Walking along the road in Little Venice, near the Warwick Avenue London Underground Station, we spotted a mysterious green building. It was small, rectangular, box like and at first I thought it was a toilet cubicle!
Mum said that she’d read about it in our canal book. Dad knew what it was too, but us three were puzzled. We got closer and walked all the way around. At one end was a small window with a shutter. At the side was a door. “What on earth is it?” I asked. “Open the door and find out for yourself”
Hesitantly I pulled open the olive-green door and peered inside. I was greeted by a surprised woman who was obviously not expecting visitors. “Hi” I said ” I was just wondering what this is for?” The woman smiled and kindly invited us in to look around. To my right I saw a kitchen where the woman, who was wearing an apron, stood. To my left was an area with two tables, a few chairs and benches, all around the walls were photographs, old photographs. They black and white, and they were all of cabs. Cabs with drivers in top hats, cabs pulled by horses. They were the taxis of the nineteenth century.
The friendly woman explained to us that this was a Cabman’s Shelter. There used to be seventy of them dotted around London, now there are only thirteen. The lady’s job was to cook for the taxi drivers. In the olden days, in the 1800s, these shelters were very popular.
Modern cabmen and women still eat in the little green shelters today. They enjoy delicious food cooked and served by lovely cooks.
We all enjoyed our surprise visit to the Cabman’s Shelter and so we thanked the nice woman as we left. As we stepped outside she pointed out a long, bold metal rail attached to the shelter. It was used for tying the horses up.