Search

London’s cockney Pearly kings and queens set for a May 6 ‘coronation’

07:00 13 April 2012

Descendants of one of the original London Pearly families, the Hitchens, are being ‘crowned’ as the next generation of Pearly kings and queens in the East End’s favourite cockney tradition.

The ‘coronation’ takes place on May 6 in ‘the Pearly church’ of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, the largest event of its kind in 100 years.

The blessing is followed by a good old cockney knees-up with music from The Barrow Boys staged at Bethnal Green’s Carpenter’s Arms, a classic East End boozer, to welcome family and friends of the new ‘royalty’.

Their chosen manor stretches from the City of London at Aldgate, out to Mile End and the Bow Bridge.

London has 28 families who constituted the original Pearly kings and queens, one in each of the former Metropolitan boroughs that now make up today’s Inner London—the titles are inherited.

Pearly kings and queens wear their iconic suits hand-sewn with hundreds of pearl buttons which are worn to raise money for charity, following the footsteps of their founder Henry Croft, an East End costermonger born 150 years ago who spent a lifetime helping the poor.

Croft was raised in a Victorian workhouse orphanage in St Pancras who began work at 13 in the street markets among costermongers, or apple sellers, and became fascinated by their ‘flash boy’ suits decorated with penny-sized pearl buttons.

It led to the famous tradition of London’s Pearly kings and queens who are out in force on May 6 for the ‘cockney coronation.’

Latest News Stories

Fri, 17:50
Animals take lead role in Arnham Wharf Primary's Nativity

Children at one primary school in London’s East End decided they wanted to tell the traditional Nativity story this year from the animals’ point of view.

Fri, 16:36
Ahnaf Hamim with his Snowman Christmas card [Pictures: Steve Poston]

Ahnaf Hamim had a big smile and a big surprise for his mum and dad—his snowman drawing has been chosen for the Mayor of Tower Hamlets’ official Christmas card this year.

Fri, 11:40
Young patients at the Royal London Hospital receive their gifts. From left:  Rhyanne Gasper, 14, from Newham, Naeem Agbongbon, 8, from Ockenden, Essex, Eron Ufuah, 9, from Canning Town, and Harshika Partheepan, 4 months, from Newbury Park, with volunteers from the Kindness Offensive Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Children being treated in hospital over Christmas received hundreds of gifts in a surprise visit by well-wishers.

Joel Adesina was stabbed on December 5 in Padbury Court off Bethnal Green Road

A 20-year-old man will today appear in court charged with murdering Dagenham teenager Joel Adesina.

Most read news

And they have a role to play in saving their species.

Twinkle, twinkle you little stars – thanks for making your homes so festive.

Offers for university places are at a record high.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Docklands and East London Advertiser e-edition today E-edition