Tag Archives: London quiz

Ethnic Enclaves Quiz

I find it interesting as to why certain ethnic groups have congregated into different areas of London, turning the capital into a series of ‘villages’. You can understand the attraction once the pioneers have landed on a location, others near you are speaking your mother tongue, sharing cultural and religious values, and there is an abundance of ingredients to make your cultural dishes. But why these areas in the first place?

So today’s quiz is relatively easier than before, with the nickname of an area (sometimes derogatory, I’m afraid) you have to name the precise area of London and the group that at some time inhabited its environs.

Questions

1. Paddy Fields


2. Kangaroo Valley


3. Asia Minor


4. Korea Town


5. OK Yardie


6. Swone-one


7. Trustafarian Suburb


8. Italian Hill


9. Goldberg’s Green


10. Gantville Cowboys


Answers

1. Paddy Fields
They used to call it Ireland’s 33rd county. Kilburn went ‘green’ in the mid-20th century when Irish migration to north west London hit its peak. For the young men (typically) who came here to build roads and railways, this was a home from home. You couldn’t beat the emerald isle, but at least the High Road offered a substitute — lined as it was with pubs, dance halls, and other diversions designed to swallow up navvies’ earnings. Ian Dury named a band after it; and the IRA -it’s alleged – openly fundraised on it.


2. Kangaroo Valley
A former nickname for the Earl’s Court area on account of its popularity as a place to flat-share for Antipodeans spending a year or two while working in London. Popular in the 1960s to 1980s it had faded from use as Earl’s Court has become more heterogeneous. The area has also been known as the Polish Corridor.


3. Asia Minor
A snide nickname applied to Belgravia in the mid-19th century, on account of the large number of wealthy Jews who lived there, as a favoured area for retired military professionals with south Asian experience, who preferred fruits and vegetables redolent of their time abroad. By the mid-1880s it had transferred to Bayswater and Kensington.


4. Korea Town
With around 10,000 Korean residents living east of Kingston upon Thames, it has the largest and most concentrated Korean population in Europe. On explanation for the area’s popularity is that 1970s Korean expatriates followed the example of their ambassador and settle in Wimbledon, but when prices there rose excessively they decamped to nearby New Malden. Several local churches hold services in the Korean language.


5. OK Yardie
A nickname invented in the 1990s for a Sloane Ranger living in a multicultural and supposedly ‘edgy’ area such as Ladbroke Grove. The term is a blend of “OK, Yah” and “Yardie”.


6. Swone-one
Pronounced ‘swunwun’ in the 1970s and 1980s for Battersea, an area to which Sloane Rangers had recourse if they could not afford to live on the opposite side of the Thames. The area has also been referred to as South Chelsea, a nod to the diaspora from the more chic address.


7. Trustafarian Suburb
Notting Hill has been described as ‘London’s Trustafarian Suburb’, with its population if young, usually white, inhabitants who enjoy a bohemian lifestyle financed by a trust fund or other unearned income. The term was successfully imported into London from New York in the mid-1990s.


8. Italian Hill
Because I spent my first 6 years working here, this Italian enclave in Clerkenwell is my favourite of all of London’s villages. The strong Italian connections whose boundaries encompass Clerkenwell Road, Roseberry Avenue and Farringdon Road have lasted well over two centuries. The Processione della Madonna del Carmine, held on the Sunday after 16th July from the church of St. Peter’s has taken place every year, except wartime, since 1896. The Italian School was founded in 1841 in the street where I worked, and nearby there is even at Italian driving school the Scuola Guida Italiana.


9. Goldberg’s Green
Like our trade, this area of Golder’s Green has a large Jewish presence. This pun, once used by cabbies in the second half of the 20th century, may also refer to this wealthy area being ‘paved with gold’ and hence having an abundance of customers needing cabs.


10. Gantville Cowboys
Gants Hill, Newbury Park and Clayhall once had a large number of cabbies living in this area, far few nowadays with many going to the cab rank in the sky.

Missing London Quiz

These past weeks London has been missing much. Traffic is almost non-existent, the Tube is empty, and there is a noticeable absence cabs on the road. So for today’s quiz, the questions are about something missing. For the first question, I’ll start with a favourite pub quiz question and something slightly disingenuous.

