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Source: (consider it) Thread: Christianity for the council estate
L'organist
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The overwhelming sense one gets from all layers of all churches is that Christianity is something that should be "done to" council estates. IMV this is offensive and patronising: the churches - all of them - should offer services (not just liturgies but other activities) to all and a genuine welcome to all. Will that work to bring "Christianity" to the council/social housing dweller? Don't know.

What I do know is that in a village such as where I play putting the church at the middle of village life - through things like Play-and-Praise for toddlers, carols in the middle of social housing (because there is a nice flat piece of grass with a light), harvest centred around offerings from local farmers, churchyard working parties, etc - is far more acceptable (and effective) and reaching out to the people in our social housing than anything amount of preaching.

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Martin60
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As long as the yearned for result of that and Messy Church isn't to get them to sign up for a concert interrupted by a lecture.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
The overwhelming sense one gets from all layers of all churches is that Christianity is something that should be "done to" council estates. IMV this is offensive and patronising: the churches - all of them - should offer services (not just liturgies but other activities) to all and a genuine welcome to all. Will that work to bring "Christianity" to the council/social housing dweller? Don't know.

It seems to me an undiscussed truism that unemployed and low income people don't have the time or mental energy to organise religion in this country. Unlike in years past when miners were well known as autodidacts and were took the lead in religious movements like Methodism, in the current era, if church isn't led by the educated, time rich and relatively well off, it doesn't happen at all.

This seems to particularly apply to the white poor - other ethnic communities seem to have considerably more stickability with regard to organising religion.

If a poor person doesn't like going to church run by a more wealthy, higher social class person (which is going to be a sizable proportion of white poor, if not other poor groups), then it doesn't matter how welcoming the church is.

quote:
What I do know is that in a village such as where I play putting the church at the middle of village life - through things like Play-and-Praise for toddlers, carols in the middle of social housing (because there is a nice flat piece of grass with a light), harvest centred around offerings from local farmers, churchyard working parties, etc - is far more acceptable (and effective) and reaching out to the people in our social housing than anything amount of preaching.
Mmm. I think village life is quite different to council estates. For one thing, even the poorest members of a village (who, by pressure of housing if nothing else are unlikely to be as poor as someone on an inner city council estate) are likely to participate in a parish church event. Because there often isn't anything else happening.

Larger villages and smaller towns in England do sometimes have areas of council housing, and my perception is that the parish church is usually as ineffective at reaching out to inhabitants there as in the inner cities.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
The overwhelming sense one gets from all layers of all churches is that Christianity is something that should be "done to" council estates. IMV this is offensive and patronising:

That's part of my point. My question also, though, is whether Bishop North has a point that nose-bleed high Anglo-Catholics are somehow better socially embedded than anyone else, or whether that's wishful thinking because he's a nose-bleed high Anglo-Catholic who happens to find himself suffragen bishop in a part of the country with a fairly high level of social disadvantage
quote:
the churches - all of them - should offer services (not just liturgies but other activities) to all and a genuine welcome to all.

But doesn't that describe 'doing things to' people, just the same, except using slightly different language?
quote:
Will that work to bring "Christianity" to the council/social housing dweller? Don't know.

What I do know is that in a village such as where I play putting the church at the middle of village life - through things like Play-and-Praise for toddlers, carols in the middle of social housing (because there is a nice flat piece of grass with a light), harvest centred around offerings from local farmers, churchyard working parties, etc - is far more acceptable (and effective) and reaching out to the people in our social housing than anything amount of preaching.

Alas, I think Mr Cheesy is right in saying that villages are different from large socially monochrome urban estates.


Gamaliel I think what you said about losing a sense of 'folk Anglicans' is quite interesting. Would I be right in suspecting that your grandparents attached importance to being churched?


I'm going to stick my neck out a bit on something else. There's a strong perception in church circles that the non-conformist denominations and Catholics have the edge on reaching the disadvantaged over the CofE. I slightly wonder if that might not be quite as so as we think.

