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The Pearly Prince of St Pancras Paperback – 19 Jun 2014
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About the Author
Alf Dole was born in 1930 into a family of North London costermongers. From an early age he was immersed in the tradition of the pearly kings and queens. His grandfather was the first pearly king of St Pancras. Alf was an evacuee during the Second World War and was conscripted into the army in the late 1940s, but he returned to spend the remainder of his long life in London, continuing the Pearly tradition of raising money for charity. Alf died in 2013.
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We get the entertaining and fund raising aspect; the first Pearly was Henry Croft, who inspired other friends like Alf's dad to dress in the pearl buttons and collect for hospitals or local people down on their luck. Young Alf was presented with his first button-adorned suit and helped to entertain. But he put that aside during wartime and after it for many years, later returning to his heritage in part to share it with his family.
How unlikely is it that as I was reading this during the ad breaks in Mock The Week, the programme showed a clip of Alf talking to Boris Johnson and David Cameron! This little episode is referred to in the book as I found when I finished it next day.
Thanks to all concerned for sharing this memoir and heritage with the world. I particularly enjoyed the tales of the hopping days but we also see a side of London which vanished with the rebuilding after the war.
to remember the man's proper title!
Most recent customer reviews
I have just bought another two copies to give as presents.