London taxi drivers
But we can really thank the Great Exhibition of 1851 for giving us the world’s premier taxi service, for it was going to this exhibition, and this fabulous exhibition invention from all around the four corners of the Empire that the visitors were appalled, dismayed and vexed by their journeys to this exhibition because the cabbies of the day, and their horse-drawn carts were absolutely terrible, could not find their way to this exhibition. And, so, a great public outcry, the London Authority sets up Public Carriage Office, which is an organization that still exists. And you can take a short walk to Penton Street up the road. And this Public Carriage Office took on the responsibility of licensing all major taxi drivers in London. All taxi drivers from 1851 onwards had to pass what is now known as the London knowledge, was phenomenal knowledge of London. What is the London knowledge? It’s the ability to remember the 25,000 streets, have it all interconnected and all the main arterial roads in and out of London. Cabbies need to know all this plus a thousand points of specific interest: cafes, bars, public offices. They need to know them all as part of their training.