London Local Customs

  • Trafalgar Square (Westminster)
    Trafalgar Square (Westminster)
    by EasyMalc
  • Cockney Festival
    Cockney Festival
    by Galaxy31
  • Cockney Festival
    Cockney Festival
    by Galaxy31

Most Recent Local Customs in London

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    A True knees Up --Cockney Festival

    by Galaxy31 Updated Mar 14, 2015

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    I have attended the East End festival at Wilton’s and the surrounding area a few years ago to to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Cable Riots which its part of the East End history.
    It was a sunny day and a lot was happening in the main area of the hall as talks, signage of books and a show. In the alley outside Wilton’s were stalls selling jewellery made from clay pipe that had been found by the river, books, CDS and much more.
    There was a band playing, a pair of fishermen presenting the Billingsgate Fish Market with their ware. A lot of people have attended and it was a fun day out.

    Cockney Festival Cockney Festival Cockney Festival Cockney Festival Cockney Festival
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    London's Boroughs

    by EasyMalc Updated Dec 22, 2014

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    For a first time visitor to London, getting to grips with the city’s layout can be somewhat bewildering, so I’m going to attempt to make some sense of it.
    Greater London is made up of 32 Boroughs, each of which has anything between 100,000 and 300,000 people. If you include the ‘City of London’ which is run separately by the City of London Corporation, then that would make 33 - but what does this mean for the casual tourist?
    Although these boroughs are primarily administrative boundaries it’s worth having some idea of where they are and what’s on offer in order to help you navigate around the city and ensure that your time is used wisely.
    As I’m trying to keep this as simple as possible it’s worth mentioning at the outset that the City of London and the City of Westminster (which is a borough) are both crammed with many of London’s landmarks and it would be easy to find that you’ve run out of time before seeing any other parts of the city, so try and plan accordingly.
    Of the other 31 boroughs, 11 are in Inner London and 20 in Outer London, so which ones should you choose to visit? Depending on your interests of course, I think it would be fair to say that Inner London has the most to offer, but don’t ignore the fact that some of the Outer boroughs have their own highlights as well. Richmond for example, includes Kew Gardens and Hampton Court.
    It’s also worth bearing in mind that within these boroughs are districts which can confuse the uninitiated. For example Covent Garden is a district that straddles both Westminster and Camden boroughs. See what I mean by bewildering?
    If I’m being completely honest it doesn’t matter to most tourists which attraction is in what borough but it does help with orientation - and that is essential if you want to get to know and understand London.
    It shouldn’t come as any surprise to learn that all these places started out independently of each other before being swallowed up into one huge metropolis. It’s my intention therefore to take a closer look at some of the more interesting boroughs and explain how they evolved the way they did.

    Canary Wharf (Tower Hamlets) Old Royal Naval College (Greenwich) Natural History Museum (Kensington & Chelsea) British Library (Camden) Trafalgar Square (Westminster)
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    Red phone boxes turning green

    by Galaxy31 Written Dec 11, 2014

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    As I didn’t know where to write this tip I have opted for the local custom as most of the red telephone kiosks will be turning green for charging mobile phones.
    In October 2014 London had launched their first solarbox for charging mobile phones just outside Tottenham Court Station exit 3 by Dominion Theatre.
    The scheme will be extended into other areas in across London in 2015.
    The solar box was awarded second place in the Mayors of London Low Carbon entrepreneur of the year.

    The Solarbox it’s open from 5.30am until 11.30pm all year round for the public to charge their mobile phones.

    When I have walked past it couple of days ago I have noticed that the solarbox was locked. I don’t if it has been vandalised or anything like that.

    In my opinion I think it’s a good idea for the public.

    Red & Green telephone kiosk Red & Green telephone kiosk The chargers.
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    COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG---LEARN SOME PHRASES

    by davidjo Written Nov 3, 2014

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    Cockney slang is believed to have been used since the middle of the 19th century, originating in the East End of London where the cockney population were well known for their Characteristic accents and speech patterns. It is a matter of debate how this rhyming slang developed. Was it a game, was it used by market traders so the customers did not know what they were talking about, or was it used by criminals to confuse the police.
    Cockney also refers to the people that originally lived within earshot of the Bow Bells, a church of St. Mary-le-Bow, which was actually destroyed during the Great Fire of 1666, but was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. In 2,000 a study was conducted to see how far the bell could be heard and the result was 6 miles east, 5 miles north, 3 miles south and 4 miles west.

