In autumn 2017 I was honoured to participate in a project named ‘Sherbert Dab: An Oral History of the London Taxi’ (Sherbet Dab being Cockney rhyming slang for cab).
Organised by the educational charity, Digital Works in conjunction with Unite and the London Transport Museum, this ambitious venture introduced 26 London cabbies to pupils from St George the Martyr school, Holborn and Westminster Cathedral school, Pimlico.
The children conducted in-depth interviews with each of the London taxi drivers, covering topics such as family backgrounds, what it was like to study The Knowledge in their particular era, interesting stories which have occurred whilst driving a cab and much, much more.
All of these interviews- which together consist of many hours worth of material- can now be listened to online and are a real treasure trove.
Many of those interviewed are true veterans of the industry: Stanley Roth for example, who started driving in 1957 is believed to be the longest serving cabbie working in London today, whilst 84 year old Trinidadian, Vasco Figueria was one of the earliest West Indian drivers to qualify when he passed The Knowledge in the early 1960s.
To listen to these interviews, please click here.
Each interview was also recorded on film and the pupils have edited this extensive footage into a wonderful, highly professional 54 minute film which is insightful, moving, funny and a real testament to the skill of these incredible youngsters.
The film, which premiered on the 12th January 2018 at the London Transport Museum’s Cubic Theatre, can be viewed in full here.
All of the Sherbet Dab interviews will be going into the archives of both the TUC and the London Transport Museum.