Questions

1. What is missing from the name of St. John’s Wood tube station?

(a) The signage is not in the Underground’s familiar typeface
(b) The word ‘mackerel’ cannot be made from the station’s name
(c) Although near Lord’s Cricket Ground no sign indicates in which direction to find it


2. Most know of Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, but why was it empty?

(a) They run out of money before commissioning a statue
(b) The committee couldn’t decide a worthy to surmount it
(c) The chairman of the board was assassinated before a statue was decided upon


3. Why are there no electricity pylons visible on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

(a) The pylons are in underground utility tunnels
(b) The pylons would interfere with City’ Airport’s flight path
(c) The pylons would have to have been painted in the Olympic colours


4. What did Ray Davies of The Kings nearly call ‘Waterloo Sunset’?

(a) Muswell Hill Daybreak
(b) Waterloo Sunrise
(c) Liverpool Sunset


5. The Theatre, Shoreditch, opened by James Burbage in 1576, was one of London’s earliest playhouses. It was taken down in 1598, but what happened to its timbers?

(a) They were used to build The Globe on Bankside
(b) They were used to burn Burbage and his company of actors at the stake for heresy
(c) They were used in the construction of the warship The Mary Rose


6. The U.S. Army’s signal centre was based in an unused deep tunnel beneath which tube station?

(a) St. John’s Wood
(b) Hampstead
(c) Goodge Street


7. There are many mythological rivers and streams supposedly running under London, but which of the following holds no water today?

(a) Beverley Brook
(b) Walbrook
(c) Houndsditch


8. There are over 40 ‘ghost stations’ in the Underground network, but what makes Bull and Bush between Hampstead and Holders Green especially unusual?

(a) It never opened
(b) It was built for the exclusive use of Frank Pick, the first chief executive of London Transport
(c) It was closed when a ceiling collapsed revealing the remains of a plague pit


9. CH N. Katz was one of the last Jewish businesses to continue trading on Brick Lane. What did Mr Katz sell?

(a) Boxes and crates
(b) String and paper bags
(c) Cigars and tobacco


10. What did the 19th-century trader Charles Jamrach sell from his long-vanished store on Radcliff Highway in the East End?

(a) Opium and cannabis
(c) Wax models of famous people of the period
(c) Exotic animals


And as a bonus: Why do cabbies sometimes call the junction of Kensington Gore and Exhibition Road ‘Hot and Cold Corner’?

(a) The wind blows along Kensington Gore but Exhibition Road is sheltered, making it a better place to get a fare
(b) The Royal Geographical Society building on the corner has two statues, one of David Livingstone and one of Ernest Shackleton
(c) Cabbies travelling up Exhibition Road face the dilemma of going north to Paddington or west to Kensington High Street for their next fare


Answers

1. What is missing from the name of St. John’s Wood tube station?

(b) The word mackerel cannot be made from the letters of St. John’s Wood station, bizarrely, a surprising number of people care about this question, ever since a group of Cambridge students came up with it after an evening in a pub about 30 years ago, the mackerel-tube question has been a meme that refuses to die.


2. Most know of Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, but why was it empty?

(a) When Sir Charles Barry designed Trafalgar Square in the 1840s he included four plinths. One carries a statue of George IV while two others have statues of two generals Sir Charles James Napier and Sir Henry Havelock. The fourth plinth, in the north-west corner, was intended to hold a statue of King William IV on horseback but the money ran out. To this day no agreement has been reached on who should be celebrated there. True to British propensity to compromise, in the mid-Nineties the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group was set up to fill the gap with a series of temporary art commissions.


3. Why are there no electricity pylons visible on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

(a) Decontamination and beautification work to prepare the site for the London 2012 Games (and future use as a park) included digging two 3.7-mile tunnels to conceal fifty-two less-than-lovely electricity pylons. Spoil sufficient to fill Wembley Stadium was dug out and you may be shocked to learn that all that electrical cable would stretch from London to Nottingham, a distance of 127 miles.


4. What did Ray Davies of The Kings nearly call ‘Waterloo Sunset’?

(c) The Muswell Hill-born Davies had originally composed a song heralding the demise of the so-called Merseybeat groups from Liverpool. However, after The Beatles released ‘Penny Lane’, he transformed it into a homage to his home city instead. Spending time in his childhood at St. Thomas’ Hospital as a seriously ill youngster he would often look out on the Thames, and also met his first girlfriend who became his wife along the Embankment at Waterloo.


