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"The Kings and Queens of London" Top 5 Page for this destination London Local Custom Tip by sourbugger

London Local Customs: 714 reviews and 880 photos

  Do they call me buttons ?
by sourbugger

There are far more royal couples in London than Phil & Liz.

There are 'Pearly' Kings and Queens for many of the working-class neighbourhoods in London.

Their roots are somewhat obscure. Perhaps they began with a poor orphan who picked up spare buttons from costermongers for resale and began helping, in time, those less fortunatue than himself. Then again it could a reference back to a form of 'protection' for costermonger market stallholders,who used them to safeguard their pitches.

In either event they stem from the costermonger community in Victorian times, and the fashion for sowing thousands of these pearly buttons onto black clothing caught hold. Some of the suits are so heavy they must be a nightmare to wear in hot weather.

Pearly Kings and Queens can often be seen at any kind of Charity function in London, or parades, fetes , carnivals and such events. They do a great job in raising thousands of pounds for charity each year.

They also make a great photo opportunity !


Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 25, 2004
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