Scarecrows and snail races, traditions and archives: The Ice Cream Van has launched

Posted by: Artsadmin on Jul 31, 2012
On 21 July 2012 The London Scarecrow Championships took place at Hackney City Farm, East London for the launch of Rebecca Davies' The Ice Cream Van. After weeks of solid work with the help of friends and a fantastic handy man The Ice Cream Van was officially unveiled and she goes by the name of 'Beau Belle's'. The name came about after Rebecca discovered the flyer for an old social club cockney night of the same name.

At The London Scarecrow Championships almost twenty villainous scarecrows were stuffed and the winners, locals Becky Bailey and her daughters, realistically portrayed their evil post office lady. Colin the snail, who hails from Stoke Newington, won the snail race. Colin took just under three minutes to complete the two foot long race.

The art work seen on the van so far was painted by Rebecca, who used the conversations and ideas she collected having worked with Canon Barnett Primary School and members from the Sundial Day Centre at both in Tower Hamlets, East London.

The van evolves and so does its music, as part of the project, Rebecca asked members from local choirs, youth groups and musicians to reinvent the ice cream chime. The resulting soundtrack includes songs from members of Rising Tide youth enterprise, The Sundial Singers and a mother/son chant (recorded in their bathroom,with the tap as one of the instruments).

In the coming months, Rebecca and Beau Belle's will continue to be based at Hackney City Farm, where she will continue her research for the library. Contained within the van, this archive celebrates the various ways in which we get together. Footage from the cheese rolling and scarecrow stuffing festivals that Rebecca visited is currently being edited. A screening of some of these pieces will be taking place later this month.

Rebecca will be at the farm 2-3 days a week and keep updated with dates and times on The Ice Cream Van blog. Feel free to pop by and peruse some of the articles collected in the library.
Do you have information that you would like to donate to the library? Then please get in touch, Rebecca would like to hear your stories and experiences of traditions / celebrations / feasts / festivals / social clubs. Please email

The Ice Cream Van has been commissioned by Artsadmin as part of Interference 2012.

Photos by Jose Farinha. Film by Matt Lees.
Tagged with:
This website uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Find out more about our cookie policy.