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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
'English geniuses' map launched
Detail from England's Genius map (Brunel's SS Great Britain)
The map is being launched ahead of Brunel's 200th anniversary
A map of English "genius" is being made available to combat perceived ignorance about creative and scientific pioneers.

Just 59% of 1,010 Britons surveyed knew As You Like it was by Shakespeare and a third that Brunel created the Clifton Suspension Bridge, VisitBritain said.

The tourism body hopes to promote attractions linked to such achievers through the map, "England's Geniuses".

"It's time we remind ourselves of England's geniuses and the huge contribution they have made," it said.

VisitBritain said 5% of Britons thought William Shakespeare had written Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, while only 40% knew Frank Whittle invented the jet engine.

These are the pioneers of the world's thriving tourism industries
Mike Bedingfield

The map aims to highlight "the attractions which best bring to life the world-changing creations of great English pioneers, engineers, inventors, writers and experimentalists".

It contains 80 attractions around England.

VisitBritain said the map was timed to coincide with next year's 200th anniversary of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's birthday, as well as a Royal Shakespeare Company year-long celebration of the bard.

Map campaign chief Mike Bedingfield said such "pioneers of the world's thriving tourism industries" made it possible to bring international visitors to England and opened up cities, towns and the countryside to all Britons.

"Others have helped define the quintessential Englishness that continues to appeal to millions of international and domestic visitors every year," he said.

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