There's no doubt that if you are a practicing Christian and class A, you are more likely to be CofE. It's that which gives the impression that the CofE is the church for the English equivalent of the crachach.

So, the other denominations look more C1/C2 than the CofE does. But apart from having more of the As, the bedrock of your typical CofE congregation is actually just as much C1/C2 as it is for everybody else. if you were to look at churchgoers as against the non-churchgoers, rather than comparing churchgoers, if you are C1 or C2 and a practicing Christian, I suspect you're just as likely to be CofE as anything else. And if you are D or E, I suspect that unless you belong to an ethnic group, you are no more likely to be a non-conformist than to be CofE.

[ 22. September 2017, 21:29: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Gamaliel
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My grandparents weren't 'practising' but some of my maternal grandfather's sisters were. He had 11 brothers and sisters who survived infancy.

When I knew them they tended to receive communion at home. My great-aunt Nell was severely limited in her movements due to cerebral palsy. At her funeral the vicar said he'd learned more about patience and long-suffering from her than anything he'd been taught in seminary.

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Gamaliel
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My father's side of the family were nominally non-conformist.

They were Baptists but his father had become a 'free-thinker' and his mother wasn't interested. She kids to Sunday school at Ebenezer Two-Locks but didn't go herself.

My family were an interesting mix of dirt-poor working class and aspirational shop-keeper types. My grandmother on my mother's side came from a line of bicycle manufacturers who eventually fell on hard times.

So we were a mixed bag.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

I'm going to stick my neck out a bit on something else. There's a strong perception in church circles that the non-conformist denominations and Catholics have the edge on reaching the disadvantaged over the CofE. I slightly wonder if that might not be quite as so as we think.

There's no doubt that if you are a practicing Christian and class A, you are more likely to be CofE. It's that which gives the impression that the CofE is the church for the English equivalent of the crachach.

So, the other denominations look more C1/C2 than the CofE does. But apart from having more of the As, the bedrock of your typical CofE congregation is actually just as much C1/C2 as it is for everybody else. if you were to look at churchgoers as against the non-churchgoers, rather than comparing churchgoers, if you are C1 or C2 and a practicing Christian, I suspect you're just as likely to be CofE as anything else. And if you are D or E, I suspect that unless you belong to an ethnic group, you are no more likely to be a non-conformist than to be CofE.

At a certain point in history British Nonconformity probably had a considerably higher percentage of less advantaged members or affiliates in its ranks than the CofE, but the CofE's surely always had the greatest absolute numbers of such people, simply by virtue of being the national church and having the widest coverage.

I should think that disadvantaged members and adherents are less significant among the Nonconformists than among the CofE nowadays. This is because Nonconformists have been upwardly mobile in a way that doesn't seem so apparent in the CofE. And also, Nonconformity (with the exception of the Baptists) has shrunk so much faster than the CofE, probably losing far more people at both the top and the bottom.

The question now is whether newer groups have partially taken over from some of the historical denominations when it comes to working class churchgoing.

For example, I've noticed that on some current and previous council estates in my city, you're as likely to find a Jehovah's Witness temple or a small independent chapel as you are to find a CofE or RCC church. (The Nonconformists are absent, unless they meet privately.)

As for the RCs, my understanding is that their working class contingent has mostly been foreign or of foreign descent since the 19th c. That certainly seems true today.

[ 23. September 2017, 13:56: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
... As for the RCs, my understanding is that their working class contingent has mostly been foreign or of foreign descent since the 19th c. That certainly seems true today.

In the C19 and early C20 the RCC was largely perceived as the church for immigrant Irish workers. Even the English recusants complained of being swamped. However, there has always been much more Irish middle class movement than people have noticed.

Catholic churches often provide separate masses in languages like Polish. Nevertheless, there are plenty of Catholic congregations which are every bit as middle class as neighbouring CofE ones, even if quite a lot of the surnames are Irish.

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Forthview
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I always thought that until at least the early 1920s Ireland was considered as part,politically,of Great Britain and a fief of the English crown. why , then ,are Irish people described as foreigners, when they were considered to be citizens and subjects of the English crown ?

