In Search Of London’s Last Cockneys 

“We had to move away, Cos’ the rent we couldn’t pay.”

What does it mean to be cockney? Pearly kings and queens? Rhyming slang? Pie and liquor? It’s commonly believed that to be truly cockney, you must be born within earshot of Bow Bells, which peal from Cheapside’s St Mary-le-Bow church.

Noise pollution and a lack of maternity wards in the area have rendered this definition practically obsolete. The term ‘cockney’ dates back to the 1300s and was originally used as a pejorative label for the city’s toffee-nosed urban folk. It’s since become a term of endearment primarily referring to the working class, down-to-earth, East Enders of London.

But in 2010, Professor Paul Kerswill of the University of York estimated that the cockney accent would disappear from London “within 30 years”. 10 of those years have now elapsed. Is this native London breed really set to become brown bread? And what has triggered the mass exodus of these former city-dwellers to surrounding counties such as Essex and Kent?

“We’re still alive and kicking, but we’re hanging by a thread”

Think cockney and Pearly Kings and Queens often spring to mind. The tradition, dating back to the Victorian costermongers (street traders) of north London, was founded by Henry Croft, a former workhouse inmate, who — inspired by the style-savvy costermongers who sewed lines of pearls onto their clothes to mimic the rich — chose to go one step further by completely embellishing suits with pearl buttons [ . . . ]

Read complete feature story in THE LONDONIST: In Search Of London’s Last Cockneys | Londonist

The worst onscreen British accents

Acting is hard and acting with an accent is even harder. From Don Cheadle in the “Ocean’s franchise” to the third “Bridget Jones” movie, here are 11 actors who critics felt couldn’t nail the British accent.

If you watch a lot of movies and TV, you’ve probably noticed by now that some actors are not the best at doing accents that aren’t their own.

Slate even spoke to dialect coaches Bob and Claire Corff about why, and they helpfully explained that a lot of it has to do with how long actors train to do dialects in their respective countries. In other words, don’t hate the players, hate their abysmally accented games and giggle when a pro deconstructs them on YouTube for your amusement .

Here are 16 of the worst examples of onscreen attempts at British accents so far, according to critics.

Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins” issued an apology for his accent.

Dick Van Dyke in
The film was still enjoyable to watch.

Long considered one of the worst British accents in all of cinematic history , Dick Van Dyke’s character Bert nonetheless wowed audiences with his engaging singing and dancing routines — even if his cockney accent was distractingly bad.

In 2017, Van Dyke was awarded a BAFTA — and he issued the following humorous public apology : “I appreciate this opportunity to apologize to the members of BAFTA for inflicting on them the most atrocious Cockney accent in the history of cinema.”

Continue reading in THE INSIDER: The worst onscreen British accents – INSIDER