Pearly Kings and Queens Costermongers

Harvest Festival 2013

Guildhall Yard London EC


Another fine September day reminded us that we were still closer to Summer than Winter.  Familiar sights greeted us as we looked in at the Guildhall Yard: Morris sides, Maypole Dancers, Dogcarts, Ponies, all getting ready for the off.


As usual, we formed up some distance away for a run-through, before taking our place under the arch to await our turn.  The arch provided an effective augmentation for the bugles when they announced that we were about to march on.  We stepped off smartly, but were somewhat wary of the flagstones – not the easiest surface on which to stay upright if ammo boots are worn, but we all managed to avoid falling flat.  


We always include The Londoner in our programme for this event: a medley of Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner; All My Life I Wanted to be a Barrowboy; My Old Man said “Follow the Van”, it is a cue for the Pearly royalty to get up, grab a London Borough Mayor, and process with him or her round the Yard.   Drum Major allowed them two circuits before encouraging them back to their seats and moving on to the next part of our display.  


After all the performances, Cinque Ports Corps of Drums led the entire assembly through the City streets to the Church for their Harvest Festival service.  Safely delivered, we agreed it had been another job well done.



Cinque Ports at SEAS 2013


The South of England Agricultural Show is held in early October at Ardingly.  Again this year, the Show struck lucky with the weather – on the day we performed there, it was warm and sunny.  I wondered whether all the stalls selling wax jackets, tweed and boots would do much business with most of the visitors wandering round in shorts and sandals.


This year we decided not to risk the wrath of Mr Punch, sited right outside our accommodation, so on our way to the arena for our display, we marched without playing.  We were appearing at the Show in support of ABF The Soldiers Charity, so we used their tent as the starting point for marching and playing ourselves into the arena.


We gave two performances, each with its own set of marches and other pieces.  With an abundance of space, we were able to carry out our display without worrying about walls and fences.  The public were ranged on two adjacent sides of the arena, so we covered as much of the display area as practicable.


The programme gave us time between performances to look round the Show and, yes, buy things.   My question was answered as I picked up my purchases – people do buy tweed and wax jackets when the sun shines.

Christine Fairfax

Pearly Kings & Queens Costermongers Harvest Festival 29th Sept 2013 Guildhall Yard City of London


The south of England Autumn Show & Game Fair

on behalf of the Army Benevolent Fund - Sunday 6th Oct

Scribe - Christine Fairfax

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