According to the London Vintage Taxi Association, the first taxicab stand was formed in 1634 outside the Maypole in the Strand, basically between where Somerset House and Mary le Strand Church is nowadays.
Captain John Baily, a veteran of one of Sir Walter Raleigh’s expeditions, managed a taxi rank of four horse-drawn carriages, available for hire from the Strand. Baily’s cab men wore a distinctive livery, and charged customers a fixed rate, depending on distance. The idea caught on and by the 1760s, there were at least 1,000 “hackney hell carts” clamouring down London’s busier-than-ever streets.
Listen to more of 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.