After over 100 years the Green Cabmens’ Shelters still fascinate people. Here are a few examples of how they have featured in the press and social media.
Green Cab Shelters have been providing shelter and sustenance to cabbies for over 140 years. Check out their history, construction, facilities and miscellaneous facts by following this links:
1. This Shelter is the property of the Fund and is for the use of CABDRIVERS only.
2. The Drivers of the FIRST TWO CABS on the rank are reminded that by law they have to be with their cabs.
3. Card playing, betting or gambling is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.
4. No notices are to be placed in this Shelter without the permission of the Committee.
5. A Tariff of priced is to be regularly exhibited in the Shelter.
6. The Shelter is to be kept open for service during the hours set out in the Notice displayed in the Shelter.
7. The Attendant is responsible for seeing that the above regulations are strictly carried out.
Cabbie tea mug 1935-1945 © Museum of London.
This ¾-pint tea mug would have been used by a cab driver ‘taking a break’ in a Cabman’s Shelter. Cabbies bought their own mugs, which were kept for them at the shelter and looked after by the ‘shelter boys’.
An excellent article is to be found at Atlas Obscura where the writer, Linda Rodriguez McRobbie interviews Jimmy Jenkins, the current director of the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund who discloses that the rents aren’t the only source of revenue for the Fund. Apparently in recent years, the Fund has seen a big boost from a deal with Universal Studios, which licensed the design for the shelter to use in its Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction. Where the shelters sell bacon sarnies and paper cups of coffee to cab drivers in London, in Orlando, they sell cuddly stuffed Hedwigs and plastic souvenir cups of butterbeer to Harry Potter-mad tourists.
Non-cabbies are normally prohibited from entering, but sometimes we make an exception. Prince Charles once popped in for a chat with the cabbies at Hanover Square.
Flickr has the group London Cabmen’s/Taxi Shelters devoted to cab shelters containing many pictures from its members with further useful information.
A short 3 minute video on The History of the Cabmen’s Shelters can be found on YouTube:
Here is an interesting link that I have found of Hansom cabs alongside a cabmen’s shelter waiting for fares in Whitehall Place outside the recently built National Liberal Club. Taken sometime between 1887 and 1900.
The Guardian’s food writer Tim Hayward has made a video featuring cabbie Anthony Street. Together, they trundle round London, starting with a full English in a neon-lit Portakabin caff behind King’s Cross and ending with the perfect bacon roll. Hayward even manages to get inside a green shelter, which are otherwise strictly off-limits to civilians.
Between designing handbags fit for the Duchess of Cambridge, and assisting Mayor Boris in his mission to make the host city look beautiful for the 2012 Olympic games, Anya Hindmarch is taking up the cause to save the Cabmen’s Shelters from extinction. She has designed a two-way 2012 London diary/notebook which contains tips about her favourite places in London to visit, including, of course, the shelters for a great cuppa. In recognition of her love affair with London’s Cabmen’s Shelters, Anya has produced a limited edition, Cabman inspired, ‘First Edition’ collectible Diary, hand-tooled by London’s oldest book maker. The cover features intricate leather details in Cabman’s Green French Calf leather, embossed with tongue and groove detail reflecting the exterior walls of the wooden huts and features a cabbie’s menu. Turn the pages to discover special details alluding to the character and life of London’s cabbies; a tea stain from a cabbies mug, taxi receipts, a cabbies’ badge and Anya’s take on the magic tree air freshener. With a limited edition of 10 it comes in at £750 a pop. Cabbies who might not wish to spend that much on a diary can purchase the regular one starting from £125.
Nathan Yeoman at Yeoman Models now makes scale replicas of the Green Shelters these are 3D printed in white nylon plastic with a matte finish and slight grainy feel in either N or TT gauge.
Further information on Green Shelters can be found in Wikipedia. Author Will Self has written for the New York Times. Accounts of Anya Hindmarch have been written by Belinda White and Disney Roller Girl. The curiously named Terrier and Lobster has some photos of the shelters and the early post by Urban75 is still to be found online. Loretta Chase writes of her trip to London on seeing Green Shelters with useful links to Hackney coach stands and Victorian fare tables.
If you want to know what breakfast is like at a cab shelter Evelyn Waughffle’s excellent London Review of the Russell Square Shelter’s breakfast can be found here.
The Gentle Author who writes at Spitalfields Life has published his favourite posts, one of which is A Tour Of The Cabbies’ Shelters. A great series of pictures including the shelter attendant at Wellington Place which has special spoon-bending powers.
The Cabbies’ Shelters Project, curated and managed by the Creative Intelligence Agency, and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council, London Transport Museum and the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund commissioned three contemporary artists to present work inspired by London’s discreet and architecturally unique Cabmen’s Shelters and the knowledgeable communities that use them. Works by Kathy Prendergast, Emma Smith and Victoria Turnbull included lively musical performances, a film a beautiful, limited edition map and a Learning Resource for Explorers. The public programme launched as part of Heritage Open Days and Open House London and ran from September 2014 until mid October 2014.