5. The Theatre, Shoreditch, opened by James Burbage in 1576, was one of London’s earliest playhouses. It was taken down in 1598, but what happened to its timbers?

(a) Shakespeare had a share in this Bankside theatre and acted there. Many of is most famous plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear were first performed at The Globe, which was reconstructed from the original Theatre after a dispute with the landlord.


6. The U.S. Army’s signal centre was based in an unused deep tunnel beneath which tube station?

(c) Near the American church, Eisenhower’s command centre has long been used as a secure storage space. Its entrance can be seen on the north side of Store Street.


7. There are many mythological rivers and streams supposedly running under London, but which of the following holds no water today?

(c) According to Stow, the area, once a most that bounded the City wall, got its name ‘from that in old time, when the same lay open, much filth (conveyed forth of the City), especially dead dogged were there laid or cast’.


8. There are over 40 ‘ghost stations’ in the Underground network, but what makes Bull and Bush between Hampstead and Holders Green especially unusual?

(a) the establishment of Hampstead Garden Suburb in 1907 imposed restrictions on further building in the area, making the station unviable. It was abandoned before it was finished. Frank Pick did, however, live not far away, there is a blue plaque on his former home at 15 Wildwood Road.


9. CH N. Katz was one of the last Jewish businesses to continue trading on Brick Lane. What did Mr Katz sell?

(b) Katz followed a long line of immigrants into Spitalfields and was trading until the late 1990s, travelling from his home in Stamford Hill. Today the shop at 92 Brick Lane is Gallery SO, above the door is the inscription ‘CH N Katz, String and Paper Bags’. It is one of the few reminders of the time when Brick Lane was full of Jewish traders, rather than the Bangladeshi and hipsters of today.


10. What did the 19th-century trader Charles Jamrach sell from his long-vanished store on Radcliff Highway in the East End?

(c) Charles Jamrach ran a business importing tigers, rhinos and other exotic animals. At the north entrance of Tobacco Dock, Wapping, there is a statue of a small boy in front of a tiger. This records an incident in which a fully grown Bengal tiger escaped from Jamrach’s and began to make its way down Commercial Road. The large cat seized a small child in its mouth but was eventually persuaded by Charles Jamrach himself to release the boy unharmed.


And as a bonus: Why do cabbies sometimes call the junction of Kensington Gore and Exhibition Road ‘Hot and Cold Corner’?

(b) The two statues, one of Ernest Shackleton who explored the icy Antarctic faces Kensington Gore, while David Livingstone who opened up Africa can be seen facing Exhibition Road.

London Firsts Quiz

The coronavirus has given Londoners their first experience of self-isolation and distancing. Corid-19 is, of course, not London’s first pandemic, these seem to arrive every 100 years.

So today’s quiz is all about London’s ‘firsts’.

Questions

1. What was invented in a workshop in Hatton Garden in the 1880s?

(a) The world’s first machine gun
(b) The world’s first tank
(c) The world’s first flame thrower


2. What was invented which was greeted by the Admiralty as: “. . . of any kind are now wholly unnecessary”.

(a) A self-righting ship
(b) An electric telegraph
(c) A non-fraying flag


3. Coram’s Fields commemorates a London first that revolutionised the world. But what?

(a) Charity
(b) Vaccine
(c) Statistics


4. On 10th January 1946, the first meeting took place of what international organisation?

(a) World Health Organisation
(b) Oxfam
(c) United Nations


5. Five years before the last public hanging at Newgate, what was the world’s first when completed?

(a) The first urban underground
(b) The first tramline
(c) The first scheduled bus service


6. Nearly every country now has one, but Croydon saw the world’s first. But what was it that is now commonplace?

(a) A radio station
(b) An international airport
(c) A department store


7. Today we take it for granted, but what world’s first was constructed near Holborn Viaduct?

(a) The world’s first public electricity generating station
(b) The world’s first sewage treatment works
(c) The world’s first water pumping station


8. What invention was first demonstrated in a room above what is now the Bar Italia coffee lounge in Frith Street, Soho?

(a) The espresso coffee machine
(b) The television
(c) The vacuum cleaner


9. What did Joseph Merlin demonstrate for the first time at a masquerade party in Soho in 1760?

(a) The kaleidoscope
(b) The penny-farthing bicycle
(c) Roller skates


10. In 1905 two brothers named Stratton were convicted of robbery and murder at a paint shop in Deptford High Street. What methodology was used to secure convictions?

