A number of Plumstead residents, whose families have lived in Plumstead for generations, will no doubt recall tales of the heyday of the Badge Queen of Plumstead told to them by their grandparents and great grandparents. Although the tradition began in Victorian times, it was not until after the First World War and through the 1920s that Badge Royalty reached its peak and even rivalled the Pearly King & Queen tradition in popularity.
Naturally, at the forefront of the scene was the Badge Queen of Plumstead and there are many a tale of wild Whit Mondays when the Queen and her entourage would meet up at the Green Man pubic house on Plumstead High Street. There they would partake in a morning tipple before boarding their fleet of charabancs to take them out into rural north Kent, just shy of Sevenoaks. It was on a hill at this point that the Badge tradition had begun in 1878 and Whit Monday was the day that Badge Royalty from all over London would meet up to celebrate the event…. and consume a considerable amount of alcohol too. In fact, Beasley Brewery of Plumstead began to produce their Green Badge Milk Stout specifically for the occasion. Sadly, the tradition died out during the Depression, as badges became a form of currency for local transactions. Back then you could purchase three portions of crushed avocado on toast with poached eggs and tomatoes, which was the staple food in these parts, for just one badge, with or without its fastening pin. Nothing of the site in Kent remains today, with the exception that it is still known as Badger’s Mount.
I am sure even more of you would have known about all of this if there had been a shred of truth in anything written above. However, Art Plumstead are not going to let any of that stop the revival of a tradition that didn’t exist for which we need your help. We have located the last locally living relative of Plumstead’s last Badge Queen, Madge Coxwell, and the lady would be delighted to carry on the non-existant family tradition. Unfortunately, the cloak, which Madge wore has been lost and so we need you to supply badges for the new cloak that our future Queen hopes to wear at events around Plumstead later in the year.
Please note: The New Badge Queen of Plumstead made her first public appearance at
Plumstead Make Merry
on Saturday 9th June 2018
which is where the photograph at the top of this page was taken. Keep your eyes open for other appearances in the future.