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There is a maternity unit still in use at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. and it was estimated that the bells would have been heard up to six miles to the east, five miles to the north, three miles to the south, and four miles to the west.
According to the legend of Dick Whittington the bells could once be heard from as far away as the Highgate Archway (4.5 miles north).
This may have developed from the sources above or separately, alongside such terms as "cock" and "cocker" which both have the sense of "to make a nestle-cock... before becoming restricted to the working class and their particular accent.
The term is now used loosely to describe all East Londoners, although some distinguish the areas (such as Canning Town) that were added to London in 1964.
The closest maternity units would be the City of London Maternity Hospital, Finsbury Square, but this hospital was bombed out during the World War II Blitz, and St Bartholomew's Hospital (or Barts), whose maternity department closed in the late 1980s.
The East London Maternity Hospital in Stepney, which was 2.5 miles from St Mary-le-Bow, was in use from 1884 to 1968.
This chart gives only a general idea of the closing diphthongs of Cockney, as they are much more variable than the realizations shown on the chart.
Although the bells were destroyed again in 1941 in the Blitz, they had fallen silent on 13 June 1940 as part of the British anti-invasion preparations of World War II.The area north of the Thames gradually expanded to include East Ham, Stratford, West Ham and Plaistow as more land was built upon.The Becontree estate near Dagenham in Essex was built by the Corporation of London to house poor residents of London's East End on what was previously a rural area of Essex, and Peter Wright wrote that most of the residents identified as cockneys rather than as Essex folk.Before they were replaced in 1961, there was a period when, by the "within earshot" definition, no "Bow Bell" cockneys could be born.