London has to be the greatest city in the entire world! It’s a brilliant place to live, a fantastic place to visit. It is a huge City, with so much to see on the traditional tourist trail in the City of Westminster and a great deal to discover that is the City of London and the East End. The original Londoners were proud to call themselves Cockneys, born within the sound of the old curfew bells at Bow on Cheapside in the City of London.
Did you know - "Cockney" or "cock's egg" was a 14th century insult used by rural people to describe native Londoners who lived by their wits rather than their muscle? In time, the term came to refer to any working class Londoner born within hearing distance of the bells at St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside.
Cockneys did develop an indomitable spirit and a reputation for humour. Nowhere is this more evident than in the playful distortion of the English language known as Cockney Rhyming Slang. The "secret" language is thought to have originated in the 1840s among street traders (costermongers) as a means of concealing their often dodgy dealings from the newly formed police force - while having a laugh at their expense. Whatever its origins, phrases like "have a butcher's" (butcher's hook = look) and "telling porkies" (pork pies = lies) have given our language a rich legacy that lasts to this day.
This new cockney website features refreshed material with a focus mainly on the City and East London. Pie and Mash is a strong food tradition that outsiders don’t always appreciate. So, there are plenty of other places to eat and drink. Many international personalities were born here, including musicians and sports people. The stories of the Kray Twins, Jack the Ripper and the Elephant Man have returned, amongst many others.
I hope that you will enjoy this special part of London as much as I do,
Your Host & Guide