35mm · Film photography · Photography

Cabmen’s shelter

The shed-like structure in the middle of the street in this photograph is a cabmen’s shelter, one of thirteen remaining in London. The shelters were originally constructed in the late 19th century to provide drivers of hansom carriages, and later taxicabs, with a place to take shelter and get food and drink. Laws at the time forbade taxi drivers from leaving their vehicles unatended at taxi-stands, meaning they could find it difficult to eat hot meals or shelter from unpleasant weather. Parking elsewhere would mean having to pay someone to look after their cab while they were away from it for fear it may be stolen.

The Cabmen’s Shelter Fund was set up to construct shelters at major cab stands, with the buildings containing an attendant who would serve food and drinks from a kitchen (which could also be used by the drivers themselves). There were also seats and tables to accommodate drivers inside the shelters.

Drivers can enter
And find sustenance within
These cabmen’s shelters

Cabmen's shelter

Olympus XA3 & Ilford HP5+. Lab developed in Xtol.

Taken on 19 August 2021

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