    SOME FAMOUS COCKNEYS
    The Kray Twins---well known gangsters
    Marc Bolan-----musician of T-REX
    Harry Redknapp----football player and manager
    Eric Bristow----world darts champion
    Michel Caine----actor
    Tommy Steele----singer
    Max Bygraves----singer

    SOME POPULAR COCKNEY SLANG
    Apple and pairs ----stairs
    Adam and Eve----believe
    Alan Whickers------knickers
    Baked Bean-----queen
    Ball and Chalk----walk
    Barnet Fair----hair
    Barney Rubble-----trouble
    Bees and Honey----money
    Boat Race-----face
    Bread and Cheese----sneeze
    China Plate-----mate
    Cock and Hen----ten
    Custard and Jelly----telly (TV)
    Dickybird----word
    Dog and Bone---phone
    Duck and Dive----skive
    Dustbin Lid----kid
    Jimmy Riddle----piddle
    Khyber Pass----Arse
    Mince Pies----eyes
    Raspberry Tart----fart
    Septic Tank----Yank
    Tea Leaf----thief
    Trouble and Strife ---wife

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  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    End of the line...

    by arturowan Updated Oct 29, 2014

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    Liverpool Street Station is at the end of the mainline from Colchester, where The Mayflower Line from Harwich routes to London...
    During the Kindertransport scheme, children escaping Nazi-occupied territory were often met at the end of their ferry-railway journey, by Nicolas Winton, the man who devised the rescue of the Jews...
    A carefully detailed memorial commemorating the scheme he used to save so many innocent lives, can be found in the main terminus at Liverpool Street Station...
    The statues typify the young German, Austrian, & Czech-born people, with their most precious belongings, (notice teddy-bear & violin) who fell foul of Hitler's insane tyranny...
    A memorial plaque to Kindertransport can be found on Harwich seafront (see separate tip...)

    Kindertransport memorial sculpture...
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    Red Letter Pillar Boxes Part 1

    by Galaxy31 Updated Oct 12, 2014

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    These entire pillar boxes I have discovered them in London, most of them in the
    City of London and Bloomsbury area.
    These designs have started in 1887 for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria and it’s still the same today.

    Queen Victorian Wall Box 1881-1904 King Edward VII 1901- 1910 King George VI 1936- 1952 King George V 1932 Queen Elizbeth II
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    May pole Dancing

    by Galaxy31 Written Oct 11, 2014

    When Leadanhall building the new skyscraper has finished in the City of London they have erected
    at the left hand side of the building a may pole which it’s a reproduction from the 16th century.
    The maypole it’s erected next to a statue with the inscription Navigation on it which the site the building it’s built on it used to be owned by P& O Ferry Company.
    In the 16th century near the site on first of May they used to put up a maypole at the corner of St Mary Axe and its shaft when its upright position overtopped the church nearby which it got its name of St Andrew Undershaft today.
    The festivities were very popular with the local children with flower garlands on their heads who would dance around the pole holding the ribbons until the entire pole it was covered neatly in this colourful way.
    They were celebrated on the first of May until 1517 when a scuffle broke out between the locals and foreigners’ living in the same parish and that day it’s remembered as Evil May – Day.
    The maypole when not in use they used to store it nearby court on the hooks beneath the eaves in the alley and which its known as the Shaft Court which it doesn't exist today.

    Maypole @ Leadenhall Maypole @ Leadenhall Maypole @ Leadenhall Maypole @ Leadenhall Leadenhall building
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    Street Musicians

    by pieter_jan_v Written Sep 22, 2014

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    Street musicians are common in London. Don't be surprised when you hear live music in a pedestrian tunnel of the underground transportation system as the London Underground provides permits for making music.

    Street performers must have a licence and an insurance to perform on London's streets. In Covent Garden they need to pass an audition first.

    Don't forget to tip the performers.

