It's Harvest Festival season, and to celebrate the City traded sharp suits and brogues for pearls and pinnies as cockneys dominated the financial district on the weekend.
Glistening pearls, donkeys, shire horses and music hall favourites – the Pearly King and Queen Harvest Festival had it all. Pearly Kings and Queens joined Aldermen and Sheriffs at Guildhall yard yesterday for the annual celebration of cockney London.
The event saw absolutely everything traditionally English: maypole dancing, Morris dancers and a marching band – and at least three different versions of Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner.
Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow led a procession of cockneys, drummers, maids and Freemen of the City of London through the Square Mile to St Mary-le-Bow church for the annual service, complete with donations of tinned food from punters. The City’s lords and sheriffs even got involved with a maypole dance themselves.
Meanwhile, EastEnders icon and cockney national treasure Barbara Windsor was giving London’s Worshipful Company of Woolmen a hand with herding sheep over London Bridge. Why? The “sheep drive” is an 800-year tradition that celebrates the right for Britain’s shepherds to use London Bridge to transport their herds for future trading.
Windsor said she was proud to be helping out liverymen at London Bridge, but when she heard about the cockney gathering at Guildhall, she told The Capitalist: “I had no idea that was on. That’s where I should be really isn’t it? It sounds great!” Barbara, maybe next time. Now: Oi! Get Out Of My Pub!
SCI-FI FANS TO RUB SHOULDERS WITH BUSINESS TRAVELLERS
The MCM Comic Con at London’s Excel is coming up next month, and it has pushed hotel prices up so high in the surrounding area that it's now cheaper to stay in Canary Wharf’s five-star hotels than anywhere near the venue. Prepare to see Doctor Who lookalikes rubbing shoulders with business travellers, as some of the Docklands’ finest rooms are half the price of your bog-standard three-star establishment. The Ibis Styles Hotel, just a stone's throw from the Excel building, comes in at an eye-watering £400 for two nights over the weekend, while a weekend at the three-star Prince Regent hotel, within easy walking distance of the convention, would set sci-fi fans back £545. By contrast, the five-star London Marriott comes in at £268, while according to reception a stay at the equally luxurious Hilton in Canary Wharf starts at just £235 (and still only £305 if you want a river view). In the words of comic-book fan Sophie Keen: “I know where I’d rather stay!”