Pearly King, Queen


Pearly King, Queen
   London costermongers (street vendors) are the only English occupational group to have evolved a festive costume. Men of their leading families wear black velveteen suits to which hundreds of mother-of-pearl buttons are sewn in decorative patterns; the women's black velveteen dresses are similarly adorned, and they wear huge hats with ostrich feathers. This showy style dates from the late 19th century, and probably developed out of a single row of buttons stitched to the trouser-seam by coster lads; the first to wear it is said to have been Henry Croft (1863-1930). In each borough, the eldest couple in the most respected family holds the title of Pearly King and Queen. Pearlies are much in demand as tourist attractions, and at charity fund-raising events (Binder, 1975).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pearly king — or (fem) pearly queen noun A costermonger whose costume is considered the most splendidly decorated with pearl buttons • • • Main Entry: ↑pearl * * * pearly king [pearly king] noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • pearly king — /pɜli ˈkɪŋ/ (say perlee king) noun British (a hereditary title adopted by certain costermongers, originally by a chief stall holder who protected other traders, now entitling the possessor to dress in costumes decorated with pearl buttons.)… …   Australian English dictionary

  • pearly king — n (BrE) (in London) a man who on special occasions wears dark clothes covered in thousands of small shiny buttons. A pearly queen is a woman who does the same. This is a tradition among the people who sell fruit and vegetables from carts in the… …   Universalium

  • pearly king — (or pearly queen) noun a London costermonger (or his wife) wearing traditional ceremonial clothes covered with pearl buttons …   English new terms dictionary

  • pearly queen — pearly king or (fem) pearly queen noun A costermonger whose costume is considered the most splendidly decorated with pearl buttons • • • Main Entry: ↑pearl * * * pearly queen [pearly queen] ; …   Useful english dictionary

  • pearly — ► ADJECTIVE (pearlier, pearliest) ▪ like a pearl in lustre or colour. ► NOUN (pearlies) Brit. 1) a pearly king s or queen s clothes or pearl buttons. 2) informal a person s teeth …   English terms dictionary

  • Pearly Kings and Queens — Pearlies redirects here. For for the animated series, see Pearlie. Pearly King and Queen Pearly Kings and Queens, known as pearlies, are an organised charitable tradition of working class culture in London, England.[1] Th …   Wikipedia

  • pearly — adj. & n. adj. (pearlier, pearliest) 1 resembling a pearl; lustrous. 2 containing pearls or mother of pearl. 3 adorned with pearls. n. (pl. ies) (in pl.) Brit. 1 pearly kings and queens. 2 a pearly king s or queen s clothes or pearl buttons.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • pearly — adjective (pearlier, pearliest) resembling a pearl in lustre or colour. noun (pearlies) 1》 Brit. a pearly king s or queen s clothes or pearl buttons. 2》 (also pearly whites) informal a person s teeth. Derivatives pearliness noun …   English new terms dictionary

  • pearly queen — n ➡ pearly king. * * * …   Universalium