Cockney songs

This week I met with Frank, a true East Ender. He lives near Upminster, in the Essex countryside now, but spent all his childhood and youth in Forrest Gate, E7. Frank has lived in many different places in Essex and would call his own accent ‘East End twice removed’. Having worked in the construction industry he considers himself ‘in the middle’, being able to ‘communicate with the bloke on the shovel’ as well as ‘the architect’.

Frank told me of the deprived conditions that he grew up in, in a two up two down with an outsider toilet and a scullery that was the kitchen. The house was heated with coal fires and there were no duvets or blankets, but there was a piano in the house and lots of singing. I was lucky to catch some of the old tunes on tape, which included a love song that his grandfather used to sing to his grandmother as well as the song ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner that I love London town…’.

Unfortunately, the family piano, which his dad – being partly paralysed – played with one hand, had to be sold to the pub next door when the money was tight.

Frank is a lifelong West Ham supporter and sang me their hymn as well.

Frank from the East End
%d bloggers like this: