Re: According to the science:
The way I heard it was this; Tea was originally drunk without milk - if you've got really good tea it's still the "best" way to drink it (personal preference aside - it is the best way to be able to really taste the quality of the tea). The fashion for tea drinking brought with it a fashion for using very delicate porcelain cups to drink it from (fine china - named as such as that's where both tea and cups came from). These had an unfortunate tendency to crack when very hot tea was poured into them. Someone came up with the bright idea of putting milk in the bottom of the cup, which behaved as a heat sink for the hot tea, and reduced cracking in the very expensive cups. It also changed the flavour of the tea, which many preferred - and hence the British custom of milky tea was born.
In a historical sense Orwell was wrong on this one. In practical terms I'm with you both though - modern ceramics are cheap and robust, so thermal damage isn't a problem any more.
In my experience black tea brews better with freshly boiled (not reboiled) water that's still bubbling, and milk should only be added after the teabag or infuser has been removed. Adding the milk when the bag is in situ brings out all sorts of awful flavours, probably due to the milk interacting with the tannins in the leaves. I'll make an exception to this rule for masala chai though.