Exploring the Purpose of London’s Green Huts: A Dive into the History of Cabbies’ Huts

Hidden in Plain Sight: Unraveling the Mystery of London’s Green Huts

London is a city filled with hidden gems, from secret police boxes to abandoned underground stations. However, among these lesser-known attractions lies a secret that often goes unnoticed by many: the humble green huts.

While they may appear inconspicuous at first glance, these green huts, properly known as cabmen’s shelters, have a rich history and serve a practical purpose in the bustling streets of London.

Dating back to the Victorian era, cabmen’s shelters were originally built to provide shelter to cabbies who operated horse-drawn carriages. Unlike modern taxi drivers who can seek refuge in their vehicles, Victorian cabbies had to endure harsh weather conditions while perched atop their carriages. Recognizing the need for a refuge, George Armstrong, editor of the Globe Newspaper, spearheaded the creation of the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund in 1875.

These shelters not only offered protection from the elements but also provided hot food and drinks for the cabbies. Managed by the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund, the huts could accommodate up to ten to thirteen drivers at a time, with hot drinks also available to the public through serving hatches. However, strict rules were enforced inside the shelters, including a ban on alcohol and gambling.

During their heyday, green cabmen’s shelters were a welcome sight for weary cabbies, offering a brief respite from their demanding work. Unfortunately, many shelters were lost during the bombings of World War II, while others fell victim to increased traffic and vandalism.

Despite these challenges, thirteen green huts still stand today, managed by the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund. Recognizing their historical significance, some of these shelters have been granted Grade II-listed status by Historic England to ensure their preservation for future generations.

So, the next time you stroll through the streets of London, take a moment to appreciate the unassuming green huts that have silently served generations of cabbies, preserving a piece of the city’s rich history amidst its ever-changing landscape.

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