1959 on her one and only trip to Chicago. She was here long enough to open a seaport and have dinner. Gawd bless er.
Chicago Sun Times: Why Queen’s Landing?:
The Chicago Cubs might well be one of the oldest baseball teams but a shock discovery in 2008 by sport historian David Block proved that the first recorded game of baseball (or bass-ball) was in fact played in Surrey in 1749 by the Prince of Wales. This means that the George III’s brother was playing ball twenty years before the Revolution. Holy cow!
BBC: Baseball: Prince of Wales played “first” game in Surrey:
OK OK calm down, this one is more than a bit tenuous so don’t panic, I’m not one of those “birther” conspirathists, we all know that Barack Obama was very much born in Hawaii (yes he was, here is his birth certificate). However, at his state visit to the UK in 2011, during dinner with The Queen he said (and I quote) “I bring warm greetings from tens of millions of Americans who claim British ancestry including me, on my mother’s family…” He then went of to totally f**k up his toast in a very un-Obama-like way. Worth a watch, if just for the look of wry amusement on Her Maj’s face.
Watch the full speech here on The Telegraph >>