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Rag’n’bones to riches: Mary’s 80th Birthday

An East End heroine’s 80th Birthday celebration.

By Robert Pimm

Financial Times, February 7 2004

Graham’s a cockney from central casting.  He holds the microphone almost touching his lips, like a night-club singer.

“It took ’em 35 years to build St Paul’s,” he says as our boat swirls down the Thames towards Greenwich.  “Reckon it was the same bloke what’s doing my kitchen.”

Mary’s four daughters all smile, but Mary’s not listening.  She’s watching her grand-children craning over the metal railings, a chill breeze flattening their hair.

We’re taking in a cross-section of London, old and new, to celebrate Mary’s 80th birthday.  That’s a private capsule at the London Eye, a boat down the river, then lunch at Godard’s Pie House in Greenwich.

Mary Major in 2005 – Photo RP

Mary’s an old and new Londoner herself.  Her dad was a rag-and-bone man in Highbury: (more…)

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