On a separate note I was on the island of Jersey last weekend. In St Helier there were two principal Catholic churches, one in the past for French speakers and the other for English speakers. The French has gone now but the main church has at the weekend three Masses in English, one in Portuguese and one in Polish. The principal English language Mass also has the Gospel and the notices read in Portuguese.

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SvitlanaV2
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Enoch

I wonder if the middle class Irish RCs were middle class when they arrived, or if they became so after coming to the UK.

The claim has been made that among immigrant churchgoers those who progress socially are more likely to remain within the church than those who don't. So although the assumption is that black British churchgoers are working class, for example, they may well be more educationally and professionally successful overall than those who don't go. The same may be true for RC immigrants who continue as churchgoers.

It's not surprising, I suppose.


Forthview

The British usually take a more limiting view of who belongs. When the Windrush generation arrived from the Caribbean in the late 1940s-early 1960s they were viewed as immigrants, despite being British subjects.

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Enoch
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Although they came from what was then just another part of the UK, In the C19, Irish workers were definitely regarded as migrants, even if it was accepted they were not foreigners. Even people from other parts of England were likely to be regarded in much the same way. There were fights between groups of railway navvies who stuck together according to where they'd come from.

I think you're right Svitlana that many Irish Catholics who originally migrated as workers and their families have moved up the social scale and become middle class. However, there has definitely all along been a significant but less noticed movement of Catholics from Ireland to mainland Britain who were already middle class in Ireland and did middle class things when they got to mainland Britain. That is still the case now.

In the same way, everybody always assumes that British people who emigrated to Australia, Canada etc in the C19 and did well when they got there were originally the downtrodden or even convicts. But there was a very substantial emigration of middle class professionals, engineers, lawyers, doctors etc in the C19 who formed the basis of those sectors in what eventually became the dominions.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
In the same way, everybody always assumes that British people who emigrated to Australia, Canada etc in the C19 and did well when they got there were originally the downtrodden or even convicts. But there was a very substantial emigration of middle class professionals, engineers, lawyers, doctors etc in the C19 who formed the basis of those sectors in what eventually became the dominions.

Yes indeed, including scions of such families as the de Montforts and Fairfaxes to name a couple.

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Bishops Finger
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Re council estates, in Ukland at least they've changed somewhat in most places since the heady days of the 1950s, full employment, 'You've never had it so good', etc.

Our Place isn't a council estate as such - mostly early 20th C terraced houses, plus some 1920s/30s semis/terraces - but certainly working-class (and amongst the top 10% in the country in terms of poverty and deprivation). Looking at parish profiles (the adverts C of E churches publish when they're looking for a new Vicar), ISTM that, no matter what the churchmanship of the parish may be, the regular congregation is going to be smallish compared to those in leafy suburbs.

In our case, the stable, established, English working-class families have been to a large extent replaced by families from Foreign Parts, students (also from Foreign Parts), a leavening of English one-parent families, and a few older people. This morning's Eucharist had a congregation of people from Hungary, Russia, Angola, the Philippines, Portugal, Poland, the West Indies, and Nigeria (as well as some native Uklanders, too, but the Latvian contingent was missing). All these people live within or just outside our small parish, and I suspect that we are by no means unusual.

(I can now say 'Good Morning' in Yoruba, Tagalog, Magyar, Polish, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Latvian....

Why we have no Scandinavians or Indians, I know not. Seems unfair, somehow...).

IJ

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wild haggis
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Sorry Mt Cheesy if I offended you. But I just found the arguments somewhat tedious and steriotypical.

I don't think that dividing people up into working class/middle class, is relevant today. What do we mean by middle class and how many types of middle class are there anyway?
One of my so called "middle class" friends earns a lot less than another "middle class" friend. They both own houses. One struggles and one is comfortable. They aren't the same and both have completely different tastes in lifestyle, music, communication etc.
If we beholden to upper/middle/working class, we are missing out the homeless. They are people too - they usually don't work (although in today's society some do - especially in London).

