Why today’s perfect gentlemen are nothing like the old

The Daily Telegraph named Sir Walter Raleigh and Lord Carrington as the 'perfect gentlemen'.

Written by Agencies | London | Published: June 21, 2012 3:09:49 pm

As the years pass by,the characteristics that define the “perfect” gentlemen are rapidly changing.

In the past,the perfect British gentleman sported a moustache,wore a white tie with pride,ate Kedgeree for breakfast and was never seen without a cigarette in his mouth.

But the gentleman of today has given up cigarettes for nicorette gum,eats muesli with blueberries,is clean shaven and is happy to go out without a tie,according to a new book.

The book,titled Gentlemen’s Pursuits,examines the pages of Country Life magazine,which was first published in 1897,over the last century to see how the archetypal upper class man changed,the Telegraph reported.

According to the list,a gentleman who lived in 1912 loved attending the Proms,rode in a Rolls-Royce,went shooting at Elveden,Suffolk,drank claret and went tobogganing in St Moritz in Germany.

But today’s gentleman attends Glastonbury,has a Land Rover Discovery,drinks Pinot Noir from New Zealand,embarks on shooting at Alnwick,Northumberland and goes skiing in the French resort of Val d’Isère.

Instead of playing whist,the card game,today’s gentleman prefers to watch the BBC’s 10 O’Clock news,has a house in Fulham,west London,and not a few miles east in Belgravia and has scrapped his “manservant”.

He also enjoys reading Matt,The Daily Telegraph’s award-winning cartoonist while those 100 years ago enjoyed HM Bateman’s work.

The magazine also named David Beckham,the former England football captain,as one of its five gentlemen of the year,who was chosen for his “good manners”.

The list also include Colin Firth,the actor,for “self-deprecation” and the Duke of Edinburgh for a “stiff upper lip” while rounding out the list was Nelson Mandela,South Africa’s first black president,for his “quiet dignity” and Boris Johnson,the London mayor,for his “quiet apologies”.

The magazine named five “perfect gentlemen” including Sir Walter Raleigh,the Elizabethan explorer and scholar,for his “courtesy” and The Light Brigade,the British cavalry led by Lord Cardigan,for “heroism when facing certain death”.

Also named were “Beau Brummell”,real name George Bryan Brummell who was credited with making the modern suit a fashion statement,for his “exquisite dressing”,Ernest Shackleton,the polar explorer,for “rescuing his men” and Lord Carrington,the former Foreign Secretary and Nato Secretary General,for “knowing when to resign”.

The book lists five things a “gentlemen would never do” including holiday in Florida,own a yacht without sails,wear pink socks,order Cristal champagne and plant a hanging basket.

Mark Hedges,the magazine’s editor,said the book recorded the “full and bewildering variety of activities,enthusiasms and sports at which a British gentleman might proudly excel,from shooting to after-dinner speaking and from beekeeping to ferreting”.

“Oscar Wilde once described; ‘The English country gentleman galloping after a fox – the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable’ but he failed to recognise the genius of the idea in the first place. This book celebrates what he missed,” he added.

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