Hobson’s choice - English university slang term, supposedly a reference to Thomas Hobson (c.1544-1631), Cambridge stable manager who let horses and gave customers a choice of the horse next in line or none at all. Phrase popularized c.1660 by Milton, who was at Cambridge from 1625-29 - a situation in which there is only one thing you can do, so you do not really have any choice at all.
Black hole of Calcutta - was a small dungeon (темница) in the old Fort William, at Calcutta, India, where troops of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, held British prisoners of war after the capture of the Fort on June 19, 1756. – богом забытое место; переполненное людьми помещение.
Simon Pure – 1815, from the true Simon Pure "the genuine person or thing" (1795), from ^ name of a Quaker who is impersonated by another character (Colonel Feignwell) in part of the comedy "A Bold Stroke for a Wife" (1717) by Susannah Centlivre, English dramatist and actress. The real Simon Pure is dealt with as an imposter (верстальщик) and is believed only after he has proved his identity. – настоящий, подлинный
John Bull – is a national personification of Britain in general and England in particular, especially in political cartoons and similar graphic works. He is usually depicted as a stout, middle-aged, country dwelling, jolly, matter-of-fact man (прозаичный), a heroic archetype of the freeborn Englishman - типичный англичанин
Jekyll and Hyde - in reference to opposite aspects of a person's character, from Robert Louis Stevenson's story, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," published 1886. The surname Jekyll is of Breton origin and was originally a personal name. – двойственная личность
Darby and John - John Darby and his wife Joan were first mentioned in print in a poem published in The Gentleman's Magazine by Henry Sampson Woodfall in 1735, original title The Joys of Love never forgot. A Song. Woodfall had been apprentice to Darby, a printer in Bartholomew Close in the Little Britain area of London, who had been married to Joan Darby . - is a proverbial phrase for a married couple content to share a quiet life of mutual devotion.
Stay an Uncle Tom - At the time of the novel's initial publication in 1851 Uncle Tom was a rejection of the existing stereotypes of minstrel shows; Stowe's melodramatic story humanized the suffering of slavery for White audiences by portraying Tom as a Christlike figure who is ultimately martyred, beaten to death by a cruel master because Tom refuses to betray the whereabouts of two women who escape from slavery. Stowe reversed the gender conventions of slave narratives by juxtaposing Uncle Tom's passivity against the daring of three African American women who escape from slavery. – стоять в стороне
John Doe - fictitious plaintiff in a legal action, attested from 1768 (in Blackstone). The fictitious defendant was Richard Roe. Replaced earlier John-a-nokes (1530s), who usually was paired with John-a-stiles. By 1852, John Doe was being used for "any man whose name is not known." John Doe warrant attested from 1935 – воображаемый истец