Let me introduce myself:
I’m a London Cabbie.
I drive a shiny (when it’s clean), black taxi around the streets of London for a living.
It’s a wonderful vehicle, an icon. The four wheels and five seats which I provide are a sanctuary of sorts; a place where you can climb in and journey around London in peace and comfort.
My taxi, like the other 22,000 on the road, is there to protect you from the chaos; the roar of traffic, the fumes, screaming blue emergency lights, the general pulse and swell of the crowd.
Most of the people I meet appreciate this sanctuary. Many like to sit back and relax, or catch up on work and phone-calls.
A small minority abuse it.
A special group like to use the time for a chat, and this is the best part of my job.
I hope you enjoy the experiences and the wonderful history of my beloved city which I aim to share via these pages.
Please note, when writing about people I’ve met, names, destinations etc have been changed, in order to maintain privacy.
A number of short video clips and images can be found on my site. They are included here for purposes of education and illustration only; no copyright infringement is intended
What do you think of the new cabs?
I’m not too keen on them to be honest.
For me, one of the best things about being a London cabbie is driving a vehicle which is recognized the world over. The new cabs are far too bland and, apart from the ‘taxi’ light on the roof, they look pretty much like any other people-carrier.
Yup – bland and boring. That’s why I thought too. And they have done the same to the yellow cabs of New York. Gone the way of red telephone boxes and buses with conductors. Life seems somehow poorer.
Great blog, btw. I am working my way through the knowledge of London posts and thoroughly enjoying them!
Glad I’m not alone! Many thanks for your kind comments; really appreciate your readership
I drive the new tx4 wich I love, never had the privilege of driving the older cabs.
Customers seem to enjoy the comfort of the new cabs because they have better suspensions.
They have certain faults wich many cabbies all know about but I think they great.
Hi Robert being in Florida I have not seen the cabs you are referring too! please send an image thanks.
Hi Rob, I emailed you a picture- think I had the right address!
Great website! I’m working on a new programme for BBC and would love to speak to you about it. It involves an hour or so of your time this coming Saturday 3rd November. Can I speak to you about it in more detail please in the morning (Friday morning?)
Thanks so much.
Hi Lucie, thanks for the message- I’ve sent you an email.
I have a Fairway black taxi that i want to place liveried advert on, does antoe have the template for this old cab and if possible the newer TX1 which my dad drives, i need it in ai or pdf format for all sides, top, rear, and bonnet to give to the graphic designer, to get the dimensions correct.
Thank you in advance Holly. Please email me the template if you have it. email@example.com
Sorry, I can’t really help you out there. You’re best of contacting one of the taxi advertising companies (such as Ubiquitous).
Hello chap, am I right in thinking you did the knowledge in a Smart Car? If so could I pick your brains about that as I’m seriously considering doing it myself this way. Having had a full motorbike licence for over 20 years and now being in my early 40s I know only too well how harsh winters can be on a bike / scooter! Thanks.
Thanks for looking at my site. I did the Knowledge in a Peugeot 106.
My step brothers run a golf days company and are launching a series of competitions solely for black cab drivers at clubs in and around London in 2013. Do you have any advice on where they should advertise to get the information out to as many golfing black cab drivers as possible? You can check them out at http://www.golfdaysuk.co.uk/golf-days-uk-black-cab-tour-2013.
You’re probably best off trying the cafes for cabbies (such as the Green huts and the King’s Cross Taxi Centre) and also in the trade press; newspapers such as ‘LTDA’s Taxi’ and ‘The Cab Driver’.
Many thanks for your reply. I will pass the information on to them.
Read some articles regarding the place elephant and castle wondered what your theories were about its history.
Hi, I’ve nominated your blog for a Liebster Award, a fun way to share and promote blogs.
Hi, I have got a very bad in fact horrible experience with the black cab. It was the 1st experience of mine & my friend in London’s iconic Black Cab. I’m sharing my experience with you so that it might happen that I get back my valuables back.
It happened on 8-Nov 2012 evening, when me & my friend took a Black cab from Excel London for Metcalfe, North Greenwitch. The ride was a pleasure. In less than 20 seconds of we getting off the taxi we realized we left 1 backpack (bag) in the cab itself. That bag carried 2 Passports, 2 laptops, currencies (around 200 GBP & 100 USD), our travel documents and other items. We rushed towards the direction that cab went but by that time it was all gone. We tried to search the taxi driver’s details or the cab company details on the receipt that driver gave us BUT it carried the id ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ website: http://www.clivenatural.com. These belong to the company that prints these receipts. We tried to locate out stuff through police, lost property office but none helped. We got our new passports from the embassy the next day and we flew back to our country.
I hear black cab drivers are gentleman but that cabbie didn’t even bother to help us take out our baggage (4-5 full size bags) which was full of our exhibition material. What a gentleman!!!
This incidence resulted into a huge loss to us (monetary, physically and mentally).
Though there’re rarest of rare possibility of we getting back what we lost still just trying my luck may be i feel something good about that trip.
Please do contact me in case there’s anything you have regarding this.
I am very sorry to hear of your bad experience. Unfortunately there are over 20,000 cabbies in London so not all are perfect..
