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Cockney Beano Time

June 25, 2016
by the gentle author

A beano from Stepney in the twenties (courtesy Irene Sheath)

It is Midsummer, and we have reached that time of year when a certain clamminess prevails in the city and East Enders turn restless, yearning for a trip to the sea or at the very least an excursion to glimpse some green fields. In the last century, pubs, workplaces and clubs organised annual summer beanos, which gave everyone the opportunity to pile into a coach and enjoy a day out, usually with liberal opportunity for refreshment and sing-songs on the way home.

Ladies’ beano from The Globe in Hartley St, Bethnal Green, in the fifties. Chris Dixon, who submitted the picture, recognises his grandmother, Flo Beazley, furthest left in the front row beside her next door neighbour Flo Wheeler, who had a fruit and vegetable stall on Green St. (courtesy Chris Dixon)

Another beano from the fifties – eighth from the left is Jim Tyrrell (1908-1991) who worked at Stepney Power Station in Limehouse and drank at the Rainbow on the Highway in Ratcliff.

Mid-twentieth century beano from the archive of Britton’s Coaches in Cable St. (courtesy Martin Harris)

Beano from the Rhodeswell Stores, Rhodeswell Rd, Limehouse in the mid-twenties.

Taken on the way to Southend, this is a ladies’ beano from The Beehive in the Roman Rd during the fifties or sixties in a coach from Empress Coaches. The only men in the photo are the driver and the accordionist. Joan Lord (née Collins) who submitted the photo is the daughter of the publicans of The Beehive. (Courtesy Joan Lord)

Terrie Conway Driver, who submitted this picture of a beano from The Duke of Gloucester, Seabright St, Bethnal Green, points out that her grandfather is seventh from the left in the back row.  (Courtesy Terrie Conway Driver)

Taken on the way to Southend, this is a men’s beano from The Beehive in the Roman Rd in the fifties or sixties in a coach from Empress Coaches. (Courtesy Joan Lord)

Beano in the twenties from the Victory Public House in Ben Jonson Rd, on the corner with Carr St.  Note the charabanc – the name derives from the French char à bancs (“carriage with wooden benches”) and they were originally horse-drawn.

A crowd gathers before a beano from The Queens’ Head in Chicksand St in the early fifties. John Charlton who submitted the photograph pointed out his grandfather George standing in the flat cap holding a bottle of beer on the right with John’s father Bill on the left of him, while John stands directly in front of the man in the straw hat. (Courtesy John Charlton)

Beano for Stepney Borough Council workers in the mid-twentieth century. (Courtesy Susan Armstrong)

Martin Harris, who submitted this picture, indicated that the driver, standing second from the left, is Teddy Britton, his second cousin. (Courtesy Martin Harris)

In the Panama hat is Ted Marks who owned the fish place at the side of the Martin Frobisher School, and is seen here taking his staff out on their annual beano.

George, the father of Colin Watson who submitted this photo, is among those who went on this beano from the Taylor Walker brewery in Limehouse. (Courtesy Colin Watson)

Pub beano setting out for Margate or Southend. (Courtesy John McCarthy)

Men’s beano from c. 1960 (courtesy Cathy Cocline)

Late sixties or early seventies ladies’ beano organised by the Locksley Estate Tenants Association in Limehouse, leaving from outside The Prince Alfred in Locksley St.

The father of John McCarthy, who submitted this photo, is on the far right squatting down with a beer in his hand, in this beano photo taken in the early sixties, which may be from his local, The Shakespeare in Bethnal Green Rd. Equally, it could be a works’ outing, as he was a dustman working for Bethnal Green Council. Typically, the men are wearing button holes and an accordionist accompanies them. Accordionists earned a fortune every summer weekend, playing at beanos. (courtesy John McCarthy)

John Sheehan, who submitted this picture, remembers it was taken on a beano to Clacton in the sixties. From left to right, you can seee John Driscoll who lived in Grosvenor Buildings, Dan Daley of Constant House, outsider Johnny Gamm from Hackney, alongside his cousin, John Sheehan from Constant House and Bill Britton from Holmsdale House. (Courtesy John Sheehan)

Photographs courtesy Tower Hamlets Community Homes

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Phyllis permalink
    June 25, 2016

    I would quite enjoy a bus trip that had an accordionist! :)

  2. Peter Holford permalink
    June 25, 2016

    This was a tradition from the era when motorised transport made long journeys possible until families could afford their own personal transport (cars). It seems to show a joie de vivre in being able to have a freedom with friends that wasn’t previously possible.

    I have a series of photos of my grandad and his brother, both publicans, on a beano with the Hackney Victuallers in an open top charabanc in the early 20s. Unbelievably it was a day trip to Land’s End, a round trip of about 600 miles! I would not normally give credence to what my Dad told me if the evidence didn’t support it – one of the photos is in front of the Land’s End Hotel, another is in Clovelly and the charabanc is crammed full with no space for luggage. It sounds like the beano from hell by our present day standards for comfort but everybody in the photos looks as though they are having a good time.

  3. Helen Breen permalink
    June 25, 2016

    Greetings from Boston,

    I really enjoyed those pictures. Simple pleasures. No doubt, these folks really treasured their “big day out.” And all dressed up.

    Reminded me of the huge group pics my mother had of “shop picnics” in the 30s when she worked in the shoe industry in Lynn, MA. As always, GA, thanks for gathering and sharing these experiences from the past…

  4. John Rowe permalink
    June 25, 2016

    Beanos were not just an East End tradition. I can recall going on a couple organised by the Joseph Lyon’s factory in Greenford, west London, where my father worked, in the early 60s. The local factories (Glaxos, Lyons, Garners) also put on Christmas parties for children.

    Happy innocent days.

  5. pauline taylor permalink
    June 25, 2016

    Coach outings were great fun in the 50s but we usually went the other way. From my country village we would go up to ‘the smoke’ to go to the theatre or pantomimes, including the ice pantomimes of course, does anyone remember them? Or we might go to Windsor Castle, Blenheim Palace, or Whipsnade Zoo but London was always the most popular destination and outings to the ice hockey were always fully booked. . As we can see here, ladies dressed up for the occasion, and the Princess Margaret shoes, which I have noticed in one photo, were the order of the day, my mother and I both had a pair of those. We also went to Southend to visit the Kursaal where ‘Kiss me Quick’ hats were popular as was the wall of death, and the Christmas lights of course.

    Thank you GA for bringing back memories of those happy days of simple pleasures.

  6. Marie Pyne nee selby permalink
    June 26, 2016

    Thank you so much for putting the old beans photos on I’ve spotted my dad with the straw hat on he died 1969 John selby was his name it certainly has brought tears to my eyes R I P dad thank you all

    Marie Pyne
    John selby daughter

  7. June 26, 2016

    Please bear with a hopeless American who has never (until now) heard the term “beano”.
    Nevertheless, the sheer joy and bonhomie exhibited in these fun photos is hard to top.
    A break from the daily cares, the fun of pranks, the off-the-hook whimsy of the various
    instruments and props (and costume touches) — this is such a wonderful array of photos!
    I can only imagine the sing-a-longs. Sign me up for the next excursion.

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