Thursday, 29 September 2011

Pearly Kings and Queens

On Sunday we were in London. I had bought a copy of Time Out to see what we could see that would be slightly different from the normal visits to museums, parks and galleries. I saw that there was a Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival at Guildhall Yard in Gresham Street at 1.00 p.m.

When we arrived we saw Chelsea Pensioners in their lovely red jackets.

And espied a Pearly King or two.

Before the event started I went and spoke to the lady on the left of this photo about the Pearly Kings and Queens. She kindly gave me a leaflet which detailed how the Pearly Kings and Queens came into existence.

It all started with a chap by the name of Henry Croft who spent his early life in an Orphanage in Somers Town, North London. He started work as a road sweeper  in the local markets when he was 13 years old. He became friends with the Costermongers there. He got to know about their way of life and to understand their ways, their rhyming slang and their generosity. The pearl buttons sewn on the seam of their bellbottomed trousers, jackets, waistcoats and caps showed their status as they worked their market stalls.
Henry would take goods that he received from his new friends, the Costermongers to the Orphanage. Henry wanted to do more for charity and so he decorated his suit with mother of pearl buttons and began collecting money for charities.
Many Costermonger families became Pearly families. There were 28 families - one for each London borough, one for the City of Westminster and one for the City of London.

The Pearlies still work hard raising money for charity.
I like the London Eye pattern on the trousers!

Don't the suits look spectacular en masse! The little girl in this photo looked ever so cute!

Many mayors and local dignitaries were invited to join in the Maypole Dance!

We were then entertained by some Morris Dancers!
Not quite sure what to make of this chap in his little pink dress and bunches!

The musicians!

Young Morris Dancers. It is great when children are involved in these traditional pursuits!

There was a band and people sang as they played "There's a long way to Tipperary ... to the sweetest girl I know."

After the band had played the Pearly Kings and Queens walked past and spoke to members of the crowd.

Sewing those buttons must be a nightmare when you're making a pattern such as the one above. I hate sewing on one button let alone hundreds!
We were then entertained to another band - this time a Scottish affair with bagpipes!
Shortly afterwards the event came to a close.

After the entertainment was over the Pearly Kings and Queens, the bands and Morris Dancers gathered before a parade to St. Mary-le-Bow church and a harvest festival service at 3.00 p.m.

I do love traditional stuff like this and raising money for good causes at the same time!

Off went the Pearly Kings and Queens!

And those people dressed in the clothes of old! There was a lady dressed as Queen Victoria but I didn't get a photo as she was either too far away or too mnay people were intent on taking the same photo!

A delivery for the Harvest Festival!

The day was marred by a woman berating me for apparantly standing in her way as she was trying to take a photograph. I genuinely hadn't seen her. She was sat on the floor and I was standing up to leave so my focus was on looking ahead at where I was going rather than on someone sat on the floor taking a photograph!
She started shouting "How would you like it if I shoved my hand in front of your camera when you were trying to take a photo!" I genuinely did not understand why she was screaming in this way. At first I didn't realize she was talking about me. On too many occasions to count people have walked into a shot I'm about to take - you don't start shouting at people, you just accept that it was an accident and with digital cameras you just delete the photo and take another.
The Other Half had walked ahead and not realized that this woman was being very verbally aggressive towards me. The woman kept going on and on and on. I could see that Our Daughter was getting unsettled by it all and quite frankly so was I so, we ignored the hysterical woman and carried on walking. We could still hear her rabbiting on when we were some distance away.
We caught up with the Other Half and recounted our tale. I was quite shaken by it all to be honest with you. What is it about modern society that people feel that they can cause a complete scene at what was an event to raise awareness of the work of those who raise money for charity. There was nothing charitable in this loud and foul mouthed woman I can tell you and if she wanted to take a photo why didn't she just stand up! Everyone was leaving after all as the entertainment was over! I'll never fully understand why some people believe they can behave so disgracefully! Probably because no-one has dared to chastise them for being rude and now they just think they can go through life throwing their weight around!
Enough moaning - it did un-nerve me though. I am a placid person and hate raised voices particularly for such an innocuous thing as accidentally walking into someones photo!
Today is another day as they say - the weather is fabulously hot and I'm shortly off to work!
Despite the tale above we did have a fabulous week-end!

Until next time,


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