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Beano Season In The East End

July 19, 2017
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 at Margate. (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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11 Responses leave one →
  1. Ronald McKenzie permalink
    July 19, 2017

    I sure would have liked to know where the name “beano” came from….

  2. Jamie Surman permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Isn’t it sad that all this has gone, and these communities no longer exist there…

  3. July 19, 2017

    The 1920’s was the start of mass travel day coach trips. GA has given us a good account resume’ of this activity. These were happiness days pure escapism for some their only holiday. The accordion player was essential for the sing-alongs and as we see in great demand. Later in WW2 these musicians were morale boosters playing in London underground shelters etc. PS – the name was also given to a children’s comic ‘The Beano’ meaning other enjoyable times.

  4. Jim McDermott permalink
    July 19, 2017

    As an ageing Lancastrian, I – just – recall the mass charabanc trips to Blackpool during ‘Wakes Week’ – the annual exodus of cotton workers to the seaside. The communal holiday experience is long gone (like the cotton mills!); the closest we seem to get to it these days is the collective endurance at airport departure lounges as the departure boards blank out.

  5. Jill permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Fabulous and so much more, so many words spoken by the pictures, thankyou for your wonderful accounts of a lifetime so real in our past.

  6. Richard Smith permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Great post today. The people reminded me of my mum and dad and grandparents. Everyone seems to be having a good time even though they probably had little. The friendship between folks is obvious and moving!

  7. Stephen Barker permalink
    July 19, 2017

    On BBC 4 there was a good documentary on the Golden Age of Coach travel which starts with day-trips and charabancs. It is repeated occasionally, I would recommend it to anyone interested in this piece of social history.

  8. July 19, 2017

    I remember drinking in the Queens’ Head in Chicksand street before it was demolished to make way for ‘luxury apartments’. The nearest I’ve ever got to going on a beano was when I went on a day trip to Calais with the Transport & General Workers union. We left Cambridge Heath Road at 6:30 am on a mini bus. The beer was opened at 6:35 and the rest is a blur except for a violent storm in the middle of the English channel on the way back.

  9. Helen Breen permalink
    July 19, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a great collection of nostalgic pics of happy “day trippers” through the 20th century. It is obvious how important these excursions were to those who participated. No doubt, it was the highlight of the summer for most.

    I have a large, extended photo of a group, including my dear mother, on a “shop picnic” in the 30s. She was a “fancy snitcher” who worked in several shoe shops in Lynn, MA during the heyday of industrialization in New England. Her “associates,” like those in your photos were well dressed and happy to be along.

    Great glimpse into a simpler past…

  10. July 20, 2017

    when I worked for LBTH , digby street we used to have a beano every year ,it was southend every time .we all knew each over and we were friends as well as work colleges a lot of us grew up together, we were a close knit community and we always enjoyed ourselves ,as you can see from your photos east enders knew how to have fun ..its a shame that most of the east enders are gone now ,moved out of London to places like Essex ,a lot of us moved to or near southend .it takes me 20mins drive to get to southend ,where you hear a lot of people talking with a cockney accent its no more beano’s for me but I can still have a drink on the beach at southend…

  11. Dave Verguson permalink
    July 22, 2017

    A great collection of photos. ‘Beano’ derives, I think, from bean feast, the medieval custom of throwing a feats after the bean harvest. (This sounds both improbable and a possible explanation!).

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