(a) The first identikit portrait from a witness, the local milkman
(b) The first case in which fingerprints were successfully used to convict
(c) Their getaway car, which had an early number plate was identified leading to the police tracking them down


As a bonus: What ‘first’ did Colonel Pierpoint admire before he died?

Answers

1. What was invented in a workshop in Hatton Garden in 1880?

(a) Hiram Maxim was an American who moved to London, opened a workshop in Hatton Garden, near the junction with Clerkenwell Road and eventually became a naturalised Briton and a knight of the realm. His Maxim Gun invented in 1881 was the first fully automatic machine gun. At Shangari River in 1893 Cecil Rhodes’ troops, armed with a Maxim Gun, only lost four men and killed 1,500 natives. Not content with killing native Africans he went on to invent the first auto-resetting mousetrap.


2. What was invented which was greeted by the Admiralty as: “. . . of any kind are now wholly unnecessary”.

(b) In 1816 Francis Ronalds, at 26 Upper Mall, built a telegraph using electrostatic and clockwork principles, rejected by the Admiralty he was knighted in 1870, a belated recognition of his pioneering vision.


3. Coram’s Fields commemorates a London first that revolutionised the world. But what?

(a) In 1739 Captain Thomas Coram, a London merchant was appalled by the number of abandoned babies he saw, he set up the Foundling Hospital, the world’s first charity, Handel and Hogarth were among the benefactors of the world’s first incorporated charity. Coram’s Fields are unique in only allowing adults if accompanied by a child.


4. On 10th January 1946, the first meeting took place of what international organisation?

(c) The First General Assembly of the United Nations, with 51 nations represented, was held in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, a successor to the League of Nations, which was thought to have been ineffective in preventing World War II.


5. Five years before the last public hanging at Newgate, what was the world’s first when completed?

(a) Opening in 1863, the Metropolitan Railway between Paddington (then called Bishop’s Road) and Farringdon was the world’s first urban underground passenger-carrying railway. Confusingly, the original platform now serves the Hammersmith & City Line.


6. Nearly every country now has one, but Croydon saw the world’s first. But what was it that is now commonplace?

(b) In 1920 the world’s first international airport opened in Croydon, offering flights to Europe. A remodelling 8 years saw the world’s first purpose-built airport terminal and airport hotel.


7. Today we take it for granted, but what world’s first was constructed near Holborn Viaduct?

(a) The world’s first public electricity generating station was opened in 1882 to light the lamps on the bridge. Designed by Thomas Edison, it was steam-powered and supplied DC current, and predated New York’s power station by some months.


8. What invention was first demonstrated in a room above what is now the Bar Italia coffee lounge in Frith Street, Soho?

(b) John Logie Baird began his research into the transmission of visual images in Hastings in the early 1920s, but in 1924 rented an attic room at 22 Frith Street to use as a workshop. On 26th January 1926 members of the Royal Institution made up the first television audience. A blue plaque is displayed above Bar Italia commemorating that day.


9. What did Joseph Merlin demonstrate for the first time at a masquerade party in Soho in 1760?

(c) Roller skates were first demonstrated at famous society hostess’ Mrs Cornelys Soho Square house by clock and instrument maker John Joseph Merlin. Making an appearance at the party gliding across the floor on boots that he had adapted by fitting them with wheels, unfortunately, he had failed to devise a method of stopping himself and he crashed into a large mirror.


10. In 1905 two brothers named Stratton were convicted of robbery and murder at a paint shop in Deptford High Street. What methodology was used to secure convictions?

(b) On 27th March 1905, Chapman’s Oil and Paint Shop was raided and the shopkeeper murdered. A thumb mark was left on the emptied cash box. Using a method of identification that had been in use for a couple of years, it was the first time the Crown achieved a murder conviction and one of the first in the world to use the methodology still in use today.


As a bonus: What ‘first’ did Colonel Pierpoint admire before he died?

At his expense in 1864 Colonel Pierpoint had London’s first traffic island constructed in St. James’s Street opposite his club in Pall Mall. On its completion, his excitement (and possible inebriation) encouraged him to dash across the road to admire his contribution to society. Alas, he was knocked down and killed by a passing cab.

