How interesting, Bernie. I lived in London for a time, and some of this behavior sounds typical of the people I encountered (excessive smoking, no ice), and some is quite surprising to me (queue cutting, deck chair saving.)
The bridge group sounds very rude, sorry you had to put up with that. Surely they could have found a less intrusive place to play.
It's also interesting what you said about the class differences at your table. I am very much an unabashed anglophile, but class differences are still there, even today, and still observed, subtly if not openly. That's one of the reasons it is written in the American Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal" - so that we Americans do not have these differences.
The vast majority of people I encountered in Britain were well-mannered and polite. However, I live in Orlando right near Disney World, and have noticed many instances of very rude behavior from British families on holiday. Perhaps Britons on holiday behave with more abandon than Britons at home.