The Evolution of the Ice Cream Van

If you live in Britain you will have grown up with the familiar site and sound of the ice cream van. To me, as a child, it was as if the Pied Piper were calling me from my house when it drove round my estate in the 70’s. I’m pretty sure I used to have a Lemonade Sparkle or sometimes a Cider Lolly and then of course there was that old favourite the 99 with some strawberry sauce for good measure! I think my favourite chime was ‘O Sole Mio’ or ‘Just One Cornetto’ as it later became known as! My kids get just as excited now by the presence of an ice cream van and when it gets really hot we have one that comes down our close so history is really repeating itself!

I’ll bet you’ve never stopped to think of the evolution of the ice cream van so here is a fascinating infographic from the people at Van Monster to inform you. Do you remember what your favourite ice lolly or ice cream treat was? Plus did you have favourite chime? Do let me know in the comments below!

Ice Cream Van History - Fab Food 4 All

NB: This is a commissioned post by Van Monster.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.fabfood4all.co.uk/the-evolution-of-the-ice-cream-van/


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  1. Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs

    How funny I should see this today! Just last weekend I was visiting family and I heard the ice cream van off in the distance. My 9 year old cousin didn’t know what the music was or what it was so I leapt up from the garden bench and made him follow me. We ran around the streets near his house following the music until we found it! It was such a giggle being a child again getting excited about finding the ice cream man but I was a little sad that he didn’t know what the music was. I went for the classic 99 with a flake, monkeys blood and sprinkles – you can’t just have one topping.

    1. Camilla

      Brilliant Emma, it’s good to be a kid again but shame he didn’t know the tune!

  2. Janice

    I never could stand Mr Whippy, I liked the proper italian ice-cream. I would always choose an ice lolly and the ultimate was a Mivi with the ice cream inside. Didn’t get those very often, sometimes a rocket or a FAB (showing my age here). I do remember holidaying in Cornwall in the 1960s and getting a cone with cornish ice cream and a dollop of clotted cream on top – heaven!

    1. Camilla

      I think I progressed to Mivis in my teens but Fabs were a favourite too – they are now my son’s favourite ice lolly:-)

  3. Mayuri Patel

    a very informative post. Though I did not grow up in UK, I have come across these ice cream vans during my visits to UK. My favourite is the 99. Last year, my niece wanted to treat our huge family to ice cream on her birthday. So her dad got the van parked in front of the house for everyone to order their favourite. Here in Kenya we have the bicycle ones. When I was growing up, they would ring a bell and we would rush out to buy our favourite ice cream. These days they are around but no longer ring the bell to entice kids.

    1. Camilla

      When I worked at Birdseye Wall’s we had one of those “Stop me and Buy One” bicycles in the foyer but they are extremely rare these days and sometimes appear at fairs!

  4. shobha

    Nice post.. brought back childhood memories.

    1. Camilla

      Thanks Shoba – it’s always good to share memories:-)


    nice info about ice cream van, here also kids run after hearing its music

    1. Camilla

      Thanks Linsy, it seems the ice cream van reigns around the world:-)

  6. Sally

    It’s so funny that you should post this now – I heard an icecream van playing ‘Greensleeves’ last night for the first time in ages. That was the chime that our local van (Andy’s Supersoft) played when I was a child, and I could immediately remember the taste of the ice-cream, and of course the pink sauce!!

    Happy memories!

    1. Camilla

      Serendipity LOL:-)

  7. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    I love ice cream vans, it’s a shame there are so few left! I’m partial to a screwball myself – not a fan of cones!

    1. Camilla

      Now why does not surprise me Becca:-)?

  8. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Lots of facts I didn’t know about ice cream vans! I tell my niece that when the ice cream man plays his song, it means he has run out 😉

    1. Camilla

      Aaw Dannii that’s just mean:-)

  9. Emily Leary

    *hides screen from kids before they start demanding a 99!* Interesting post – always fascinating to see the evolution of things that evoke such nostalgia.

    1. Camilla

      I used to write up some of the fact sheets in the press office at Birds Eye Wall’s but this was all new to me:-)

  10. Fuss Free Helen

    We have a neighbourhood ice cream van, and I am now in a YouTube loop trying to work out its jingle.

    1. Camilla

      Let me know if you find the answer LOL!

  1. 7 Days, 7 Posts #5 - Sally Akins

    […] first post from Camilla at Fab Food 4 all (@FabFood4All) is all about the Evolution of the Ice Cream Van. It came just days after I heard an ice cream van playing the chimes that I remember from the […]

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