Leeds nostalgia: Charabanc trips to the coast

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Charabancs were once all the rage. Come a sunny weekend, there was nothing well-to-do Loiners loved more than to crowd aboard one of these suspensionless wonders and try to avoid swallowing flies as it chugged its way toward the coast.

Back in those days, photographers used to make a fortune from such outings, a memento picture being one of the first things on people’s minds.

These two pictures, plucked from our archives, was originally supplied by Mrs A Britton, of Cardinal Avenue, Beeston. The main pictures shows trippers of the Imperial Inn, of which she said: “The Imperial was in Princess Street, which ran from Jack Lane to Elland Road. I think Mr Taylor was the landlord when the picture was taken, which by my reckoning would be around 1920.”

The other picture shows women aboard a trip which was setting out from The Balloon Inn, which stood on the corner of Balloon Street and Ainsley Street. It was owned by Fred Duxbury.

Mrs Britton added: “My brother is among the children seeing the ladies off, and he looks to be about six years old. He would be 72 now.”

That was in 1985.

Charabanc (pronounced ‘Sharra-bang’) were originally horse drawn but motorised versions were produced in the in the early 1900s.

These open-topped, solid-tyred coaches averaged about 12mph and possibly a little more down hill and with a tail wind and were far from comfortable.

Still, it was a big occasion to have a trip in one and so people tended to grin and bare the discomfort in the knowledge there was sand and sea at the other end.

As the motorcar grew in popularity, charabancs went the way of the horse and cart.