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Beano Season In The East End

August 9, 2015
by the gentle author

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

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 reproduced courtesy of Tower Hamlet Community Housing’s Collection

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11 Responses leave one →
  1. Robert Green permalink
    August 9, 2015

    I’m just pondering the thought of it being almost certain that quiet a few people seen in these wonderful photos are still around today and yet these images give a glimpse into a way of life that has now completely disappeared, and its all happened in living memory.

  2. Annie permalink
    August 9, 2015

    I love these! Especially the hats and accordians. And – the way the coaches are included in the photos. Like Thomas the Tank Engine. I have similar photo from 1920s of my grandparents, clad in brilliant white summer togs, on the works outing in Yorkshire.

  3. Liz Philipson permalink
    August 9, 2015

    These are lovely and I had forgotten the days out were called beanos – even in the north east where I am from. It is interesting that these pictures are all of men and women on separate trips. Whilst this used to happen in the 1950s at home, there were also mixed outings, and of course Sunday school trips with the children and their families.

  4. August 9, 2015

    Would it be possible to recreate A Spitalfield Life Beano to possibly the Tate at Margate? A real coach trip – fish and chips, liquid refreshments and an accordionist. It could be fabulous.

  5. Peter Holford permalink
    August 9, 2015

    I have a few photos of a ‘beano’ from the mid-1920s. It shows a day-trip from Hackney to Land’s End by the Hackney Licensed Victuallers – it had to be day-trip because they are all crammed into a charabanc with no luggage. The photos suggest it was a good day, well lubricated with drink as you might expect from a bunch of licensees. My grandfather (Palmerston Arms, Well Street, Hackney) and his brother (Duke of Devonshire, Darnley Road, Hackney) are well to the fore!

  6. Ros permalink
    August 9, 2015

    Love the idea of contemporary Spitalfields Life beanos for charabancs full of readers!

  7. Alan Gilbey permalink
    August 9, 2015

    I don’t think many of the people in these pictures saw a beano as an excuse for a trip to an art gallery. But Dreamland in Margate has reopened now, as a living museum of fairground, and deserves your support.

  8. Jonathan Rickard permalink
    August 9, 2015

    My first trip to the UK was in 1972. I’ve made the trip now some 25 times. On an early visit I saw two restored coaches from the mid century, I suppose, as they resembled some in these images. But I never saw a charabanc. As much as I enjoyed the groups of people clearly having a grand time, it was those marvelous vehicles that captured my imagination.

  9. August 10, 2015

    That’s a wonderful tradition. I can’t think of anything quite like it in the US. Thanks for sharing.

  10. August 15, 2015

    i LOVE this post! It reminds me of my mother in law who used to reminisce about going on a ‘chara’ long before I met her. I love the joy they hold, the hope for an oasis of fun, the scenes of camaraderie and the quirky additions like the fact that these images were captured in the first place, resplendent with vehicle of transportation; the accordinist; the day out clothes of the era and the men in the large brimmed straw hats … why? Another great post, thank you

  11. August 17, 2015

    Lovely piece..

    Readers may also like to take a look at the Cockney Beano Booklet we created in 2013 for the Cockney Heritage Week

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