Skip to content

Beano Time

July 20, 2021
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 courtesy Tower Hamlets Community Homes

You may also like to read about

At Empress Coaches

8 Responses leave one →
  1. keithb permalink
    July 20, 2021

    Those accordionists may have earned a fortune but I imagine they would have to have known their tunes! Or at least have been able to mug their way through a large range of songs.

  2. Peter Holford permalink
    July 20, 2021

    What a great tradition. I’m lucky to have inherited photos of my granddad’s day out in about 1925 with the Hackney Licensed Victuallers’ Association. Eight photos of him and his brother (both Hackney publicans) with their mates crammed into a charabanc for a day out (no luggage on board) – to Land’s End! They made it as the photos in front of the Land’s End Hotel prove and the two pictures of Clovelly. That’s a distance of 600 miles probably at an average speed of less than 30 mph with minimal stopping time.

  3. July 20, 2021

    Interesting to note how the standard of men’s dress went from ties and jackets in the 50s to a much more casual look by the 60s. Did everyone know the words to the songs or did the accordionist hand out song sheets with the lyrics?

  4. Robin permalink
    July 20, 2021

    So wonderful to see people being companionable together. We should take the example and strive for more of that these days.

  5. July 20, 2021

    Those look like so much fun . . .. if they were having one here I’d sign up today. Thank you for posting about it

  6. July 20, 2021

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what great pics from those old get-togethers. Interesting how these folks dressed up for these occasions – men in suit and tie and gals in their finery. I got a kick out of the third pic down. The lady on the left in white looks as if she is attending a wedding.

    I have a similar photo of my mother at a huge “shop picnic” (they were shoe workers) taken in the 1930s in Lynn, MA. They did not call them “beanos,” but the anticipation and fun were still the same.

  7. Cherub permalink
    July 21, 2021

    These are such cheerful photos, they all look to have been going on a grand day out and I expect they all had happy memories of those fun filled days. Outings and bus trips were really important to hard working people.

  8. July 21, 2021

    Wonderful images of happy days

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS