10 Random Facts About Cockneys

1) To be a proper Cockney, you must have been born in London, within earshot of the Bow Bells.

2) A good old Cockney way of donating money to charity, is via the  Pearly Kings and Queens.

3) Cockneys speak using the increasingly well-known “Rhyming Slang” and also use other unusual phrases, some of which I have translated (for Americans) HERE.

4) Cockneys eat many delicious traditional foods (they might call it “luvverly grub”), such as “Bangers and Mash”, “Tripe and Onions”, “Steak and Kidney Pie”, “Pie Mash and Liquor (gravy)”, “Jellied Eels”, “Winkles” and, of course, “Fish and Chips”.

5) In the Old Days, Cockneys would be too poor to go on a real holiday – so instead they would go Hop Picking, in Kent. Hops are used to make beer and Londoners loved working in the fields for the Summer, staying in huts and drawing a small wage. Their kids got plenty of fresh air too, away from “The Smoke”. See this short film on YouTube.

6) When it comes to having fun, Cockneys like nothing better than a good old Knees up. Which is pretty much a session of drunken dancing.

7) Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the East End of London, (where Cockneys live) was run by gangsters such as The Kray Twins.

8) Performers Chas & Dave are famous for their slightly more modern take on Cockney style music, which they (rather distressingly, to my mind) call “Rockney”.

9) Cockneys are often called “chirpy” because of their irrepressible sense of humour, in the face of poverty and hardship.

10) Because the Cockney accent sounds cool and hard, actors (or posh kids) often try to copy it. This is normally a mistake, as it is very difficult to imitate and accidentally coming out with a “Mockney” accent is shameful.

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18 responses to “10 Random Facts About Cockneys

  1. Probably the most famous Cockney of all was Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins” – and it’s possible he was only pretending to be one.

    I admittedly have an untrained ear, but I always thought Peter Noone sounded Cockney – but it might have been just because of that “I’m Henry The Eighth I Am” song.

    Second verse same as the first…

  2. Hahaha! Dick Van Dyke (don’t Google that on Images, you never know WHAT might turn up), is the furthest thing from sounding Cockney EVER. I reckon the Queen sounds more East End than he does. Diagnosis Crap Accent.

    Peter Noone is from near Manchester, despite his novelty hit. Mancunians sound almost as much like Cockneys as Dick Van Mockney does.

    • Hehehe – I knew Dick Van Dyke would get a chuckle out of you! I knew you wouldn’t be fooled – you and I, we know our Dick!
      Ol’ Herman, I wasn’t so sure about – so, he’s from your neck of the woods – didn’t you date him back then? I believe you did – and I can probably come up with a photo or two to prove it – ’cause you know how I am with things like that… ;-)

      • I think if Herman had dated me back then, he would have had a visit from the Police!

        I don’t know how OLD you think I am, lady, but if I had dated a paedophile, it would have been during the era of Gary Glitter.

  3. If I’m ever in that area, the only traditional food that won’t make me hurl is fish and chips. The rest of it sounds downright nasty.

  4. What about toads in the hole? Yummy! NOT! :)

  5. Mockney – HAhahaha! I love that! :)

    I can detect it in certain actors I think. For instance – and I might be totally wrong – but I’m pretty sure Michael Caine is Cockney.

    I love accents, although trying to decipher them can be difficult sometimes.

  6. You are absolutely right! Michael Caine has a proper London accent. :D

    Watch “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” if you want to be confused. :)

  7. Ray Winstone! His accent is horrible to understand! (Sorry, it’s been bugging me since I read this post what his name is)

  8. 11. Eastenders is an entire TV show about Cockneys, and has been running three nights a week on the BBC since 1985.

    12. Michael Caine is the Cockney King. However another popular soap from the late 80s and early 90s, ‘Birds Of A Feather’ starred Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph not as Cockneys but as Essex girls. There is a subtle distinction which may not be always apparent to the untrained American ear.

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