Fowlers Troop & the Deptford Jack in the Green

The Deptford Jack in the Green goes out in South East London, and sometimes the City, every May Day.

Fowlers Troop 1900s
Most of the information about the original Fowlers Troop and the Deptford Jack in the Green came from Roy Judge's book, The Jack-in-the-Green.

He quotes a piece from the Kentish Mercury of 18th May 1906:

It is not more than 3 or 4 years since such a band were seen in the streets of Deptford. Jack in his greenery, twirling, and the male and female dancers with him pirouetting something after the traditional style - but there was a sad falling off. In olden days the dancers used to be sweeps, to whom money collected was a sort of annual perquisite and sweeps were very jealous of their privileges in this direction being usurped, latterly however, this rule was by no means adhered to.

Thankfull Sturdee photograph
Thankfull Sturdee took the photograph of Fowlers Troop shown below around the same time.


He added a note to his picture much later, perhaps in 1934. This reads:

Jack in the Green. Fowlers troop of Mayday revellers `Jack in the Green' was an old institution in Deptford and regularly kept up until about twenty years ago, when the police stopped all such customs.

These two quotations are the only contemporary references I have found. If anyone has any more information on the original Fowlers Troop I would be very interested to hear about it.

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