Ground-breaking new Cockney Heritage Festival
celebrates the East End’s unique past
The East End’s first borough-wide festival
celebrating Cockney language and culture will be taking place on
Organised by the Cockney Heritage Trust and
Tower Hamlets Council the festival was developed in response to
media reports that traditional Cockney idiom and cultural heritage
is dying out.
The festival will explore Cockney identity
among East Enders past and present through over 50 events,
including street parties, archive film screenings, exhibitions,
reminiscence workshops and children’s and family activities.
Festival highlights include ‘Cockneys: Dead or
Reincarnated?’, a panel debate exploring the rumoured demise of
Cockney featuring Stepney-born musician Jah Wobble, and a book
reading from Eddie Johnson, former landlord of the celebrated Two
Puddings pub in Stratford.
Jeff & Mick Geggus from the Cockney
Rejects will introduce their film East End Babylon.
Exhibitions range in subject from the life of
local street markets to hop picking. Children will get a chance to
make a ‘Pearly’ memento at the Museum of Childhood and a number of
tea dances and sing-alongs hosted across the borough from Victoria
Park to Chrisp Street Market will be open to all.
The festival will culminate with a good old
fashioned ‘knees-up’ at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club with
traditional musical performers and dancing into the small
It is hoped the festival will enable local
residents and the wider public to reminisce, explore, learn about
and enjoy the many facets of Cockney cultural heritage. The
festival is being designed for the enjoyment of all, whether they
identify as Cockney or not, and most events will be free of
The festival line up has been devised by Tower
Hamlets Local History Library & Archives with the help of
community partners and the borough’s Idea Stores, libraries and
Cockney-inspired artwork by students will be
on show at Idea Stores across the borough.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: “I
am delighted to present a prestigious line up of activities
celebrating the East End’s Cockney heritage.
“This July the council in partnership with the
Cockney Heritage Trust and a range of community partners has
programmed a diverse range of events with something to interest
Cllr Rania Khan, cabinet member for Culture
added: “This is a fantastic way to pay tribute to the East End’s
fascinating Cockney culture and heritage. Why not try your hand at
Cockney rhyming or enjoy a traditional Cockney fare such as pie and
mash and jellied eels.”
Ray Sparra Everingham of the Cockney Heritage
Trust said “Cockney culture has been proclaimed ‘brown bread’
(dead), but our festival sees it alive and well! This collective
effort from across the borough represents the biggest celebration
of Cockney heritage the East End has seen in a generation. We
invite you to join with us in exploring our heritage, meet up with
old friends and have some fun along the way.”
The festival launches at Tower Hamlets Local
History Library & Archives on Thursday 18 July with traditional
Cockney food and drink, stalls hosted by local history groups and
short film screenings.
Look out for the printed programme in an Idea
Store near you or download it online at http://www.ideastore.co.uk/ and
June 4, 2013