Esoteric London

No. 1090: Church Walk, N16

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Eating places, Food, Graffiti, London Labour, Transport by esotericlondon on May 2, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_8717 copy

Church Walk, London, N16. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

The Horse-World Of London – W.J. Gordon, 1893:

London has 600 cabstands, exclusive of those in the City and on private ground, such as the railway stations. A few of these are always full; a few have never had a cab on them even though they may have existed for years. The 600 cabstands on an average afford accommodation for eleven vehicles each. The rest of the cabs are either carrying passengers or else plying empty along such streets as Piccadilly, where they are a nuisance to all but those who want cabs. The same thing may, however, be said of the cabstands, and, considering the convenience that ‘crawlers’ afford, it is only the very strenuous reformer who would abolish them entirely, if it were possible to do so.

Out of the 15,000 cabmen, about 2,000 are convicted every year for drunkenness, cruelty, wilful misbehaviour, loitering, plying, obstruction, stopping on the wrong side of the road, delaying, leaving their cabs unattended, &c., &c. The cabman who ‘knows his business best’ is one who can crawl judiciously without getting into trouble with the police, resulting for a first offence in the famous ‘two-and-six and two,’ which means half-a crown fine and a florin costs.

At many of the stands there is a ‘shelter,’ which is much larger inside than a glance at the exterior would lead one to suppose. The shelters are generally farmed from the Shelter Fund Society by some old cabman. They are cabman’s restaurants, and the cabman, as a rule, is not so much a large drinker as a large eater. At one shelter lately the great feature was boiled rabbit and pickled pork at two o’clock in the morning […].