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What are the traits of the British upper middle class? Watch

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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    - Very good income ranging from ~80k+ to millions.
    - Private school
    - Top 20 Uni, favourite degrees being PPE, followed by History
    - Mummy or Daddy will land them a ridiculously good job at the end of said degree.
    - Will do rowing, gym, polo, lacrosse, and rugby
    - Speak correct English and/or speak like the Queen
    - Will go skiing at some point, and holidays will be anywhere nice which the average person can not afford
    - Normally very confident, out spoken, opinionated, ambitious, and have a good work ethic.

    All live down south or in one or two bastions of civilisation in the North eg. Cheshire.
    I think quite a few of those points sound like the upper classes. I would say for example that "speak like the Queen" is not something that defines the upper-middles these days. I went to a very posh school surrounded by people from the high parts of the middle class (and from some families too rich to be any part of the middle class) and actually the differences are a little hazy in many cases, because loads of kids subscribe to a general dress code and way of talking, the same gadgets, hair, etc, so that it's hard to define. Maybe it gets more kind of separated out as you get older?
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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    - Very good income ranging from ~80k+ to millions.
    - Private school
    - Top 20 Uni, favourite degrees being PPE, followed by History
    - Mummy or Daddy will land them a ridiculously good job at the end of said degree.
    - Will do rowing, gym, polo, lacrosse, and rugby
    - Speak correct English and/or speak like the Queen
    - Will go skiing at some point, and holidays will be anywhere nice which the average person can not afford
    - Normally very confident, out spoken, opinionated, ambitious, and have a good work ethic.

    All live down south or in one or two bastions of civilisation in the North eg. Cheshire.
    Remember that while the British upper middle-class and the upper-class are two different kettles of fish, there are some similarities. For instance, Oxbridge and a handful of top tier universities such as Durham, Bristol, UCL, Kings, Imperial, and Exeter are the major universities of choice for both groups. One or two of the Scottish universities might qualify in this category too.

    Both groups tend to dominate certain departments, particularly within the arts and humanities. Reading History, of course, immediately comes to mind as the typical top pick amongst the posh. History, English, Philosophy, Art History, French, etc. are normally dominated by affluent people of old-line wealth. Most lecturers in these disciplines, you will find, are usually themselves the sons and daughters of rather wealthy parents. Even in the lesser rated universities this is true to some degree, as many starting lecturers and even those with some reputation within their field will often choose to teach in provincial locations, particularly if these locales are their home base.

    The major difference, of course, between the upper-class and the upper-middle-class is that the upper class may choose to work for a living, whereas the upper-middle-class must work for a living in order to maintain their lifestyle. Nevertheless, both are usually educated at the same usual list of public schools and universities. Both are virtually guaranteed secure, well-paid employment upon graduation, generally with the help of extensive family connections, and both have the means to establish themselves independently well before they reach their 30s. Therefore, this element of society reproduces itself from one generation to the next.

    The typical upper-middle class girl would come from the Home Counties, most notably Surrey, Berks, or Bucks. Her father might be a barrister in the City and her mother a lecturer of English Literature at a posh university like, say Kings. She would attend an independent all-girls school (some parents would even have the means for her to board) like say, St Swithun's or St Paul's if she is a London girl. She invariable would take a gap year somewhere abroad, but nothing too extravagant, and then once she is through saving the planet she would start reading History at let's say, Magadalen College, Oxford. After graduation with a First she would most probably either go down the route toward academia or get a job with a City firm with the help of her father. Before this age of austerity she probably would have found a high profile career at the BBC or the Foreign Office.

    Now, let's compare her to a upper-class girl. Daddy would be a director of a multi-national corporation where he earns millions of pounds a year to 'manage'. Mummy would be engaged in charity work. They would all live happily in a very large manse in the country, let's say Devon, Cornwall, or Gloucester. She would, of course, board at somewhere like St Swithun's or maybe one or two notches up like one of the real expensive boarding schools in Switzerland. Wherever she attends, it is automatically assumed she will board. Only upper-middle-class girls are 'Day Girls'. After graduation would come the Grand Tour around the world. If she does have any smarts she would go on to study Art History at Oxford and just bide her time till some double-barrelled chinless wonder asks for her hand in marriage. At which time she would resume the work free life of her mother, and the chinless wonder husband would take a position in one of the banks in the City.

