deptford jack

freelondon deptford jack.jpg

Deptford Jack. Lewisham.

A man inside a nine foot high mock tree parades each May Day through south London from the Dog & Bell Pub in Deptford. He is accompanied by Morris Dancers.

The Jack in the Green tradition originated in the 17th century, when milkmaids went out on May day with the tools of their trade - cups, pots and spoons - decorated with garlands and piled on their heads. It is not clear why they did this. They were later imitated by chimney sweeps. 

The Deptford Jack in the Green was revived in the early 1980s by members of the Blackheath Morris Men. Starting at the Dog & Bell public house in Deptford, an all day procession wanders between pubs in the area. The order of the procession is: 1. The Banner. 2. Jack (a human tree) with attendant. 3. Musicians. 4. Everyone Else.  

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