The Knowledge of London: Training to be a London Cabbie

My Experience of the Process

London’s cabbies are famous for having ‘The Knowledge‘; an intimate understanding of the capital’s routes, roads and places of interest.

Driving in my taxi around Parliament Square… (image copyright Elizabeth Dalziel)

Involving a huge amount of practical study, along with endless revision work and a continuous stream of vigorous verbal examinations, the Knowledge is a real marathon, the acquirement of which takes several years, plenty of frustration and many ups and downs. 

The Knowledge area…six miles around Charing Cross

What follows is my own personal account of the process… the highs and lows, the setbacks, the terror of regular examinations… and of course the sheer joy when I was finally told I’d passed.

It’s quite a long story, so I’ve divided my experiences into several chapters.

If you have any questions about the Knowledge, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Part One: A brief history and overview… and my ‘acceptance interview’

Part Two: The Early Stages

Part Three: Learning the Streets by Night…

Part Four: Learning the Streets by Night continued

Part Five: Let the Exams Commence

Part Six: Exams… and a Brain Experiment!

Part Seven: Approaching the End… and a Setback…

Part Eight: Receiving the Coveted Green Badge

Part Nine: Remembering My First Day as a London Cabbie

16 responses

  1. […] The Knowledge of London… Training to be a London Cabbie; my experience of the process […]

  2. […] The Knowledge of London… Training to be a London Cabbie; my experience of the process […]

  3. Thanks so much for this wonderful work you put up here. I am a new student of the knowledge. This piece is a great in sight to me. Thanks. Wish me Luck like your self PLEASE. Thanks again Sir. God bless us.

    1. Thank you, bature. Good luck with your studies.

  4. […] read a thing about the Knowledge quite a while ago:…f-the-process/ Worth a look. Pity so many cabbies loose all empathy with other road […]

  5. hello i want a taxi drive in london

  6. Heard you on American radio this evening. Very entertaining. Thank you.

    1. Hi Danny, thank you so much for the kind words. I was kind of nervous I must admit, so it’s nice to know you enjoyed it! Thanks again.

  7. I would like to know if there are suburban cabbies who can help answers some questions for a sector 7 suburban knowledge boy.
    It’s really difficult to find info online

  8. […] The Knowledge of London: Training to be a London Cabbie […]

  9. […] The Knowledge of London: Training to be a London Cabbie […]

  10. Steven Crosby | Reply

    That was such a wonderful read. I went though a lot of the emotions with you. The frustration, the disappointment, but more importantly, the elation you must have felt when you passed and that thrill when you finished your first fare. I now have an appreciation for your love of the city and the work you put in to become an ambassador for that city. Hopefully, when I visit London next fall, I’ll be lucky enough to get picked up by you and I can thank you in person for this wonderful blog. Of course, as you pointed out, there are 22,000 other cabbies out there, so I’d have to be really lucky. Good luck to you, sir. And safe travels.

    1. Thank you so much, Steven- you’re kind words mean a lot to me. Hope you enjoy your trip to London 🙂

  11. […] London, they have a test called “The Knowledge.” Cabbies have to know every street within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross: which are one […]

  12. […] As any London cabbie will tell you, Manor House is also the famous starting point for those about to embark upon ‘The Knowledge‘… […]

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