There are currently only 13 cabmen’s shelters in existence, 12 of them are still in operation.
If you don’t know what cabbie shelters are, they are the small green cricket-pavillion-style sheds dotted around London.
I have put together a map for you to see their location which you can share to your phone and use to find them for yourself. All of these remaining shelters are now Grade II.
It’s perhaps the Embankment Place cabbie shelter many of you may have seen before. It’s on the corner of the Embankment and Northumberland Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Playhouse Theatre. Following a competition in 1881, Maximilian Clarke was appointed to design a shelter for Northumberland Avenue. The key features of their design included a steeply pitched hipped roof, overhanging eaves with exposed rafters and decorative fretwork panels integrated into the main timber frame which feature ribboned garlands and the ‘CSF’ monogram. This particular shelter was replaced in 1915.
Northumberland Avenue is so named as it was once the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland, overlooking the Thames. A fire in 1866 caused considerable damage to the property that when the Metropolitan Board of Works offered to buy it for £500,000, the Duke jumped at the chance.
You may notice that Northumberland is rather an unusually wide London road. In mid-Victorian London, planning permission for hotels were set for them to be no taller than the width of the road they stood on and since the plan was to build some of London’s largest and grandest hotels here, this short road is very wide.
This Chelsea Embankment SW3 shelter overlooks the Albert Bridge and must have one of the most romantic locations for what is basically a greasy spoon. Its nickname is ‘The Pier’ as close to Cadogan Pier. In the 1970s its nickname was ‘The Kremlin’ as it was known for hosting left-wing cabbies. Sadly it’s been closed for a number of years due to the lack of nearby parking for cab drivers.
Perhaps my favourite one to visit is Even though only black cab drivers can enter a Cabbie’s shelter, the public are able to get a take away. My favourite for doing this is the one on Russell Square as there is plenty of seating around. And on the other side of Russell square there is a phone box crammed with tiramisu (it’s called Walkmisu) I kid you not, oooh and try their pistachio one, mmmmmmm.
List of remaining cabmen’s shelters:
- Russell Square WC1 – NW Corner, SE corner for tiramisu
- Thurloe Place, Kensington SW7 (opposite the V&A Museum)
- Embankment Place WC2 – near the Playhouse Theatre
- Warwick Avenue, London W9 (near Warwick Avenue tube station)
- Grosvenor Gardens SW1 – W gardens
- Kensington Park Road W11 – outside numbers 8-10
- Kensington Road W8 – near Queen’s Gate SW7
- Pont Street SW1 – close to Sloane Street junction
- Temple Place WC2 – opposite Swissötel Howard
- Wellington Place NW8 (near Lord’s Cricket Ground)
- Hanover Square, London W1 – NE corner
- Chelsea Embankment, near to the Albert Bridge
You can hear more about Cabbie shelters and London’s black cab legacy on our podcast Episode 56: London’s Black Cab Legacy
Hazel Baker is an award-winning London Tour Guide and qualified CIGA guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Hazel’s walking tours.