    Bagpipe player at Trafalgar square
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  • Galaxy31's Profile Photo

    Cabmens Shelter

    by Galaxy31 Updated Sep 11, 2014

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    ‘Offsales are for all but only those with “The Knowledge” get a seat inside.’
    Cabmen’s shelters were built in Victorian times to discourage the cabmen going into pub and have a drink and also there weren’t allowed to leave their cabs parked at the stand so it was difficult for them to get a decent meal while at work.
    At the shelters cabmen could get decent refreshments at moderate prices, shelter from the weather and a good rest.
    The shelters look like a garden shed and they were provided by Cabmen’s Shelters Fund in 1874 by the Earl of Shaftesbury and had to be the length of a horse and cart.
    They are Grade II listed and a typical listing description reads as follows:
    Cabmen's shelter 1888. Timber framed, tongue and groove timber panels; felt clad timber roof. 7 bays by 3 bays. Entrance to centre of north side. Windows to upper wall in second, fourth and sixth bays. Stump of fleche to roof. Decorative rafter ends to eaves. The decorative woodwork panels include the initials CSF for 'Cabmen's Shelter Fund'.
    Between 1875 and1914 there were 61 shelters have been erected at the cost of £200 each but now there are only 13 remaining in London and they can be found here.
    Chelsea Embankment - near the Albert Bridge
    Embankment Place (pictured above)
    Grosvenor Gardens - west side of north garden
    Hanover Square - north of central garden TQ288/SE
    Kensington Park Road - outside numbers 8-10 TQ2580NW
    Kensington Road - north side TQ2679NW
    Pont Street
    Russell Square - west corner (previously in Leicester Square)
    St George's Square, Pimlico - north side TQ2978
    Temple Place TQ3180NW
    Thurloe Place, Kensington - opposite the Victoria & Albert Museum TQ2779SW
    Warwick Avenue - Clifton Gardens TQ2682SW
    Wellington Place, St John's Wood

    Cabmens shelter Cabmens shelter Cabmens shelter
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    Pearlies

    by Galaxy31 Written Sep 10, 2014

    Henry Croft was the founder of the Pearly Kings and Queens born in 1862 in a Victoria workhouse orphanage in St Pancras London. At the age of thirteen he has left the orphanage and he has become a road sweeper and a rat catcher.
    Henry got the idea when he saw the clothes of the Costers decorated with pearl buttons but he went one step further and decorated a whole top hat and tails. Everywhere he went people commented on his outfit and he became a great attraction and at the same time he started collecting pennies and halfpennies for the orphanage he was raised in. Henry has become so famous that hospitals and other organisations were asking him to raise money for different causes and that’s how the charity has begun.
    The clothes of the pearly Kings and Queens are decorated with rows upon rows of pearl buttons the size of a penny and most of them are hand sewn.
    They do attend a lot of ceremonies and fundraising for different charities.
    Henry Croft statue it’s in the crypt of St Martin’s in the Fields.

    The Pearlies Pearlies The young pearlies A Pearly armchair A Pearly Taxi
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    Eating in pubs...

    by MartinK35 Updated Aug 18, 2014

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    I'm often asked by international visitors to London and the UK where are the best places for affordable "British" cuisine. I know as a nation we are not famous for our home grown gastronomic delights and finding a "British" restaurant among the plethora of truly international establishments isn't easy.

    Pubs however, are a great place to eat traditional British offerings. One thing to remember if you choose to dine in one is that it is a pub, Not all pubs serve food although most do but that does not make it a restaurant and even if it says they have a restaurant it is still a pub.

    The main difference between eating in a restaurant and eating in a pub is the service. Table service is very rare in British pubs so usually you must go up to the bar counter to order your meal and drinks. If you just find a table, sit down, wait for someone to come along and ask you what you want to order, you will have a very long wait indeed and probably die of starvation. It's not that the staff are ignoring you, they will just think you wandered in to shelter from the rain.

    Once you've ordered your food at the bar counter, it will normally be brought to your table for you although you might have to get up again because it may or may not come with cutlery or condiments which are sometimes found lurking in a "help yourself" cabinet in an obscure corner of the bar area..

    Don't let the lack of service put you off. Some of Britain's finest gourmet experiences can be found in our humble "boozers" and they keep the cost down by not paying someone to run around after you. It's really easy, if you want something, get up and go to the bar counter and ask for it yourself. Don't just sit down and then get frustrated because nobody rushes to serve you. Generally that's not how things work in pubs although there are some exceptions.

    .

