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Sherbet Dab

An Oral History of the London Cabbie

These are the stories of London and Londoners, new and old. Some take us back to 1950s London when many of the drivers were Jewish. These were the days of the closed shop, pea-souper fogs, driving heavy, cold cabs on empty streets. Meeting the boat trains, or heading to Covent Garden in time for 'the burst' when theatres would empty out and the streets would fill with people looking for cabs home. And what about getting a cab to take you south of the river? Interviews also contain stories of the advent of the mini cab in the 1960s, of the London Docks and Fleet Street where night workers would give big tips at the end of a shift. There are stories of the challenges faced by the first black drivers and women drivers. The comradery but also the conflict. Interviews bring us up to date as road become increasingly crowded with traffic, as traffic lanes then cycle lanes appear, and as new people move into the trade.

There are detailed description of 'doing the knowledge', the dreaded 'appearances' and then the challenges and joys of life working as a London Cabbie.

There are many stories, funny, sad and poignant, and through these stories we get an insight into the history of the men and women who have driven the famous black London cab.

Funded by
Heritage Lottery Fund and Unite the Union

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