Today my colleague Councillor Rania Khan, Cabinet Member for Culture, attended a great old-style knees-up with the Pearly Kings and Queens at the Carpenters’ Arms in Stepney.
As you know, we’re currently promoting a campaign for East Londoners to take pride in cockney heritage.
The Pearly Kings and Queens are an important part of this. Theirs is an age-old tradition of eccentric dress and tireless charity work. They’re a great symbol of the East End.
Punters tucked into traditional delicacies of whelks and jellied eels, before a sing-song of old favourites such as ‘Maybe it’s Because I’m a Londoner.’
Then the gathering was addressed by Queen Mary academic Dr Colleen Cotter, a specialist in language and culture and finally Rania, who discussed our ambitious plans to get the Pearlies into schools to educate our youngsters about this element of the East End’s rich cultural heritage.
The event today was a roaring success. Rania tells me that the Sunday Times and international newspapers from as far as Australia attended. I’m very pleased that the Olympics has thrown the spotlight on all that East London has to offer.