Many sociologists today posit more than 1 "working" classification. We need to be more nuanced. Pre-1960s and dialectical definitions don't work in 2017.

Council estates can, and usually do have a mixture of people, some having bought their houses and comfortable and some really struggling, some unemployed.The one I grew up in was very mixed and the one where we work is also mixed. Pigeon holing people makes divisions.

Surely we should be communicating what Christianity is about in language and methods that people can relate to, no matter what their sociological division is? It may be different in one location from another - so what!

I couldn't care what denomination Christians are from, or what their style of worship. They need to engage with people, talk to them and listen to them. Then design worship that will be meaningful to the location and people they are with.

Walsingham.......don't think you will get many "working class" (whatever that means), travelling from Scotland and Wales and the far south- West of England. Too expensive! Nice place though. I like it at the old ruins, down where the pools are.

I think folks who are too wedded to their style of worship, thinking it is the only way, may get a shock when they get to heaven.

(By the way sorry for the spelling. I'm dyslexic and there ain't no spell checks on SofF.....hint, hint)

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wild haggis

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keibat
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To be pedantic: Forthview wrote:
quote:
I always thought that until at least the early 1920s Ireland was considered as part,politically,of Great Britain and a fief of the English crown.
'Great Britain' is the name of a rather large island, which includes the countries of Scotland, Wales, and England. 'Ireland' is the name of an also quite large island situated a tad further west, which includes the Irish Republic and the UK Province of Northern Ireland. Ireland was – OK; 'fief' is technically wrong, but it'll do – a fief of the English Crown from the medieval period through to 1800, when it was fully incorporated into the United Kingdom, and remained so until the partition of Ireland between the 26 counties of the predominantly Roman Catholic south and the 6 counties of the predominantly protestant north in 1920/21. The Free State in the south was initially intended (by the British) to be a somewhat Canada-like Dominion still under the Crown, but it unilaterally declared itself a Republic in 1936 (which the British graciously recognized some 12 years later); the north has passed through various versions of self-government as a Province within the UK.

'Ireland' is of course often used as a convenient name for the Republic, but it often becomes necessary to specify whether you mean only the Republic, or the whole Island of Ireland. If you want a convenient wordname for the UK, 'Britain' is OK, but 'Great Britain' is factually (geographically) incorrect, since it doesn't include Northern Ireland.

Because of this complex interwoven history, and although the Republic is not a member state of the Commonwealth, citizens of the Irish Republic resident within the UK have full citizens' rights within the UK; however, the Republic and the UK are both so-called 'sovereign states', and so at least in some respects Irish citizens are indeed 'foreign'.

However, xenophobia is usually not really about people's passports, but perceived cultural incompatibility. 'Irish' migrants who moved to work in Great Britain, especially after the Potato Famine in the 1840s, were predominantly unskilled and Roman Catholic and typically ended up in manual labouring jobs or domestic service. Protestants from Ireland, especially if Anglican, were however known as Anglo-Irish, and were equatable with Colonials from the Dominions of the Empire, i.e. respectable. So historical anti-Irish prejudice is a compound of religious and class-based prejudices.

The Little Englanders now have much more exciting Foreigners to despise – persons of colour from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean; or persons of strange tongues from far-eastern Europe.

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simontoad
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Enoch, your codes are confusing to me. I know what C19 means, but I'm betting that C1 and C2 don't mean the first and second centuries. You also used a word that seemed like something the US President would tweet while having a minor stroke.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
Enoch, your codes are confusing to me. I know what C19 means, but I'm betting that C1 and C2 don't mean the first and second centuries. You also used a word that seemed like something the US President would tweet while having a minor stroke.

C19 means nineteenth century. As far as I know, that abbreviation is universal. C1 and C2 could mean 1st and 2nd century in a different context, but here are part of a standard sociological classification A-E used in this country, among others by the Office of National Statistics. Here is a description. Most British people will understand them, even if they disagree with them or don't like the concept. I can see that someone from somewhere else might have a problem understanding them.

