Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London Pride

Noel Coward wrote 'London Pride' during the Blitz, Spring 1941.  He was overwhelmed while sitting in a damaged railway station.

I think it is very apt for today.  The lyrics are below but please feel free to press play and listen while you read my post. 

What is providing a ray of sunshine is small tales of brave strangers and kindness which are coming to light.

Like the 9 nameless young lads who walked @bridgetminamore from Camberwell Green to East Dulwich because "she's a girl innit!"

The 176 bus driver who was out of service, but stopped and offered people a lift to safety

The Turkish men in Dalston who guarded their highstreet with sticks.

The Clapham locals stopping thugs going up Northcote Road

70+ Teenagers chasing 150 rioters off their estate in East London

Last night Jewish & Muslim community united to stop looters raiding Stamford Hill Synagogue.

Brenda, the pensioner in Clapham who defended the Debenhams store on Monday!

The Police, fire brigade and emergency services deserve a lot of support.  I have heard lots of friends who have been working 22 hour shifts.  Very brave people.

00:38 9/8/2011: Camden Town, London
(As looters and rioters smashed up shops, looted and fought with police in Camden Town, Philippa Morgan-Walker, 25 and her husband, Jonny Walker, 31, made tea for the police who were protecting their street. Some of the officers had been on duty for more than 30 hours. Photo taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixel-eight/6024429000/

(If you know anymore uplifting stories please post them below.  We need to see the positive and show the thugs that they haven't taken our spirit).

If you are in London and want to help then please look at #riotwombles hash tag on twitter, or @riotcleanup.  There is a big clean up operation coordinated by the people.  Rather than sit around and let the small minority of thugs scare everyone, the people are taking London back.  The clean up is an excellent opportunity for people to talk to their neighbours.  How often to people actually talk to their neighbours?  We need to help each other and form a tight community.  If we are to stamp out this sort of behaviour then a tight community is essential.

My final word goes to parents.  Parents of all kinds, 2 year olds, 5 year olds, 14 year olds 30 year olds.  You are, and always will be, a parent.  It is your job to protect your children and teach them family values.  This means installing respect for others.  This doesnt mean just shouting at them, or 'respecting' their need to roam the streets at all hours.  It means spending time with them. Monitor what music videos, films, youtube videos, video games they watch, mind their violent language, vet their friends, punish their lack of respect by showing them the right way to live.  Spend time listening to them- value their words, show them hobbies and reward their interests, take them to the park, show them the meaning of everything and the value of nothing.


London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that's free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Woa, Liza, see the coster barrows,
Vegetable marrows and the fruit piled high.
Woa, Liza, little London sparrows,
Covent Garden Market where the costers cry.

Cockney feet mark the beat of history.
Every street pins a memory down.
Nothing ever can quite replace
The grace of London Town.

There's a little city flower every spring unfailing
Growing in the crevices by some London railing,
Though it has a Latin name, in town and countryside
We in England call it London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that's free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Hey, lady, when the day is dawning
See the policeman yawning on his lonely beat.
Gay lady, Mayfair in the morning,
Hear your footsteps echo in the empty street.

Early rain and the pavement's glistening.
All Park Lane in a shimmering gown.
Nothing ever could break or harm
The charm of London Town.

In our city darkened now, street and square and crescent,
We can feel our living past in our shadowed present,
Ghosts beside our starlit Thames who lived and loved and died
Keep throughout the ages London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that's free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Grey city, stubbornly implanted,
Taken so for granted for a thousand years.
Stay, city, smokily enchanted,
Cradle of our memories and hopes and fears.

Every Blitz your resistance toughening,
From the Ritz to the Anchor and Crown,
Nothing ever could override
The pride of London Town.

If anyone's children or neighbours sudden turn up with suspicious injuries or goods, then please be a good citizen and report them to Crime stoppers.  Also have a look at the press footage and see if you recognise anyone (especially the idiots posting 'Twit Pics' of their loot (Twit Pic is a very fitting name).  0800 555111

To anyone from outside the UK, we are not all like this. The majority of us are very polite, tea drinking, never complaining Britons.  This is a small majority.


  1. Ur post has made me well up, I grew up in London, Ealing in fact and its all made me so sad the terrible distruction that has happened over the last 72 hours.

    When I read of the heroic things that some people are strong enough and brave enough to do it lets me see thats its not to late for our beautiful capital city.

    May everyones loved ones be safe and well, my thought like so many others are with you all.

    A lovely post Emma xxx

  2. Hi Maria, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. London (like Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Liverpool and anywhere else subject to riots) is very strong. It's changing but it's definitely not too late.

    I think that there will be a lot more stories of bravery and kindness over the next few months.

    I hope that you are able to contact your friends and family and that they are all safe xx

  3. This is an amazing post Emma! I live in East London and heard some very brave Asian guys safe guarded the entire green street from these thugs for quite a while today and it resulted in the idiots being unsuccessful. :)

    Its shocking to see how at one hand we have this ever helpful community(that couple making tea for the police is so cute!) and on the other hand these mindless thugs.

    I love London and its the only place where I feel at home. Hope all returns to normal.


  4. Hi Shifa, glad that you liked my words. Thats amazing to hear. It's a small minority spreading terror, but the people are stronger and can protect their London.

    People have the capacity to be great, or greatly evil. We all have a choice but also have to live with our actions and the consequences.

    I hope the UK returns to normal very soon, and that punishments are dealt out.

    Stay safe xx

  5. Hi Emma,

    I've been reading and following the riots closely and it's almost unbelievable in a way. It's like the city I live close (Chicago) to only, in a way, more horrifying. We, thankfully, don't have people setting cars and trash cans on fire; we have flash mobs that are killing people coming in the middle of the night and the police are just overwhelmed. The mobs even interfered with a huge music festival. It's frightening that the mobs are so close to where my dad works and he works in the government section! So, I know what you're going through. We may not have riots at the moment, but flash mobs are just as scary, especially when the expand into the government section of the city!

    I hope London will recover soon. Your words are truly inspiring.


  6. Great post! I have been gripped by the riots as from next year I will also be a Londoner (cant wait!) and its just devastating to see what these mindless brats have been doing. Burning down peoples livelihoods, homes...mudering...I hope now the government and parents will take a heavy hand on these kids and prevent it from happening again.


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