Todays “Old” song, traditional East End of London. “The Pearly King and Queen”, another tradition. To qualify to be a “Cockney” one has to be born “Within The Sounds of Bow Bells”. I was, which makes me a Cockney by Birth, don’t get too excited it happened because My Mother and Father who lived in Ilford in Essex, were about to have, me their second child, second Daughter but my Mother had lost a Son the year before he died within an hour of being Born, left too long inside my Mother, the Midwife would not call for a Doctor until it was too late, when she finally did hence he died within an hour of Birth. My Mother then had to go into a Maternity Home to give Birth to me on May 14, 1949 – there now you know how OLD I am. That Maternity Home was right in the East End, Stepney and Bow, so I was born within the “Sounds of Bow Bells”.
It so happens my late Husband, who was 30 years older than me, had been too a Cockney, he was Born on The Isle of Dogs, where Queen Elizabeth I kept her Greyhounds and Lurchers. My late Husband’s Grandfather lived there on the Island, his large House was situated on the only piece of Green on the Isle of Dogs at that time, (I believe that the wonderful Director David Lean had lived in that House, I remember some years ago him talking about his House on the Island and how its garden went down to the Thames he lived he said on the only Green on the Island) my Husband’s Grandfather was Greek from Salonika and his business was making Hand Made Cigarettes and Cigars, the Family name was Apostolides (apologies if I have misspelled it), his Daughter Theodora met a David Cottage just an Isle of Dogs Riveter on the ships, below her class, she fell in love you know what came next and she was pregnant and had to Marry. Her Father would have nothing to do with the Son-in-Law but occasionally my late Husband told me, his Grandfather would help his Daughter out. My Husband, David, would tell me how once a week he would be summoned to see his Grandfather who would be in his Dining room, sitting at the far end of a very long table, drinking Turkish coffee , smoking a large Cigar he would summon the young David who was the 3rd of 7 children, to him and hand him two Pennies every Sunday, and ask the young David had he been to Church he had he served on the Altar and after seeing his Grandfather he would return again to the High Church of England and prepare for the afternoon services, David used to tell me his Sunday from early morning to the last Msss in the evening, Sunday was Church and nothing else. Strangely my Husband did not have an East End accent, his voice was similar to the Actor James Mason. That’s a bit of history for you, bored, you should be. Hope you enjoy it all.