The Original Pearly Kings and Queens Association - REGISTERED CHARITY NO 274242

Welcome to the Pearlies

London Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony

The Official Pearly Kings and Queens Association

The Pearly Kings and Pearly Queens originated in the year of 1875 and have continued up to our present day.

A Pearly King and a Pearly Queen wear mother of pearl buttons on their suits and dresses (many are handed down from generation to generation) and today raise money for many charities and helping others.

Henry Croft (1862 to 1930) the founder of the organisation was born in 1862 and was raised in a Victorian workhouse orphanage in Charles Street, Somerstown, St, Pancras, London. At the age of thirteen he left the orphanage and became a road sweeper and rat catcher. Henry soon felt at home in his new position and became akin to the Costermongers (apple sellers) in their “flash boy outfits,” on the stalls in the markets.

The clothes the Costers wore were decorated with a row of pearl buttons each the size of a penny down the outside leg seam of their trousers from the ankle to the  knee, the pocket flaps on their waistcoats and the front of their caps would be decorated in a similar fashion.

The Costermongers were a tough resilient and colourful breed and had a language of their own, hence the cockney  rhyming slang, they were also a caring bunch and if a fellow coster was down on his luck they would organise  a” whip round”  to help him  get back on his feet.  Click here for more