When: 24th September 2017, from 1pm
Where: Guildhall Yard, London
What is it?
Every year London’s famous Pearly Kings and Queens attend a Harvest Festival in Guildhall Yard, London.
This year’s event will take place on Sunday 24th September, and will see the Kings and Queens decked out in their trademark decorative outfits.
The tradition of Pearly Kings and Queens began in London in 1875, after a young orphan named Henry Croft began work as a street sweeper.
Croft worked around Somers Town market and became inspired by the local costermongers who worked there. The costermongers, who wore pearl buttons on their trouser seams, were a hardy but caring community of traders, who looked after one another. The costermongers fashion and generosity to others inspired Croft to want to help others less fortunate than himself.
Croft began to sweep up the pearl buttons from around the market and sewed them onto his clothes, beginning the pearly trademark style we see today. Along with some of the market costermongers, Croft embarked on a considerable amount of charity work, raising over £5000 by the time he died in 1930.
Today the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society continues to raise money for a wide range of charitable causes. The annual Harvest Festival is the Kings and Queens flagship event. The day features celebrations and entertainment in Guildhall Yard, followed by a parade to St Mary Le Bow Church, where the Costmongers’ Harvest Festival service is held at 3pm.