All aboard the charabanc

Old black and white photo

Charabanc outing, outside the White Swan Piccadilly. (c) City of York Council (York Images)

I’ve also recently chanced upon an image from the city archives taken outside the White Swan, around a hundred years ago. In the background is the same stretch of its Piccadilly frontage where the ‘relics‘ are displayed. Back then it was quite new and hadn’t yet had modern shopfronts inserted (the present White Swan dates from 1912, and replaced an earlier White Swan Hotel).

The people pictured here appear to be going on an outing, in a charabanc. Basically an early bus. This one’s quite a posh charabanc, motorised. It looks like it has the numberplate ‘DN 1′,  which I always understood was the Lord Mayor’s vehicle – in more recent times at least. (If you know more about this photo or the vehicle in it, please add a comment.)

In my own family history archives I also have a couple of images which appear to have been taken at the beginning of a charabanc outing, at around the same time. But in Hull, and we were poor, and our charabanc was horse-drawn.

Old photo

Charabanc outing, from Hull

The girl third on the right is my maternal grandmother, Doris.

Do hop on the charabanc and join us. There’s the posh motorised York charabanc and the working class Hull charabanc, pick whichever one suits best. I’m going for the one with a horse, without flags. I’m not quite sure where we’re going next. They don’t look comfortable so short journeys are probably preferable.


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  1. Ee bah gum,I’m wi thee lass,on’t 8 legged hoss n’ cart,wi fellers wi compulsary flattats,and lasses in Sunda’ best.Just as I did in my youth in the 1930’s,going on Lady Pecketts Sunday school outings
    on horse and coal cart,picking up at Heworth Church,
    clip clopping down Stockton Lane to picnic field,
    with free pork pie/bag of sweets and all the lemonade out of a jug you could drink.Being exhorted all the while by Lady P,”Try to behave and no fighting please”!

  2. Lovely to read this Stephen. I wonder if the picnic field is still a field?

  3. Its DN11 9The first 1 is obstructed by the starting handle. The Owner was Henry Lawson of Grange Road, York, who had a Garage in Piccadilly

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