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A Tour Of The Cabbies’ Shelters

August 30, 2015
by the gentle author

(Celebrating the sixth anniversary of Spitalfields Life with a week of favourite posts from the last twelve months, before recommencing with new stories on 31st August)

Created between 1875 and 1914, sixty of these structures were built by the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund established by the Earl of Shaftesbury to enable cabbies to get a meal without leaving their cabs unattended and were no larger than a horse and cart so they might stand upon the public highway.

Today, only thirteen remain but all are grade II listed and, on my strange pilgrimage around London, I found them welcoming homely refuges where a cup of tea can be had for just 50p.

Thurloe Place, SW7

Embankment Place, Wc2

Wellington Place, NW8

Chelsea Embankment, SW3

Grosvenor Gardens, SW1

St Georges Sq, SW1

Kensington Park Rd, W11

Temple Place, WC2

Warwick Ave, W9

Russell Sq, WC1

Kensington Rd, W8

Pont St, SW1

Hanover Sq, W1

The shelter attendant at Wellington Place has special spoon-bending powers

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. August 30, 2015

    A key feature of the shelters was that , unlike pubs of course, they were alcohol free. They were part of the broader campaign to encourage temperance. Alongside this went an encouragement to treat horses beningly including watering and feeding them. It was felt that sober cabbies were more like to behave in this way. Drinking troughs for horses were often found nearby.

  2. Jane permalink
    August 30, 2015

    As a child these diminutive green ‘houses’ always held mysterious fascination and appeal. A wonderfully varied and distinctive set of structures in the photographs.. Am delighted to find our ‘local’ Kensington Park Rd included, which is frequently passed on the way to the tube stn.

  3. Ros permalink
    August 30, 2015

    Such gorgeous photographs, and like all the other posts this week well worth re-reading.

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