Object: Photograph of Beano
After 1850, the coming of the railways enabled local residents to enjoy day trips to the recently opened great parks like Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest, the countryside of Essex and the seaside. Following the introduction of three bank holidays between 1871 and 1880, the railway companies expanded the scale of their cheap excursions from Kings Cross and St Pancras and beano’s became a regular feature of Somers Town life.
As early as July 1868, cheap day excursions to Rye House advertised, ‘a day among the fields and flowers’ and in the same month, fifty teachers and 450 children from Middlesex Street school went on a day trip to Alexandra Park on a special train from King’s Cross to Wood Green where the children (and probably adults too!) enjoyed donkey rides, games, a circus, and refreshments. By the Whitsun bank holiday of 1882, The Times reported that the GNR had transported 120,000 on days out and the beano was here to stay!
In the 1890s, local organisations had started to arrange their own excursions. In August 1892, the Presbyterian Church in Ossulston Street organised a day trip from St Pancras to Southend and later that month, the Christian Men’s Mission in Chalton Street arranged an excursion to Epping Forest attended by five hundred adults and seven hundred children! It was described in a local newspaper as ‘a monster excursion’ during which, ‘both old and young thoroughly enjoyed themselves’.
By John Lynch