    That is your major differences between these two groups, but as I said in the beginning: there is not a hell of a lot of difference. Nevertheless, you can bet each knows their place and where they fit in.
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    (Original post by sydney_watts)
    Remember that while the British upper middle-class and the upper-class are two different kettles of fish, there are some similarities. For instance, Oxbridge and a handful of top tier universities such as Durham, Bristol, UCL, Kings, Imperial, and Exeter are the major universities of choice for both groups. One or two of the Scottish universities might qualify in this category too.

    Both groups tend to dominate certain departments, particularly within the arts and humanities. Reading History, of course, immediately comes to mind as the typical top pick amongst the posh. History, English, Philosophy, Art History, French, etc. are normally dominated by affluent people of old-line wealth. Most lecturers in these disciplines, you will find, are usually themselves the sons and daughters of rather wealthy parents. Even in the lesser rated universities this is true to some degree, as many starting lecturers and even those with some reputation within their field will often choose to teach in provincial locations, particularly if these locales are their home base.

    The major difference, of course, between the upper-class and the upper-middle-class is that the upper class may choose to work for a living, whereas the upper-middle-class must work for a living in order to maintain their lifestyle. Nevertheless, both are usually educated at the same usual list of public schools and universities. Both are virtually guaranteed secure, well-paid employment upon graduation, generally with the help of extensive family connections, and both have the means to establish themselves independently well before they reach their 30s. Therefore, this element of society reproduces itself from one generation to the next.

    The typical upper-middle class girl would come from the Home Counties, most notably Surrey, Berks, or Bucks. Her father might be a barrister in the City and her mother a lecturer of English Literature at a posh university like, say Kings. She would attend an independent all-girls school (some parents would even have the means for her to board) like say, St Swithun's or St Paul's if she is a London girl. She invariable would take a gap year somewhere abroad, but nothing too extravagant, and then once she is through saving the planet she would start reading History at let's say, Magadalen College, Oxford. After graduation with a First she would most probably either go down the route toward academia or get a job with a City firm with the help of her father. Before this age of austerity she probably would have found a high profile career at the BBC or the Foreign Office.

    Now, let's compare her to a upper-class girl. Daddy would be a director of a multi-national corporation where he earns millions of pounds a year to 'manage'. Mummy would be engaged in charity work. They would all live happily in a very large manse in the country, let's say Devon, Cornwall, or Gloucester. She would, of course, board at somewhere like St Swithun's or maybe one or two notches up like one of the real expensive boarding schools in Switzerland. Wherever she attends, it is automatically assumed she will board. Only upper-middle-class girls are 'Day Girls'. After graduation would come the Grand Tour around the world. If she does have any smarts she would go on to study Art History at Oxford and just bide her time till some double-barrelled chinless wonder asks for her hand in marriage. At which time she would resume the work free life of her mother, and the chinless wonder husband would take a position in one of the banks in the City.

    That is your major differences between these two groups, but as I said in the beginning: there is not a hell of a lot of difference. Nevertheless, you can bet each knows their place and where they fit in.
    From the sounds of it you've never left your council estate.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    From the sounds of it you've never left your council estate.
    Nah, what they said made a lot of sense.
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    (Original post by RibenaRockstar)
    Nah, what they said made a lot of sense.
    He strung together a lot of stereotypes. I've met a lot of these people and by some definitions am one; it's to real life as airport spy thrillers are to working for the NSA screening transcripts of a billion banal phone calls.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    He strung together a lot of stereotypes. I've met a lot of these people and by some definitions am one; it's to real life as airport spy thrillers are to working for the NSA screening transcripts of a billion banal phone calls.
    You have first hand knowledge of working for the NSA screening banal phone calls? Do tell. :call2:
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    You have first hand knowledge of working for the NSA screening banal phone calls? Do tell. :call2:
    If I told you, I'd have to kill you
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    If I told you, I'd have to kill you
    I am speaking to you from a secure location in Moscow Airport. Beyond your reach. :cyber::cookie:
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    He strung together a lot of stereotypes. I've met a lot of these people and by some definitions am one; it's to real life as airport spy thrillers are to working for the NSA screening transcripts of a billion banal phone calls.
    You're missing the whole point I was trying to get across, friend. I was intentionally using blatant stereotypes in order to illustrate a rather complex point. I realise it is much more nuanced than the way I am describing it here, but I was trying to paint a simple picture so the viewers can see that not all 'posh' people are like-minded spirits within one social set, yet at the same time, in their preparatory years they are often placed together in the same institutions.
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    (Original post by sydney_watts)
    You're missing the whole point I was trying to get across, friend. I was intentionally using blatant stereotypes in order to illustrate a rather complex point. I realise it is much more nuanced than the way I am describing it here, but I was trying to paint a simple picture so the viewers can see that not all 'posh' people are like-minded spirits within one social set, yet at the same time, in their preparatory years they are often placed together in the same institutions.
    In short, you were writing a brief social satire. It was rather fun. :cool:
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    (Original post by the bear)
    They are white;