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    Phone Boxes

    by pieter_jan_v Written Aug 17, 2014

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    The red telephone boxes are still on the London streets. They were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scot and painted in "currant red" (British Standard, BS 381C-539)

    6 types of boxes (or kiosks) were made; the K1 model was the first in 1920. The last model, the K6 was introduced in 1936.

    Who needs the box when there is cell phone?
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    River Thames Blessing

    by Galaxy31 Written Aug 16, 2014

    The river blessing takes place annually on the first Sunday after Epiphany in January in the middle of London Bridge. The parishes of Southwark Cathedral from the South bank and St Magnus the Martyr from the North bank meet in the middle of London Bridge downstream to perform the blessing. The ceremony involves throwing a cross in the river.
    The custom has only been established but it goes back to the ancient ceremony in the Orthodox church of throwing a cross into the waters on the Sunday after Epiphany.
    This year it was an extra reading for the victims of the floods

    The Blessing Southwark Cathedral procession St Magnus the Martyr procession River Blessing River blessing
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    Zebra Crossings

    by MartinK35 Updated Jul 30, 2014

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    Many visitors to London and the UK in general are completely stumped and flummoxed by our zebra crossings and look utterly bewildered when they encounter one so I'll attempt to explain the rules of how to cross the street safely.

    Firstly they are called "zebra crossings" not because they are crossings for zebras (we don't have zebras in the UK apart from in zoos) but because of the black and white stripes painted in the road. They are crosswalks for pedestrians without any stop and go, walk and don't walk signs.

    1... Pedestrians always have the right of way and priority.Traffic WILL stop to allow you to cross,
    2... Look both ways
    3... Make sure any oncoming vehicles actually have time to stop before stepping in to the road.
    4... If vehicles have time to stop or have already stopped, proceed to cross the street.
    5... Cross the street in a swift and purposeful manner.
    6... Do not stop half way across the street to take photographs. That will just really annoy already frustrated drivers.
    7.. Avoid stopping for a chat on the sidewalk at a zebra crossing because you'll needlessly stop drivers who will think you want to cross the street.
    8... Don't cycle over a zebra crossing they are for pedestrians not cyclists. If you have a bicycle, dismount and walk across like everyone else.
    9...On narrow streets, one crossing will get you all the way across safely. On wider streets like the one pictured near Westminster abbey, there may be a safety "island" in the middle. Drivers will treat this as 2 separate crossings. When you reach the safety "island" repeat rules 1 to 8 again.

    Happy crossings.

    Oh, one final note, remember we drive on the left so look right first. Look left too because I can't guarantee that an idiot on a bicycle won't be going the wrong way.

    .

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    American English PART 1

    by Elena_007 Updated Jul 26, 2014

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    Theses are a few English to American translations.

    Yes, there IS a difference. I was amazed at our differences in general conversations, and often had to admit that I was an American, and didn't understand. (much to their amusement). Although the opposite was true as well, because after I would explain the American equivalent, my friends in the UK had never heard of such, either.

    Anyroad, (American meaning, Anyway) I have a funny little story to tell ...

    I was speaking with someone from England on the telephone, and he really needed to go to the restroom. AKA: "loo." I said to him, "We can speak later, go, to the loo." Then I burst into laughter because I thought of the American saying, "Toodle loo!", meaning, "Goodbye." He couldn't understand WHY I was laughing at him for needing to go to the loo, and thought I must be daft.

    I have put together a little "Dictionary" for your entertainment, of words that I actually heard whilst in England, some of which I wondered, "What?!?"

    afters (sometimes called pudding): dessert eaten after a meal, hence the name.

    bin (actually dustbin shortened): trash can, a container in which to properly dispose of litter or rubbish.

    car park: a parking lot, an area designed as a place to park your vehicle.

    dressing gown: equivelant to an American robe worn around the house before getting properly dressed.

    elastoplast (or sometimes referred to as plaster): American band-aid for covering minor cuts (wounds) to stop the bleeding, and keep out germs.

    fag: cigarette (See the following web-site for a hilarious explanation)

    Want a fag?

    An English-American Connection :-)
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London Local Customs

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Local customs in London?  To be honest, the visitor will never learn them all. From standing on the right on a Tube (Underground / Metro / subway) escalator to knowing that a black...

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