ONE NEVER KNOWS
I have always seen the Pearly Kings and Queens as one of those beautiful London eccentricities. However, it should not be forgotten that they represent over a hundred years of collecting for those in need, and for helping with charitable causes.
The very first Pearly King was Henry Croft, an orphan and street sweeper. In the mid- to late 1870’s Croft created the first complete pearly ‘smother suit’, covered in mother-of-pearl buttons. He did this to draw attention to himself when collecting money for orphanages and local hospitals. And so, the pearly mission to support charitable organisations was born.
We were lucky enough to find the suits below recently, and through researching the good works of the ‘Pearlies’ and in the spirit of “for the many, not the few”, we will be donating all future monies earned from these pieces to charitable causes. I hope you enjoy the photos, and if you are in the UK, go and do the right thing today.
For more information about the ‘Pearlies’ please go to their site here.
Words Douglas Gunn
Photos Lovisa Ranta