    The older males tend to be called Geoffrey

    The older females tend to be called Amelia

    The older males work in the Civil Service

    The older females do not work or if they do it is Good Work for charities

    Their children are called Giles and Electra

    They live in the Home Counties ( excluding Essex of course )

    They have a labrador called Timmy

    They have an amusing cottage in Normandy ( not the Dordogne of course )

    ....
    We have a few. Especially in the areas around Epping and North West Essex.
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    (Original post by Greenlaner)
    We have a few. Especially in the areas around Epping and North West Essex.
    Say it ain't so

    :eek:
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    In short, you were writing a brief social satire. It was rather fun. :cool:

    For my next trick I will examine what differentiates the British upper-middle-class from the lower-middle-class.....
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    (Original post by sydney_watts)
    For my next trick I will examine what differentiates the British upper-middle-class from the lower-middle-class.....
    The whole class-obsessed TSR community awaits your writings with what I can only describe as 'mounting hysteria'. :eek:
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    (Original post by sydney_watts)
    For my next trick I will examine what differentiates the British upper-middle-class from the lower-middle-class.....
    we'd better get out the doilies
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    (Original post by Jimbo1234)
    - Very good income ranging from ~80k+ to millions.
    - Private school
    - Top 20 Uni, favourite degrees being PPE, followed by History
    - Mummy or Daddy will land them a ridiculously good job at the end of said degree.
    - Will do rowing, gym, polo, lacrosse, and rugby
    - Speak correct English and/or speak like the Queen
    - Will go skiing at some point, and holidays will be anywhere nice which the average person can not afford
    - Normally very confident, out spoken, opinionated, ambitious, and have a good work ethic.

    All live down south or in one or two bastions of civilisation in the North eg. Cheshire.

    First off, a special hello to fullofsurprises and the bear. Your sarcasm is always welcome.

    I thought I would focus a little on the above listed message posted earlier. As a born and bred member of the British upper-middle-class I thought these snippets were basically true, albeit pure stereotype. But let's face it folks, stereotypes do exist for a reason. They are perceptions shared by a number of people. It doesn't mean they're true, of course, but it does mean some people share these interpretations.

    Okay, with the requisite political correctness disclaimer out of the way let us continue, shall we?

    -Point No. 1 = Private School....Definitely! And the older the institution and more exclusive the better. Single-sex, C of E, south of England and boarding are the gold standard. However, in today's reality the boarding part of this is becoming less common, at least amongst native English upper-middle-class - the professional segment of this class especially. It is less so amongst the managerial wing of the upper middle-class, however, as austerity has been less noticeable to most of this element. Then again, many top flight managers now have the ability to buy their way into the upper-class. Peerages, titles and vast land holdings are all up for sale in 21st Century Britain.

    -Point No. 2 - Top 20 Uni, with special emphasis on the arts and humanities.....I'm almost inclined to say this is even more ubiquitous amongst the upper-class, but we must remember, whatever is in fashion amongst the aristocratic set also becomes trendy with the petty bourgeoisie. I would argue the field of universities is a bit more reigned in than the top 20. Well of course you have the 'without question group'. Anybody would recognise that elite group to include Oxford (Certain colleges especially, such as Magdalen, Christ Church, Brasenose), Cambridge (Corpus Christie, Gonville & Caius, Magdalene), Durham, Bristol, Exeter, Kings, UCL, Imperial, and LSE. And to a lesser extent, Manchester, Liverpool (History programme is well regarded despite having a rather Bolshy rep), and Sheffield. Preferred courses of study are typically History, English, Philosophy, Art History, or French. Medicine and Law, of course, are old standbys too. Reading one of the Arts and Humanities have always been associated with posh students, but in the top flight universities in Britain (especially England) the sons and daughters of the nation's wealthiest 5% virtually dominate these programmes on every level. You really have to search hard to find a working-class or lower-middle-class person who is a lecturer, post-graduate or under-graduate student in any of the elite British universities. Most of the working-class and lowe-middle-class gravitate toward the hard sciences, engineering, medicine, business studies - something vocational.

