CLASS WAS ONCE A CENTRAL FACET of British cultural identity. Each person was defined and graded in terms of their supposed position in this fixed hierarchy. Even the railway carriages were once sub-divided into three classes: first, second and third. It was thought each class had unique characteristics. The ‘upper class’ had posh accents, went to private schools, lived in stately homes and had aristocratic connections. The middle class were well spoken, lived in suburban houses and valued education. The working class had regional accents, lived in council flats, were members of trade unions, and enjoyed the pub, football and fish and chips.