shadow

England: Bring your 'bladder of lard': These ATMs only speak cockney

Ben Quinn
A cockney ATM in London’s East End.

A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

LONDON – Ever wanted to withdraw some “bread and honey” at an ATM? Or simply check your balance on the “Charlie Sheen”?

If such terms mean anything to you, then chances are you’re familiar with cockney rhyming slang, the colorful quasi-dialect of London’s East End, where a cluster of cash machines now offer the option of making transactions in the often impenetrable slang.

Customers will be asked to enter their “Huckleberry Finn” instead of their PIN in order for the ATM to read their “bladder of lard” (card). They will then be asked if they want to withdraw “sausage and mash” (cash), before being offered denominations including a “speckled hen” (10).

Despite some mystery, the origins of the slang are thought to lie with market traders who used short rhyming phrases as a code to communicate.

Ron Delnevo, managing director of Bank Machine, the ATM operator behind the project, said: “Financial services has seen so much gloom recently that we decided to do this for a bit of fun.”

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.