    -Point No 3 - Mummy and Daddy will land them a job after graduation.....Sad but true. I can assure you that very few, if any, of this class of graduates wind up scouring situation vacant adverts down at the local Job Centre. The sons and daughters of the Home Counties bourgeoisie will always land on their feet. Most will be financially independent enough by their late 20s, that a mortgage, a car, and the realistic possibility of a formal marriage ceremony are taken for granted.

    -Point No 4 - Sports of choice....All of those listed are about right. Swimming, lacrosse, and anything to with horses is very popular with the ladies, while cricket, sailing, and polo are big hits with the men. Both sexes will excel at tennis and golf.

    -Point No 5 - Accents....Received Pronunciation is back in style, despite the popularity of Mockney and Estuary Englsh amongst the City boys during the 1990s and 2000s. Posh is 'in' these days.

    -Point No 6. Skiing Holidays, etc....Goes without saying. At least 1 or 2 different holidays abroad per year. Skiing in France or America in the winter, Sailing in the Caribbean in the Spring, and Summers in the family holiday home in Provence or Tuscany are a must.

    -Point No 7 - Self-confidence, etc.....Maybe too much self-confidence, some would argue. A little bit more humility would be nice, but don't count on it in your dealings with an upper-middle-class teenager or early 20 something. Those expensive educations and the security that comes with being part of the establishment can sometimes ferment arrogance and snobbery.


    That's my take on this whole class issue. Critics: commence fire!
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    With regard to annual income, I'd say most fall within the £100,000 - £250,000 range. Since they almost exclusively live in the Southeast (There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as the up-scale villages of Cheshire, just outside Greater Manchester, and in the tony towns of North Yorkshire), much of their relatively high salaries are eaten up in housing costs. Consequently, after paying the mortgage on a 4 bedroom detached in leafy Surrey or Berks, the costs of maintaining the family holiday home in Provence, the children's school fees, the payments on the wife's Range Rover and husband's Jag, the annual dues at the Golf Club, the money needed to maintain and update the socially required high-couture, a well plensihed wine stock and the obligatory foreign holiday or two, often means this class is struggling to maintain appearances on their seemingly high incomes. Another consideration one must remember when discussing the culture of this class is the fact that since the Home Counties are the major encampment for Britain's upper-middle-class, they become a very London-centric group in nature. The remainder of the country is politely referred to as 'the Provinces', but more often the provinces and the people who populate these wild and windy areas are discounted with snobbish condescension. That is Britain's upper-middle-class in a nutshell.
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    Less is more with this class. Understatement is appreciated. Real flash motors are shunned, but a dignified Audi, Range Rover or even a Jag if its presented properly, are the top car choices amongst Britain's upper-middle-class.

    Summer holiday homes in Provence or Tuscany are popular, as are winter havens in Florida. America is increasingly seen as a desirable place to venture once again amongst this set.

    Fluency in French is a must for most within this class, as is a good deal of knowledge about wines. Sailing holds its allure and most women are addicted to equestrian pursuits. Horses are hugely popular within this crowd. That can't be stressed enough.

    Clothes such as Jack Wills, are of course a big hit amongst the younger crowd. That goes without saying. Barbour too. However, basic all American Levis jeans are once again the big ticket item for both males and females. The ladies from this class are, of course, addicted to 100% real leather motorcycle jackets from All Saints. No group of people on this earth know a top quality leather jacket when they see one better than British upper-middle-class ladies. I can attest to that.
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    (Original post by englishrose_18)
    Am doing a study on class and society and I am stuck on the upper middle class. Although I'd probably think of myself as UMC, as I don't have a title so can't be upper class but I am from a more privileged background than most and have a fairly RP accent, I'm not sure what traits this sub-class has. i.e, income, choice of schooling, education level, career, hobbies, where they live, holiday destinations, accent, etc.
    Please help!

    Thanks
    Most people consider me in this class but I have a Northern accent (grew up a few miles from Liverpool), went to an average state school, go on holiday in a caravan (mostly), my hobbies are playing guitar, historical re-enactment and video games...none of these things strike me as especially stereotypical.

    On the other hand, big(ish) house in the country, most people in the family have some form of degree (at normal universities, not really prestigious ones) and my parents earn a decent wage.
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    This thread has completely baffled me. I fit about half of the descriptions here. Does that make me lower-upper middle class? If that isn't already a thing, it should be
 
 
 
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