Taxis galore! St George the Martyr visit Acton Depot
On Friday, 8th September 2017, Year 6 from St George the Martyr CE Primary School went on a trip to the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton. Inside the depot there were many old buses and trains stored there. We even got to go inside one of the trains and explore what it was like! While we were there, we got to take part in many exciting things such as riding in cabs from the 1950s, interviewing Alf Townsend and Danny Freeman who are cab drivers and one of them has been a cabbie since 1964. We also got to have a lecture from Peter Daniel followed by a quiz.
Cromwell to now...
We met Peter Daniel, a historian, and we had a lecture all about black cabs. He made a slideshow and we also played a quiz it was called (who wants to be a millionaire). Importantly, we learnt that there are many threats to black cab drivers such as Uber and driverless cabs. We had fun singing a song called Take Me in a Taxi Joe. We found out that Uber is a huge threat to black cab drivers. In the slideshow we saw old and new cabs such as TX1, FX4, FX3 and Mercedes.
A real highlight from the trip was when we were given the chance to have an exclusive ride in some vintage taxis, provided by some generous cabbies. There were 4 different models: the FX3, FX4, Mercedes and the black cab we know now. One of the cabbies explained to us the mark of owning your own cab: it would be painted a vibrant turquoise around its middle. Every cabbies dream!
The interior of the cabs were all made of soft, cushioned ceilings and luxurious leather seats. Our cab had an unexpected guest, a skeleton! Why was a skeleton in our taxi? It looked as if he wanted a ride too!
As we started our exciting ride, we noticed it made a good deal more noise than modern day hansoms! What a luxurious ride around Acton we had!
After experiencing some exciting rides in different types of taxis modern and old, St George the Martyr had the chance to interview 4 different cabbies. Suzanne, Danny Freeman, Alf Townsend and Stanley Roth.
Their experiences with taxis start the same way as any other black cab driver- with The Knowledge. The Knowledge is a test you have to pass to become a cabbie, but it's no ordinary test. To complete it, you have to memorise 320 runs in 4 years. You must go out on your bike every day and remember these routes off by heart.
"The only day I had off from The Knowledge was Christmas!" said Danny Freeman, black cab driver. It took Alf Townsend a record breaking 10 months to complete The Knowledge!!!
Stanley Roth's blue book (cabbie training book) was actually white; others were green, or even pink!
When Suzanne was going through her Appearance (cabbie examination) she was asked about lots of different runs and thrown disrespectful and sexist comments, but all she could do about it was say yes sir, that's right sir.
Year 6 loved the trip to The London Transport Museum.