The Cockney Guide

cockneyFollow the steps of our Cockney Guide and become a cockney in a day!

1. Head to a traditional East End market to pick up some fruit and veg and practice the local lingo on the costermongers (street traders). Try …

Brick Lane Market Columbia Road Flower Market Borough Market (food) Roman Road Market Walthamstow Market - the longest street market in Europe!

cockney-guide-cash-machine-market2. Got swindled by the costermongers and now strapped for cash? Pay a visit to one of the cockney rhyming slang cash machines dotted around London town. You will find these at:

Hatch Lane, Chingford Roman Road Commercial Street, Whitechapel High Street, Walthamstow Mays Lane, Barnet

There you can select 'language: cockney'. Here are a few translations to help you on your way:

Bladder of Lard - Card Huckleberry Finn - PIN Charlie Sheen - Screen Fleet Street - Sheet Sausage and Mash - Cash Speckled Hen - Ten Horn of Plenty - Twenty Nigel Mansell - Cancel Tom Hanks - Thanks

3. Explore cockney London on a Jack the Ripper or Dickensian walk.

There are many themed tours available around London, and Dickens' novels, in which you will find cockney rhyming slang, were written at the time cockney became common, many of his characters personifying the London of the cockney era.


4. Make your own Pearly King or Queen costume by sewing pearly buttons in patterns and along seams.

The original Pearly King, Henry Croft, left an orphanage in St Pancras aged 13 to work as a road sweeper and rat catcher. Working around the East End markets, he admired the costermongers and the way they adorned their trousers, waistcoats and caps with pearly buttons the size of a penny. He was fascinated by their tough, resilient nature, camaraderie, and their unique colourful language. Taking inspiration, he decorated a whole tail coat suit and top hat in a similar fashion. This made him hugely popular and he used this to collect for charity. What a lovely idea! Once you've made your hat, maybe you could do some charity collecting of your own.

5. Invent your own cockney (or mockney).

Cockney Rhyming Slang is an evolving language. Many phrases were inspired by who or what was popular at the time. Mockney such as Billie Piper (windscreen wiper) and Pete Tong (wrong) are examples of phrases which have caught on recently. Who is a popular figure right now? You could become a pioneer of modern cockney!

6. It's been a busy day! Put your feet up with our Cockney Rhyming Slang Cushions, make yerself a Rosy Lee, pop on the Matthew Kelly and enjoy an episode of Eastenders.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.