Summer Bank Holiday

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In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland there are several public holidays each year which are called bank holidays. But what do holidays have to do with banks?

It all began in 1871, with a man called Sir John Lubbock. Sir John was a Member of Parliament, a banker and a fan of cricket – a game which only the British understand. He suggested that people working in banks should be free on certain days to play and watch his favourite game, and Parliament passed a law which let them do so. Parliament later passed another law which gave everyone, not only bank employees, a right to the same days off.

Cricket is played when the weather is warm, so bank holidays are on the first Monday in May, the first Monday in June and the last Monday in August. In 1971 New Year’s Day and May Day were also made bank holidays, but nobody in Britain plays cricket in January!


Complete these sentences with words from the text.
  1. Bank holidays are __________ holidays, which means they are for everyone.
  2. The __________ of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom.
  3. Cricket was Sir John Lubbock’s __________ sport.
  4. If you are not British, it is difficult to __________ cricket.
  5. Sir John __________ that people working in banks should have time off for cricket.
  6. Laws were __________ to give the British people several days off.
  7. The __________ Monday in August is a bank holiday.
  8. Nobody __________ cricket in the winter.

Activities for the links below


The Notting Hill Carnival in London is just as colourful as 17 May celebrations anywhere in Norway, but the two events are very different. Read about the carnival by clicking on the first link. Then make a list of what the carnival is about, and another list in which you write about 17 May. Here is a suggestion for starting off:


17 May



All over Norway

Notting Hill, London, UK




How long?









What happens?



Etc, etc




When you click on the second link, you will discover that the UK is a strange country. Each part of it – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – has a certain amount of independence. This article is about St Andrew’s Day. Read it, and then correct the information in these sentences.

  1. It was the British Parliament at Westminster that decided 30 November should be a bank holiday in the UK.
  2. “Andrzejki” means “St Andrew’s Prayer” in French.
  3. If 30 November falls on a Sunday, the people of Scotland miss a day off.
  4. All banks in Scotland have to close on 30 November.
  5. If a building has one flagpole only, it has to fly the Union Flag on 30 November.
  6. Scottish girls believe that they can find their future husbands on St Andrew’s Day.
Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 25.05.2009

© Cappelen Damm AS