Peter Dench was Made in England on the feast of Saint George, the patron Saint of England, weighing into the world at a sizeable 10lb 8oz and sharing a birthday with William Shakespeare. From day one, the salt of the English seaside filled his nostrils, the sound of seagulls burst the eardrum and saturated colors startled the retina.

The south coast town of Weymouth was a violent place for the teenage Dench. A Navy base meant horny sailors were in the town center most weekends. The train station delivered horny workers from the Midlands factories during shutdown. The locals were always horny and hungry, but mostly thirsty. Throw in around 180 bars to the mix and something had to give. Often it was his chin. This was his introduction to England and Dench loved it.

It is no surprise then, that despite photographing on assignment in over fifty countries, it is to England that Dench continually points his lens. It is his home and his passion. England Uncensored is an edit from ten years of shooting the English, a comprehensive portrait of the first decade of 21st century England. It is not an idealized brochure of a green and pleasant land, but more a laugh-out-loud romp through this often badly behaved nation.


England has never been exactly glamorous. Many English still insist on embarrassing themselves, wearing laughable clothing, eating terrible food and behaving inappropriately. Alcohol features prominently because, whether living it up at Henley Royal Regatta or at a hens’ party in Blackpool, the nation’s favorite legal high is never far away. So many attending England’s festivals, country house events, sporting fixtures, jollies and jamborees look disappointed and confused, as if they cannot quite understand why they are not having the marvelous time they were expecting or think they deserve.

England Uncensored documents the ordinary and the extraordinary. It explores all corners, from cities to tired beaches, via nightclubs, dressing rooms, cathedrals and famous sites in the country, such as Lord’s cricket ground and Hampton Court Palace, as well as presenting some of England’s more unusual events, e.g. the War and Peace Show in Beltring, Kent – the “largest military vehicle spectacular in the world” – where civilians can dress in military uniform and carry weapons, or the central London themed disco with adults dressing in school uniform to relive the “best days of their lives.”

The expressions on the faces of people around the world viewing these images of modern England will no doubt be incredulous, but also amused.

Peter Dench

Peter Dench

Follow on
See full archive