Blue Sky Thinking Quiz

With skies bluer than at any time in living memory, the lack of pollution turning it a deeper shade of blue, normally found on remote tropical islands, this week’s quiz turns to above our heads and London’s air.

Questions

1. Heathrow’s first passenger terminal was opened by the Queen in which year?

(a) 1955
(b) 1957
(c) 1959


2. England’s first manned balloon flight by Vincenzo Lunardi on 15th September 1784 took off from which London location?

(a) St. James’s Park beside what is now Buckingham Palace
(b) The Artillery Ground in Moorfields
(c) Outside St. Paul’s Cathedral


3. What was ‘The Skylon’ which once stood on the South Bank between Waterloo Bridge and Hungerford Bridge?

(a) A sculpture
(b) An aeroplane
(c) A skyscraper


4. From where in London did A. V. Roe launch the first powered flight in Britain by a British citizen in a British plane?

(a) Hyde Park
(b) Green Park
(c) Walthamstow Marshes


5. Why did a performance of La Traviata at Sadler’s Wells Theatre have to be abandoned in December 1952?

(a) Smog drifting into the theatre was so thick that the audience could scarcely see the performers
(b) A burst of hailstones brought down part of the ceiling
(c) Rain caused the nearby New River Head to flood the area


6. Much like today in December 1976 all planes at Heathrow were grounded. For what reason?

(a) Intelligence that the IRA were to hijack a passenger plane
(b) A flying pig
(c) A freak electrical thunderstorm


7. The weathervane of Liberty department store depicts what?

(a) The Statue of Liberty
(b) The Pilgrim Fathers’ ship the Mayflower
(c) Hermes the Greek God of Merchants


8. 7 Bruce Grove was the last home of Luke Howard, but for what is he known?

(a) He is known as the namer of clouds
(b) He deduced why the sky is blue
(c) He invented the modern weather station


9. In the film Mary Poppins, how much money does it cost to acquire ‘paper and strings’ to Go Fly a Kite?

(a) One penny
(b) Tuppence
(c) Thrupence


10. As my picture, taken above Romford, shows, plane contrails were once a familiar sight above London, as these ephemeral trails mark flight paths that criss-cross the city. The planes causing these vapour trails are held in holding stacks, but how many stacks does Heathrow have?

(a) Twelve
(b) Eight
(c) Four


As a bonus what is the cabbie speak for: A frarney?


Answers

1. Heathrow’s first passenger terminal was opened by the Queen in which year?

(a) On 16th December 1955 unveiled The Queen’s Building at London Airport, its name only revealed at the end of Her Majesty’s speech. Later renamed Heathrow, the original site was opened on 31st May 1946, with its first arrival a BOAC Lancastrian from Australia.


2. England’s first manned balloon flight by Vincenzo Lunardi on 15th September 1784 took off from which London location?

(b) Taking off in an impressive red-and-white silk balloon from Moorfields Artillery Ground, now the Honourable Artillery Company in City Road, Lunardi was lauded as the ‘idol of the whole nation’. Later balloons became a fashionable addition to London’s pleasure grounds, Charles Green’s party trick was to ascend from Vauxhall Gardens on horseback.


3. What was ‘The Skylon’ which once stood on the South Bank between Waterloo Bridge and Hungerford Bridge?

(a) A futuristic, 300ft high cigar-shaped aluminium sculpture with, as people joked at the time, ‘no visible means of support’, the Skylon was constructed as part of the Festival of Britain in 1951. Dismantled the following year, it was made into commemorative paper-knives and artefacts.


4. From where in London did A. V. Roe launch the first powered flight in Britain by a British citizen in a British plane?

(c) In 1909 Alliott Verdon Roe, who had been inspired by watching albatrosses in flight during his time in the merchant navy, constructed an early aeroplane under a viaduct and flew his Avro Triplane for 306 yards across the Marshes. A blue plaque marks the arches that he used as a workshop.


5. Why did a performance of La Traviata at Sadler’s Wells Theatre have to be abandoned in December 1952?

(a) The Great Smog of 1952 was the worst in the twentieth century, caused mainly by coal fire smoke, visibility in the city was reduced to inches. Several thousand would die from associated bronchial and cardiovascular illnesses associated with its inhalation. The reduction in air quality would bring about the Clean Air Act of 1956, and the imposition of the use of smokeless fuels.


