Is there anything that symbolises the start of warmer weather better than the tinkling sound of an ice cream van? In the 1950s, 20,000 ice cream vans would take to the streets in the UK as soon as hats and gloves had been banished to the back of the cupboard. Currently, however, there is only an estimated 500 of the vans left out on the streets.
Rising costs and an increased anxiety about high sugar and fat content are thought to be the key factors in the depressing decline. But it isn’t all sober news.
The Code of Practice on Noise from Ice Cream Van Chimes was changed for the first time since 1982 to allow ice cream vans to play their jingle for longer. Since September the vans can increase the playing time from only four seconds to a maximum of 12 seconds. That might seem like quite a change but ice cream van vendors are still banned from playing their song:
- after 7pm
- above 80 decibels
- more than once every two hours
- in the same street within 50m of schools, hospitals, or places of worship
- when a rival van is trading
While the traditional ice cream van is appearing in smaller numbers, creative entrepreneurs are jumping on the…ergh…ice cream van.
Portsmouth, the second largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, is known for being the UK’s only island city. It is home to the world’s oldest dry dock, several ghosts, and a number of well known ships, including the Mary Rose, the HMS Victory, and the HMS Warrior. It is also home to Kiss My Cake.
Kiss My Cake, a boutique cake company, hires out Bluebell, a vintage ice cream van, for weddings and parties. Included in the 450 pound (GBP) fee is ice cream for 100 people in eight flavours, a bonus choice of champagne or sambuca sorbet, sauces, sprinkles, flakes and luxury waffle cones.
Famous fashion designer Henry Holland has revamped a van and is selling House of Holland goods out the back. And if you thought ice cream was just for the summer, then think again. Emma Thomas of Miss Cakehead, who’s known for combining gruesomeness with sweetness, is planning on a screaming and creaming horror-themed van for autumn.
Ice cream, anyone?