Would you Adam and Eve it?
Nicholas met the Pearly Queen and King of Mile End & Highgate during the Pearl Ball Auction event to raise funds for the children’s charity Dreamflight in London. (Full details of the event to follow soon.)
The tradition of Pearly Kings and Queens can be traced back to 1875 and one man: Henry Croft (1862 to 1930). Henry was raised in a Victorian workhouse orphanage which he left aged 13 to become a road sweeper and rat catcher.
He felt at home with the Costermongers (apple sellers) in their “flash boy outfits,” on the stalls in the markets.
The clothes the Costers wore were decorated with a row of pearl buttons each the size of a penny down the outside leg seam of their trousers from the ankle to the knee, the pocket flaps on their waistcoats and the front of their caps would be decorated in a similar fashion.
Henry was fascinated by the costers suits and decided to go one step further and decorated a whole suit which was top hat and tails in pearl buttons, Henry became a great attraction wherever he went and collected pennies and halfpennies to help the orphanage where he was raised to help the children there. Henry’s lifetime of charity work had begun. Many Pearly Kings and Queens have carried on this tradition ever since.