A group of ‘Pearlies’ from the 1900s. In the 19th century London was full of street traders known as costermongers or costers. In order to attract customers costers would decorate their clothes with mother of pearl buttons which were a common product manufactured in the East End of London. In the 1870s an orphaned road sweeper and rat catcher called Henry Croft took inspiration from this, covered a suit and top hat with pearl buttons and used the notoriety it gave him to raise money for charity.
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Pearly Kings and Queens