Skip to content

East End Beano Season

July 8, 2023
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my tour throughout July, August & September


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

We have reached that time of year again 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

You may also like to read about

At Empress Coaches

The High Days & Holidays of Old London

6 Responses leave one →
  1. July 8, 2023

    You want to get in and ride along….

    Love & Peace

  2. Mark permalink
    July 8, 2023

    I love these.
    My mum died recently and I’ve been going through her photos and one of them shows my grandmother with her Birds Eye workmates standing infront of the bus about to whisk them off for a day at the seaside. As the picture and factory was in Lowestoft, where in Satan’s name were they heading? Surely not Great Yarmouth just down the road?!

  3. Mark permalink
    July 8, 2023

    Picture taken late 1940s/ early 1950s by the look of it

  4. July 8, 2023

    Although you frequently share fine artful photography, these snapshots convey such a vivid
    sense of time and place. So many telling details to enjoy. The word “excursion” is far too tame for these fun-loving folks, intent on a day of frivolity, funny hats and accordion music. Thank goodness someone came up with “beano”. Well, ‘course.

    I so enjoyed seeing both ladies and gents in their pressed clothing, handbags, polished shoes, etc.
    ready to embark; and could easily imagine the disheveled fun-lovers after a day of bus travel, lawn games, picnic snacks, and other hoop-de-doo.

    What a treasure. Thanks to everyone for sharing these warm-hearted photos.
    Happy summer.

  5. July 8, 2023

    As Lynne commented above, everyone turned out so handsomely!

    Perhaps only an American like me would ask this question, but why were they called “beanos?” We probably would have called them “junkets” on this side of the Atlantic… or the more banal “field trip.” But here, too, they probably would have been organised by a fraternal organisation like the Elks or the Shriners, or the DAR or the League of Women Voters… because we didn’t have the unique community of a local!

  6. August 1, 2023

    In the States, Beano is the brand name of a pill you take before eating beans, with the aim of reducing your vaporous emissions.

Leave a Reply

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

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS