Distance to the metropolis is calculated from ‘The Monument’ but St Mary-le-bow church is the measure of a native Londoner. Born within the sound of these bells and you’re considered a ‘Cockney’- like my Grandfather on the Strand, in the days when horseless carriages were the most contentious noise pollutants.
As far south as Southwark and east into Stepney, Londoners could count themselves as Cockney born and bred. Hard to ‘Adam and Eve’ 1 it now as further down Cheapside, and on to Bishopsgate, the ‘gherkin’ of 30, St Mary Axe is almost deaf to the tintinnabulation.
The cigar-shaped glass apparition is the iconic symbol of post-millenial London and perhaps being born within visual distance of this St Mary should become the litmus test. Given that a recent sound study confirmed that there are no recorded births within the current auditory confines of ‘bow bells’, it would mean that the numbers of Cockneys would rise significantly! 2, 3
Have used the SPE filter ‘Graphic Image 016’ to transform these images into a mono illustration – click to enlarge.
1. To Believe: Cockney rhyming slang
2. Bow bells to be given audio boost
3. 30 st Mary Axe ‘can be seen from the M11 motorway some 32 kilometres (20 mi) away,while to the west it can be seen from the statue of George III in Windsor Great Park’.
Download the sound of bow bells