Search

Tower Hamlets’ ‘Queen’ has first pearly wedding for 40 years

PUBLISHED: 15:09 02 December 2013 | UPDATED: 15:09 02 December 2013

Lorraine and Terry had  the first pearly wedding in London for 30 years. Pearly Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses from across East London came to celebrate their marriage with them.

Lorraine and Terry had the first pearly wedding in London for 30 years. Pearly Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses from across East London came to celebrate their marriage with them.

Archant

The Pearly Queen of Tower Hamlets married her Prince Charming in the first pearly wedding for more than 40 years on Friday - giving the borough a new “king”.

Lorraine Wells wed fiancé Terry Sadler at a ceremony in Essex attended by dozens of other East End pearly families.

Pearlies are a group of charitable workers who dress up in suits covered in pearl buttons in a tradition that dates back to the 1870s.

It was founded by Henry Croft, a street sweeper, who made his first suit aged 13 and began to fundraise in the East End.

And the current crop of Pearlies were out in force for the celebrations, where 20 of them donned their spectacular outfits.

“I was taken in a vintage Rolls Royce,” said Lorraine, 56, who inherited her title from her mother.

“I made a special shawl for myself with my title on, using hand-me-down buttons from my great grandfather and mother.”

The pearly ceremony was the first in Lorraine’s family, and she thinks in the community as a whole, since 1971, when her uncle Victor married at St Martins in-the-fields, near Trafalgar square.

“We wanted to come out to a good old cockney song, so we chose the Lambeth Walk, sung by Monica Rose,” explained Lorraine,

“She was a friend of my grand parents. It was a lovely touch and it brought a tear to my eye.”

The singing and dancing continued into the night at the reception, held at The Carpenter’s Arms pub in Bethnal Green, where Lorraine works, while the wedding itself was held at Langtons House in Billet Lane, Hornchurch.

She said: “It went in a flash, everyone enjoyed themselves so much. It was a great evening. The pearlies were there in their suits.

“I looked around and saw all my friends and family. I could not wish for anything else.

Lorraine admits she was nervous, but says she felt like the “luckiest woman on earth.”

She met Terry met in the Carpenter’s Arms a few years ago, and after her previous relationship ended, Terry suggested they get married.

“I said ‘I’ve tried that once and I didn’t like it’,” explains Lorraine,

“But a friend of mine died suddenly and I realised, it’s not a rehearsal, this is it.

“He proposed about four weeks after that in July.”

Terry, 66, has now inherited the title pearly king of Tower Hamlets, and Lorraine says he not only supports the tradition, he fits in.

“He always supported us, even before we started seeing each other.

“We live in Harold Hill now, but I would like to go back home to the East End, there is nowhere like the East End.”

Lorraine is passionate about her charity work, and often fundraises for hospitals and children’s charities.

“Pearlies are brought up from a young age to consider other people,” she said.

And as a fourth generation pearly, Lorraine is pleased to be passing on the traditions to her daughters and grand-daughters.

“My daughter Nikki is 18 and pearly queen of Stratford, and Jodie, 16, was given her great grandfathers title, he was pearly king of Dalston.”

“It’s hard to get kids involved these days, there used to be 400 of us, but now there’s only just over 100. I raise my hat to the children who carry it on.

“We are a very warm lot of people us pearlies. Sometimes people look at you like you are nothing. But I like to think we are the poor people’s royalty.”

Related articles

Latest East London News Stories

8 minutes ago

A Canary Wharf lawyer accused of having a stash of indecent pictures told jurors his “devastating” HIV diagnosis drew him into hosting drug-fuelled sex parties at his luxury flat.

36 minutes ago

Rail operator c2c is to roll out new carriages with more seats and standing room – but it will take up to four years.

Yesterday, 17:20

A primary school in Spitalfields delivered an early Christmas present to residents, shoppers and traders by bringing the tale of baby Jesus to the streets today.

Yesterday, 16:52

An opposition cross-party campaign is calling on the Secretary of State to take over strategic planning applications away from Tower Hamlets Council in the light of an alleged £2 million bribery attempt to get plans passed for a skyscraper.

Yesterday, 15:04

A man has been charged in connection with a video that showed two people jumping from a DLR train into the water at Canary Wharf.

Yesterday, 14:23

Two guns, drugs and a quality of cash have been seized after police raided a flat in Spitalfields this morning

Yesterday, 14:02

The borough’s police commander has laid a wreath in memory of a detective who was stabbed to death 26 years ago today.

Yesterday, 12:00

Police have busted several homes in dawn raids in east London as part of an ongoing operation to disrupted organised drug dealing crime.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now