The only suggestion I can make is that you contact the London Transport Lost Property Office on Baker Street, although I believe you have already done so? Failing that, there is little that can be done. If the driver didn’t notice the backpack was there, the next passenger in the taxi may have been dishonest and taken the item themselves. There really is no way of telling.
I am sorry I can be no more help, but if I hear anything I will be sure to let you know.
Hello. Have really enjoyed reading your blog. I work in the centre of London and have started the knowledge on a full sized folding pedal bike. My plan is to tube to the start of runs and do them and the quarter mile radius on the bike. Then simply take the train home, do you think that this is possible as most of the runs are only a few miles long or is this complete madness on my part?
Hope you got my earlier message? It is certainly possible to do the Knowledge on a push-bike, many cabbies in the past certainly have.
Stay safe if you do so though 🙂
i,m 76 yeears old and i know as much about useing a computer as the whereabouts of Lord Lucon. I text you once before but because of my lack of knowledge of lap tops I dont know if you receive it.What I would like you to tell me is if I wish to send you a story,how do I get it to you,by the
way I am a retired taxi driver with 30 years and a very good knowledge of London behind me
all the best on your web page I read it most of the time
You’re a gentleman, James. Thank you so much for your kind comment. Be lucky…
Hi, I’ve just discovered your site – it’s great! I’m going to have to spend the next few weeks going through your previous posts now…
I have a random question; where do cabbies stop for a break / to relieve themselves / get something to eat at night? Are there special places for you guys, or do you just discover places that are open all night – I’ve always wondered about that…
Hi, many thanks for the kind comment 🙂
Finding a place to stop and have a break is one of the most frustrating things about being a cabbie.
There are designated places, but they are few and far between. There are three large taxi cafes in Paddington, St Pancras and Southwark which are the most convenient and have toilet facilities (very basic ones I hasten to add!)
We also have the famous green huts, a few of which located near public lavatories- although these close in the early evening! In an emergency, there are a few kind-hearted hotels who let cabbies use their toilet facilities.
In short, you need to have a patient bladder!
Thanks again 🙂
Thanks for clearing that up for me – I’d heard about the green huts, but wasnt sure if they were still operational!
I don’t have a patient bladder I’m afraid – so I couldn’t do it (also I have a terrible sense of direction, and I can’t really drive etc etc…)
I’ve never been interested in blogs but yours drew me in mainly due to the insightful, humorous and even handed manner in which you approach your subject matter unlike some other sites that that are just hell bent on unleashing Armageddon on the streets of London! Only someone who absolutely loves their job can convey it to a lay person such as myself in such simple terms as to make me want to do the Knowledge!
Great blog and keep up the good work. Be lucky!
That’s really kind of you 🙂 Thank you so much and thanks for reading.
Yesterday turned out to be an unforgettable night and the ride in your cab from Tate Modern to Covent Garden was certainly part of it. Thanks for a good chat and great views over London!
All the best,
The Swede and the Korean
Hi guys! Thank you so much for the kind comment, it means a lot to me 🙂 Was a real pleasure to meet you both and hope you make it back to London soon.
Hello Robert , I have read your blog and found it a brilliant read! I am just starting the knowledge and wondered what you would of done ,in hindsight , differently when you were doing yours?
Many thanks, Mark. That’s a good question. In hindsight I would have arranged my points in an efficient way from day one, they are very important.
My son has just failed his first 28 how can I encourage him to keep going?
Such failures are common on the Knowledge, it is all part of it. You just have to keep going… remember, you never fail on the Knowledge, you just give up. As long as you stick at it, you will get there. If he’s made it to the 28 stage than he’ll be there before he knows it!
Thanks for the advice.i will pass this on to him
Can you suggest how to arrange the points you mention in the February query.where would you start? Borough by borough?
You have to do what you feel is right by you, there is no exact way… go with what you think works best, what you feel comfortable with. I arranged mine by postcode (WC1, WC2, E1 for example). Flash cards are good for revision.
I just wanted to say, after years and years of contemplating doing the knowledge, your blog has just sealed the deal for me. I feel like I just done it with you, and despite becoming a Mum for the first time last year I am definitely going to pursue it. To say your blog inspired me to chase it is an understatement. Hope to bump in to you one day wearing a shiny badge around my neck and say thanks in person. Thanks mate 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I wish you the best of luck with your studies and please don’t hesitate to contact me should you need any advice.
Stay safe out there and be lucky 🙂
I wonder if you are still driving. The last comment was made in 2015. I have been running a one woman campaign to save the black cab in London. Every black cab I got into has been given a paper on which I have outlined a plan to switch cab fuel to LPG, if all of you did it and grouped together is would not cost too much.
I came on this site to find the two mice in Philpot Lane (I even knew the story) for a game I have devised for workers at the Bank of England, I knew they were somewhere but for the life of my could not remember exactly where, so thank you very much
Hi, thanks for the kind words and interesting info 🙂 So glad you were able to find the mice!
I just read an excerpt of you book and find it erudite and well-written. Best of luck with it!
Thank you so much for the kind words Edward.
Great stuff, keep it up! Rear windows could be darkened to prevent abuse when stationary on a journey. What you cannot see is often beneficial. The original taxi stands alone and it’s loss is very sad and stupid.
Pleased to meet you.