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Cockney Beanos

July 26, 2020
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)

Images courtesy Tower Hamlets Community Homes

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Peter permalink
    July 26, 2020

    And a jolly good time was had by all!

  2. July 26, 2020

    I remember people throwing coins for the children before the coach left! (1950s Bow)

  3. Mary permalink
    July 26, 2020

    A wonderful piece of social history. I think these beanos happened across the UK, but it is interesting to note that these in the East End were all male or all female affairs. Perhaps it was a good excuse to get away from “the old man” or “the old dutch” for a day.

  4. Saba permalink
    July 26, 2020

    Everyone looks so happy. What strikes me is how dressed up everyone was. Men wore jackets with ties and women wore high heels for a day of recreation. Why were the outings called beanos?

  5. July 26, 2020

    Love this! I assume that most of these photos were taken “before” the adventure. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the “After” version of the same outings? I can imagine disheveled people (yes, even those well-dressed LADIES……) limp from laughter, full of snacks and (ahem) “beverages”, hoarse from singing, and already planning next year’s outing. Oh, the tales the bus drivers could tell!? And the accordionists!

    So glad that these marvelous photos have survived.
    Thanks, GA, for the heaping helping of fun today.

  6. Heather permalink
    July 26, 2020

    Fabulous collection of photos. On the ladies: Look at the hats, handbags, and high heels!

    Presumably, it was warm and sticky weather….

  7. Robin permalink
    July 26, 2020

    Oh what I wouldn’t give for one of these beanos now!

  8. July 26, 2020

    Great Groups having Run!!!???????

  9. Dr Jonathan van Halbert permalink
    July 27, 2020

    What a wonderful collection of photos and stories.. But for me growing up in the

    early 1950’s . It will always mean the Beano & Dandy, a comic magazine for children!

    Published in Dundee it represents the meaning of the word. A big grown up

    noisy bash of an outing! I remember those couches they were such fun. You could

    hang streamers out of the windows and even poke your head out of the window..

  10. Martin Ling permalink
    July 28, 2020

    The Camel in Globe Road E2 has some wonderful photos of the pub’s beanos on its walls.

  11. Jennifer Blain permalink
    July 28, 2020

    Another enjoyable article Gently Author. Accordians. Accordian players. Have you any more about their life, their history in the east end? I think I have read that they were associated with the Italian community in Clerkenwell.

  12. Belinda Harman permalink
    July 14, 2021

    I have just arranged a Beano-2021 with Tower Hamlets Homes and the CTRA. As a relief after the Lockdowns for people to meet up again. 50 of us going to Margate Dreamland. And on the same Empress Coaches as in some of these 1950s Beano Pics. Ours will be mixed though. So nice to revive this old Cockney tradition.

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