Dick Whittington

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Dick Whittington was a poor boy from a 14th century English village who traveled to London to seek his fortune, and eventually became Lord Mayor of the city. His life story provides the inspiration for the folk story Dick Whittington, which is a popular subject for pantomimes in Britain. He could be seen as an English equivalent of American folk heroes like Davy Crockett.

The real Dick Whittington was a remarkable man and a true rags-to-riches story, but the folk story is usually embellished beyond the bare facts of his life, often including such fanciful additions as streets paved with gold, pirates and a talking cat[1]. Straddling fact and fiction is the apocryphal episode where a downcast Whittington resolved to leave London for good, but changed his mind after hearing the church bells apparently telling him "Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London!"


  1. Website publicising a typical British performance of Dick Whittington