Cockney Heritage Festival to celebrate East End’s culture

A Cockney “moriarty” celebrating the East End’s culture and language with a nine day knees-up will be held next month.

The Cockney Heritage Festival will see rhyming slang celebrated with a series of street parties, exhibitions and “reminiscence workshops”, which organisers hope will prove the language of the East End is alive and kicking.

Ray Sparra Everingham said: “Cockney culture has been proclaimed ‘brown bread’ (dead), but our festival sees it alive and well!

“This collective effort from across the borough represents the biggest celebration of Cockney heritage the East End has seen in a generation.”

The former landlord of Stratford’s Two Puddings Pub, Eddie Johnson, will join in a book reading on East End culture, and there will also be a panel debate called “Cockneys: Dead or Reincarnated?” on its current state and future.

Tower Hamlets Council, which is organising the festival, hopes it will encourage residents to reminisce about the borough’s history – whether or not they identify themselves as Cockney.

Cabinet member for culture Cllr Rania Khan urged people to get involved, and “try your hand at Cockney rhyming or enjoy a traditional Cockney fare such as pie and mash and jellied eels.”

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More than 50 events will be put on from July 18-27, culminating in a knees-up at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club.

A launch party will be held at the Local History Library and Archives in Bancroft Road, Stepney from 6.30pm on July 18.

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