Watch This Video Of London Taxi Cabs From The 1960s

By Zoe Craig Last edited 26 months ago
Watch This Video Of London Taxi Cabs From The 1960s

We love this video from the Look At Life series featuring traditional black taxis from the 1960s.

In it, the rigours of learning The Knowledge, passing driving tests, keeping cabs clean and various inspectors happy — as well as testing the taxi meters themselves — is explored.

This cabbie spends a year learning The Knowledge by riding round and round London on his bike. His bike!

Look out, too for a fascinating glimpse inside one of those classic London cab shelters.

We've always wanted to know what was going on in there.

Inside a cab shelter.

Taxis in 1960s London

There were 6,000 taxis on London's streets in 1960s; 2,000 fewer than before the war.

Those cabs were driven by 9,000 drivers; 3,000 of whom were owner drivers. The rest worked for fleets.

Today, there are around 21,000 black cabs in London.

According to the film, in the 60s, a London taxi driver was taking 40,000 passengers a year, with the average fare between five shillings and seven shillings and sixpence.

That's between £7.30 and £10.95 in today's money, which will buy you around six to 13 minutes in a taxi, or take you one mile.

A happy cabbie.

Revealed: the reason London taxi cabs are black

In the film, the narrator explains why London taxis are, traditionally, painted black: it helps make respraying and touching up easier.

Sit back, and enjoy a unique ride journey into the life of a London cabbie in the 1960s... it'll probably make you think, as you use your smartphone to summon an Uber this weekend...

Last Updated 18 January 2017