6. Much like today in December 1976 all planes at Heathrow were grounded. For what reason?

(b) A pink pig had been strung between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station for the cover shoot of Pink Floyd’s album Animals. When the pig broke its moorings and floated away, all planes were grounded and the RAF was scrambled to chase it to ground in Kent.


7. The weathervane of Liberty department store depicts what?

(b) The weathervane has a detailed replica of The Mayflower, the ship that carried the Pilgrim Fathers to North America. The shop itself is made of ships: its mock Tudor facade was fashioned from the timbers of HMS Hindustan and HMS Impregnable (formerly known as HMS Howe and once the largest ship in the world). Liberty is also the size of a ship: The Great Marlborough Street frontage is the same length as the Hindustan.


8. 7 Bruce Grove was the last home of Luke Howard, but for what is he known?

(a) Luke Howard died on 21st March 1864 at 7 Bruce Grove, Tottenham. He proposed the nomenclature system that we still use today to identify clouds. He was also the first person to observe and measure the fact that London is warmer than the surrounding countryside. His Blue Plaque at Bruce Grove states: ‘Luke Howard 1772-1864 Namer of Clouds Lived and Died here’.


9. In the film Mary Poppins, how much money does it cost to acquire ‘paper and strings’ to Go Fly a Kite?

(b) Bert (Dick Van Dyke) sings: With tuppence for paper and strings/You can have your own set of wings/With your feet on the ground/You’re a bird in flight/ With your fist holding tight/To the string of your kite.


10. As my picture, taken above Romford, shows, plane contrails were once a familiar sight above London, as these ephemeral trails mark flight paths that criss-cross the city. The planes causing these vapour trails are held in holding stacks, but how many stacks does Heathrow have?

(c) Forming a web across its six international airports, the routes that planes take into, out of, and across London are designed to cause the least disturbance to the fewest number of people. Heathrow has four holding stacks above Bovingdon, Ockham, Biggin and Lambourne. Incoming planes circle above navigation beacons until they get the green light from air traffic control to begin their final approach.

As a bonus what is the cabbie speak for: A frarney?

A frarney is rain or a rainstorm, from rhyming slang ‘France and Spain’. Also known as Mushers Lotion, rain bringing more work to those owning their cab, or mushers.

London cab quiz

With work on London’s streets almost non-existent most cabbies are finding other ways to occupy their enforced sabbaticals. Today’s quiz is a reminder of the halcyon days when cabs were in demand. We start with the easy one, and if you don’t get this one you shouldn’t be wasting your time reading CabbieBlog.

Questions

1. All licensed taxi drivers in London need to pass a comprehensive test before they can ply for hire. What is the test called?

(a) The Knack
(b) The Knowledge
(c) The Opinionated


2. Where was London’s first cab rank?

(a) In Piccadilly
(b) In the Strand
(c) In Oxford Street


3. When a cabbie is awarded a license, he is given a Bill and Badge. His badge is then displayed whenever he is working, but what is his Bill?

(a) An invoice detailing his expenses up to that date
(b) A police mentor, as in the nickname ‘old bill’
(c) His licence


4. Frederick Hitch was once London’s most famous cabbie, but for what?

(a) He was awarded the Victoria Cross
(b) He was a music hall entertainer
(c) He was also King George V’s chauffeur


5. Who or what was The Resistance?

(a) Cabbies who once fought alongside the Partisans in German-occupied France
(b) Harley Street
(c) Spoken ironically about poor brakes on early cabs


6. When were licences first issued to London cabbies?

(a) 1654
(b) 1754
(c) 1854


7. The passenger compartment is jolly spacious, but what are the origins of the roof height?

(a) A gentleman didn’t have the inconvenience of removing his top hat when boarding
(b) With any lower head height, passengers would hit their heads on the roof when the vehicle hit potholes
(c) So that up to three hay bales could be stacked inside to feed horses


8. How, or where should you not hire a cab?

(a) Outside one of those cabbies’ green shelters
(b) Emulating a scene from your favourite black and white film by shouting “TAXI” while simultaneously waving in a frantic fashion
(c) Poking your head into the nearside window of a stationary cab at traffic lights