I can't give a translation of whichever word Mr Trump might tweet unless you tell me which word, as I can't guess from your comment which word or phrase you are referring to.

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Aravis
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Wild haggis, there are definitely working class Anglicans who travel from Cardiff to Walsingham, as long as a priest organises a coach. A church where I played the organ some years ago used to love the Walsingham trips. Many of the congregation were on benefits and those who were working were mostly in low paid jobs (cleaner, call centre etc). They used to save up for the coach fare.
The parishes in the south of Cardiff are traditionally poor and Anglo-Catholic. As far as I know, all the revamping of Cardiff Bay hasn't altered that. I'd be interested to know if any of the residents in the nice new gated flats go to church, and if so, where.

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Thurible
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quote:
Originally posted by Holy Smoke:
quote:
Originally posted by Rocinante:
I think it's generalising wildly (and very patronising) to describe Anglo-Catholicism as the true expression of working-class Christianity. Possibly the case in Oxford or London, but in the North of England Methodism has historically done well in the mill towns; in Wales non-conformist chapels have dominated the scene.

If a working-class person attended one of the central Oxford Anglican churches, they would stick out like a sore thumb (the Anglo-Catholic establishments included).
I'm one of those working class people who left a council estate and went off to posh universities and ended up speaking posh and eating guacamole so I probably don't count according to some assessments. However, in a central Anglican church in Oxford I'm very familiar with, I can think of several working class people who are very much "traditional working class" and who are as valued as the poshoes. Admittedly, there are more poshoes but that's a result of the changing demographic of the area.

Thurible

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Bishops Finger
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And demographics on former 'working-class' estates are changing rapidly, as I pointed out earlier.

(BTW, welcome back, Thurible!)

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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L'organist
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Aravis
Thinking of Roath, eh? St Saviour's Splott, St Margaret's, St German's and St Martin's, to name a few. <tangent> St Martin's has a very fine mosaic of Christ Pantocrator which was blessed by Rowan ++

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Baptist Trainfan
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You are of course right about those places .... my son, when living in the area, sometimes attended one of these (St. German's, I think). However when people think "council estate" they are usually thinking of large peripheral estates built in the 1930s or more recently, such as St. Mellons or Pentwyn, and I'm not sure if the churches in such areas are as "high". Perhaps the period when the houses and churches were built has something to do with it.

(Having said that, the part of London where I grew up had a large 1920s LCC estate adjacent, and both Anglican churches within it were A-C).

And don't forget the Nonconformists (though Splott Baptist church has just closed)! Perhaps there has always been a range of churchmanship in most places.

[ 27. September 2017, 07:37: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Thurible:
quote:
Originally posted by Holy Smoke:
quote:
Originally posted by Rocinante:
I think it's generalising wildly (and very patronising) to describe Anglo-Catholicism as the true expression of working-class Christianity. Possibly the case in Oxford or London, but in the North of England Methodism has historically done well in the mill towns; in Wales non-conformist chapels have dominated the scene.

If a working-class person attended one of the central Oxford Anglican churches, they would stick out like a sore thumb (the Anglo-Catholic establishments included).
I'm one of those working class people who left a council estate and went off to posh universities and ended up speaking posh and eating guacamole so I probably don't count according to some assessments. However, in a central Anglican church in Oxford I'm very familiar with, I can think of several working class people who are very much "traditional working class" and who are as valued as the poshoes. Admittedly, there are more poshoes but that's a result of the changing demographic of the area.

Thurible

Good Grief - hello Thurible, I'd often wondered where you'd got to!

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And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1439 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Jane R
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wild haggis:
quote:
I don't think that dividing people up into working class/middle class, is relevant today. What do we mean by middle class and how many types of middle class are there anyway?
Sociologists are still using 'class' as a way of dividing different subcultures within a nation, though, and according to the Great British Class Survey run by the BBC in 2013 there are seven different classes. Two are actually labelled 'middle class', though some members of other groupings might consider themselves to be culturally middle class.

Class has never been only about money. Not in the UK, anyway.

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