Sound of Bow Bells

My dad is a Cockney, born in 1930’s Islington, then within the sound of the Bow Bells. These are the ones St Mary Le Bow in the City of London to be precise. To prove his authenticity he’ll even throw in a bit of rhyming slang without thinking about it. ‘You’ll be Tom and Mick!’ is a favourite of mine. He uses it as a caution when someone is stuffing their face and is at risk of chucking it all back up again.

I found out the other day that, if Dad was a nipper in the 21st century, he might not qualify for his status. By chance I landed on the ‘Map of the Week’ blog and found an interesting article about the soundscape of London. It’s changed so much over time. A myriad of things have increased noise levels in the city: vehicles, air conditioning, building works…..

So nowadays, there are no maternity hospitals within earshot of the sound of Bow Bells. Living accommodation where home births can take place are a bit thin on the ground too. And let’s not beat around the bush. Those that can afford an abode in the designated part of the city would be a dammed sight posher than my family of old. London is much more multi-cultural too. Different accents and languages have changed the audio landscape of the city too Maybe the old style Cockney is a rare breed these days, nearly ‘brown bread’!

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