9. What is the entomology of the word taxi?

(a) The word comes from the penal rates once charged to the proprietors of vehicles
(b) It comes from the taximeter now found on all legal cabs
(c) Queen Victoria didn’t like Joseph Hansom the inventor of the famous Hansom cab and always referred the classic horse-drawn vehicles as ‘taxites’, her term for unaccountable


10. When boarding a licensed London cab, apart from your destination, what must you tell the driver

(a) If you have the bubonic plague
(b) If you are registered disabled
(c) That you might change your mind as to the destination


Answers

1. All licensed taxi drivers in London need to pass a comprehensive test before they can ply for hire. What is the test called?

(b) The Knowledge
To gain the coveted Green Badge that allows them to work anywhere in Greater London, all cabbies must learn 320 routes and everything in between. It can take between 3 and 5 years to pass. You can read more about it HERE.


2. Where was London’s first cab rank?

(b) In the Strand
Charles Bailey, a retired mariner, in 1635 placed four hackney coaches for hire at the Maypole in the Strand where St. Mary’s Church now stands. Later, blue posts denoted cab ranks, hence several pubs by that name. You can read more about it HERE.


3. When a cabbie is awarded a license, he is given a Bill and Badge. His badge is then displayed whenever he is working, but what is his Bill?

(c) His licence
Who would guess that a cab driver’s licence, referred to as his ‘bill’, is short for ‘bill of health’? This is ironic considering that most Victorian cabbies worked until they died, or ended in the workhouse if they couldn’t continue working, despite the efforts of the Cabmen’s Benevolent Association. You can read more about it HERE.


4. Frederick Hitch was once London’s most famous cabbie, but for what?

(a) He was awarded the Victoria Cross
Most would not know of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 if it wasn’t for the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, and its popularisation by Michael Caine’s first major film, where 155 British soldiers repulsed 4,000 Zulus warriors, resulting in 32 British killed or wounded against nearly 900 Zulus. After the conflict medals which everybody would have heard of – the Victoria Cross – were awarded to 11 men one of which was Frederick Hitch. It was the largest number of gallantry medals ever given to a single regiment, for actions on a single day. You can read more about it HERE.


5. Who or what was The Resistance?

(b) Harley Street
The Resistance was a derogatory nickname given to Harley Street as it was populated by doctors opposed the formation of the NHS after the War. You can read more about it HERE.


6. When were licences first issued to London cabbies?

(a) 1654
Oliver Cromwell ordered the Court of Aldermen of the City of London to grant licences to 200 hackney coachmen. A 6-mile limit was imposed as London’s chain of defences, that had been erected during the Civil War in 1642, only extended to that perimeter and beyond it was considered unsafe. You can read more about it HERE.


7. The passenger compartment is jolly spacious, but what are the origins of the roof height?

(a) A gentleman didn’t have the inconvenience of removing his top hat when boarding
By law, taxicabs had to be tall enough for a passenger to sit comfortably while wearing a top hat, especially important during Ascot. Additionally, at one time, hackney carriages were required to carry a bale of hay for the horse. This law was held over for a time even after motorised cabs began to operate. You can read more about it HERE.


8. How, or where should you not hire a cab?
(b) Whilst emulating a scene from your favourite black and white film by shouting “TAXI” while simultaneously waving in a frantic fashion
Technically, it’s against the law for you to yell “Taxi!” to get their attention. If you see a cab with a lit sign, just hold out your arm to signal them, and if you’re not drunk he will stop. You can read more about it HERE.


9. What is the entomology of the word taxi?
(b) It comes from the taximeter now found on all legal cabs
The term ‘taxi’ comes from taximeter, the counter used to measure miles travelled and fare. ‘Cab’ was short for ‘cabriolet’, a French verb for ‘to leap’, which was a type of taxi and what one did to exit them. You can read more about it HERE.


10. When boarding a licensed London cab, apart from your destination, what must you tell the driver
(a) If you have the bubonic plague
It was also once supposedly illegal for people to hail a cab while suffering from the bubonic plague. This is still partly true, as the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act of 1984 requires a person suffering from a notifiable disease to inform the cab driver, who may then decide whether to ferry the passenger. If he does so, he is then required to notify the authorities and disinfect the cab before taking another fare. You can read more about it HERE.