An urban view — 08 August 2017

Following the destruction caused by World War II (including many Green Shelters), the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 put a listings system in place to identify buildings considered special enough to be protected during post-war rebuilding. The list today includes buildings and landscapes of historical or architectural interest with around 400,000 entries spanning everything from windmills and palaces to piers and plague crosses.

While 514 of the entries are pigsties and 13 dung pits, these and many others of listings where preservation is deemed necessary in order for current and future generations to enjoy. It has included some bizarre inclusions in London including a concrete diving board at the former Purley Way lido in Croydon, a skatepark in Hornchurch and that zebra crossing on Abbey Road, itself having been moved since the famous album cover.

On the 70th anniversary of this listing initiative, from the advice of Historic England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has added to the National Heritage List for England a Cabbies’ Green Shelter.

Built in 1906, this one can be found in Grosvenor Gardens and is one of the last of only 13 still standing in London.

Still used by Black Cab drivers today as a place to rest and grab refreshments between jobs, but was originally built to combat cabbies taking shelter in pubs to escape the elements during shifts and drinking while waiting for customers.

Picture: Bill of fare © Urban 75

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(2) Readers Comments

  1. Thank you for your part in preserving the cabbie shelters. They are very special. The one given by my great-grandfather was given in 1901 for the benefit of the drivers waiting outside the Haymarket Theatre in all weathers while their passengers enjoyed the play. It was soon moved to Leicester Square, opposite the Odeon, and eventually to Russell Square. My GGF was actor-manager Squire Bancroft, who, with his wife, ran the Haymarket from 1880-85. Before that they ran, for many years, a theatre called the Prince of Wales’s in Tottenham Street, rebuilt and greatly enlarged in 1904 as the Scala (using the old PoW entrance as their stage door). Now even the Scala is gone, demolished and rebuilt in 1969 as a very uninteresting office block..
    PS, speaking with my son in Australia yesterday (I have been forwarding your posts to him as he loves London!). He said he is also following you on Twitter!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Your great-great-grandfather’s shelter, which must rank as the most nomadic in London, has now been refurbished and looks great – hanging baskets, lighting under the eaves and seating outside. I really should change the picture on CabbieBlog to reflect how it looks today. I also think we should nickname it the Bancroft Shelter, it has, after all, still got the two plaques describing the shelter’s benefactor.

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