The term Cockney has had several distinct geographical, social, and linguistic associations.
Originally a pejorative applied to all city-dwellers, it was eventually restricted to Londoners and particularly to the “Bow-bell Cockneys”: those born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in east London’s Cheapside district. More recently, it is variously used to refer to those in London’s East End, or to all working-class Londoners generally.
Linguistically, Cockney English refers to the accent or dialect of English traditionally spoken by working-class Londoners. In recent years, many aspects of Cockney English have become part of general South East English speech, producing a variant known as Estuary English.
Image| Marcin Wichary