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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 January 2006, 13:06 GMT
Tea and Alice top 'English icons'
Routemaster bus and Big Ben
London's Routemaster buses were among icons listed
Alice in Wonderland is jostling for position with Punch and Judy as icons which most represent England.

A cup of tea, the Angel of the North, the FA Cup and London buses are among other unlikely bedfellows in the first dozen icons listed in a new project.

The idea is to get people to nominate their own symbols to build up a list of hundreds on the Icons website.

Culture Minister David Lammy said it will show how icons shape understanding of personal and national identity.

He added: "Who hasn't ached for a proper cup of tea when they've been on an overseas holiday or yearned for their team to pick up the FA Cup at the end of the season?"

He will be at the official launch of the project, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, on Monday.

Among other icons listed to kick-start the project are the S.S Empire Windrush, Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII, the King James Bible, the Spitfire, Stonehenge, and William Blake's Jerusalem.

Punch and crocodile
Punch was also among classic English symbols
Entries will be assembled in an online collection and each quarter more will be announced.

Jerry Doyle, managing director of ICONS, which is running the project, said: "Ultimately, the hope is that more of us will pass through the doors of the nation's museums and galleries as we grow in awareness about the fascinating things housed in them."

Funding may be extended to Wales, Scotland and possibly Ireland in the future.

FA chief executive, Brian Barwick, said it was a "great tribute" to see the FA cup recognised in the first 12 icons.

"The FA Cup has a unique place in English sporting culture and a magic all of its own.

"It has consistently generated some of the great stories and moments in sport and we are delighted that it has been recognised in this way."

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