Wednesday 22 January 2014

The Happy Wanderers.


I wonder how many people remember this bunch, above?

One of the treats of visiting London in the 1950's was to catch sight of The Happy Wanderers.

In the daytime they would perform in Oxford Street, and Regent's Street; then in the evenings they would entertain Theatre-goers around Shaftesbury Avenue. I imagine they were all ex-servicemen.

Vagrancy laws, at the time, meant that buskers had to keep moving (or be arrested), so one would always see them, just like above, marching in line along the pavement or on the road. How anyone ever managed to given them any money I don't know; I certainly don't remember them holding out a hat.

Their brand of simple street jazz was invigorating to the young Cro, who was probably either being dragged around the 'sales', or visiting Harrods for wretched school uniform fittings.

They disbanded around 1960, and were much missed; they had become a part of the very fabric of London life.

Do you remember them?


  1. I'm afraid that I'm old enough to say that I do Cro ….. We often went to London as children and, I remember them well ….. I also remember a man who had a dancing bear and an escapologist !! XXXX

  2. No. I don't think I had been further south than Ipswich.

    I note there are no black people in the picture.

  3. I must have been thirteen or fourteen when I first visited London for a walk around rather than just hurtling through the city at night on my way somewhere else. My father took me to see his offices near Marble Arch and then turned me loose in Hyde Park. I was dressed in a suit and was followed everywhere I went by a gang of children all chanting 'Smarty Pants!'. I wasn't such a Happy Wanderer!

  4. I was nearly 30 years too late to see them. But I would surely remember if I had seen them.

  5. They probably did it for the fun and not the money.

  6. Ha...Uniform fittings. I bet you still have a bundle of name tags somewhere:)

  7. Never heard of them Cro but I suspect they were ex bandsmen from the services. My father in law - long dead now - was a musician in the first world war army and after the war went into playing the piano for silent films - of course when talkies came in he was out of a job. This is the kind of thing that could have happened to these four.

  8. I do remember them, somewhere in my late mothers albums is a photo of my brothers and me marching behind them.


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