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East End Beanos

June 24, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my tour of Spitalfields next Thursday 30th June and throughout July

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)

Images courtesy Tower Hamlets Community Homes

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Judith Page permalink
    June 24, 2022

    I remember from my childhood in the 50s it was a tradition for children to wait by the coach for pennies to be thrown into the road before departure

  2. Marcia Howard permalink
    June 24, 2022

    Great photos of an almost lost world. Even the image of the ladies outside the Prince Albert looks really dated, and yet the 60s and early 70s were a fab time for me.

  3. Mick Kahn permalink
    June 24, 2022

    Good to see accordions in a number of the pictures. Evidence of some singing on the coaches….

  4. June 24, 2022

    Beanos… What a great name. They must have been so much fun.

  5. Geri Caruso permalink
    June 24, 2022

    I absolutely love these pictures….. The men for almost all outings in suits! and the women with hair fairly short and off their faces… you can see those lovely smiles. Interestingly…. what would pictures of similar trips look like now if you could even get groups of this kind together and headed in the same direction.

  6. Christine Reardon permalink
    June 24, 2022

    What a wonderful collection of photos. Thank you for sharing. I’m pretty sure that’s my grandad in the first one, ‘Stepney in the twenties’ – top right, with his elbow on the charabanc. I would love to see the photo in a higher resolution just to be sure, if that’s at all possible?

  7. Susanna Kaiser permalink
    June 24, 2022

    l love this! I have never heard the term “beano” but I now have the idea I think. Perhaps our American company picnics (workplace summer outing) from this era would have been similar, but without the accordions unfortunately. What a wonderful time that must have been- great post!

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