Why do people speaking fake Cockney address others as ''governor''?

We’ve all heard it: the horrible fake English accent. You don’t 'alf know wot Oy mean, guvnah.

Who is this governor? Is it a fictional character in a Cockney-themed play that has become a part of a bad accent? Or do real Eastenders use “governor” as a form of address? And if so, why? Has there ever been an official governor in Britain (as opposed to British colonies, which did have governors)?

It’s roughly equivalent to freed slaves still addressing whites as “boss” in the US, an implicit acknowledgement of social inferiority. Governor was a generic term used for the head honcho, landowner, mill manager, or other authority figure.

The Cambridge dic says “a person in charge of a particular organization:
a prison/school governor”.

Yup, they do. Although the usual usage would be in discussing a (probably absent) boss. It doesn’t have the same connotations as AndrewT’s “yessir boss” would have, it’s not a class thing. A rough translation would be a watered down version of boss (the non-slave version) it’s a jovial cheeky chappie appellation not an “acknowledgement of social inferiority”. At least not these days.

Couldn’t say guv.

Its use as an informal, all-purpose form of address seems to date back to the mid-nineteenth century, suggesting that it is just an extension of its slightly earlier use as a name for one’s employer.

Yes, but usually only in military contexts, such as the governor of a garrison or fortress.

Just to add a bit more (I’m in the East End right now so feel vaguely qualified).
It is almost always abbreviated to “guv”, or ooccasionally “guv’nor”. Never three syllables.

You wouldn’t hear social equals using it to one another; it’s normally used in situations where someone is serving you - the archetypal user of “guv” is the taxi driver: “Sorry guv, I was just on me way 'ome.” Shopkeepers or stall-holders also use it quite a bit. But you wouldn’t call your friends “guv”.

You also probably wouldn’t call your boss “guv”, at least if you valued your job. You might, however, refer to him in the third person as “the guv’nor”.

It is also standard parlance within the Metropolitan Police. Ones immediate superior is known as ones Governor and “yes guv”, “no guv”, “leave it out, guv” would be perfectly respectful responses to said governor - well, except maybe the last one.

Isn’t “governor” also used in a way roughly equivalent to “dad” in the U.S.? From what I’ve seen, it’s used mostly in the third person, and more by the upper classes, as in “My governor was livid when I’d got sent down from Oxford.”

Or at least maybe it was. The novels I’ve seen that usage in are all pretty old.

Yes, it was used like that and, according to the OED, that also dates back to the nineteenth century. Clearly all three meanings are likely to be related. The ‘employer’ one does appear to be the earliest and it is not too difficult to see how it might then have been extended to include one’s father or any other social superior.

"n; jus wuh izzit wut ma’es you fink vat v’ cockney dialect is Being faked?

And ,incidentally, ANYONE who was born within the sound of "Beau Bells?{St M:ry le Beau] is a COCKNEY-whether he speaks the dialect or BBC english, ‘n’ Tha’s a fak ma’e!