Bloomsday for Cab Drivers / 23: The Cabmen's Shelter / 1
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The Cabmen's Shelter.

This cabmen's shelter in 1904 London gives some idea of the modest dimensions of cabmen's shelters, including the Butt Bridge shelter in Dublin (the setting for an important scene in Ulysses). Alan Fisher points out that the shelter in this picture is on a cab stand close to Harrod's department store, about 400 metres from the present location of the Thurloe Place cab stand and shelter (next page). Since two shelters would not have been built so close together, the cab stand and shelter must have been moved to Thurloe Place sometime after 1904.

Outing magazine, vol. XLV, 1904, p. 153. For more pictures of 1904 London cab life, see Vance Thompson's Cab Drivers: The London Cabby.

Bloomsday for Cab Drivers / 23

The Cabmen's Shelter / 1

The cabmen's shelter (which figures prominently in Ulysses) was an institution designed to provide drivers with a place to get in out of the cold and have a cheap meal without straying from the cab stand.

The first shelter was erected in London in 1875 at the instigation of Sir George Armstrong, a newspaper publisher who sent his servant out one blustery January day to fetch a cab from a nearby stand. The servant was a long time returning because the drivers had all abandoned their cabs and retired to the warmth and conviviality of a local pub.

It occurred to Sir George that if the cabbies had been provided with a heated shelter on the cab stand, his servant could have found a cab a lot sooner.

Sir George immediately started a building fund and got some of his friends to contribute. Not coincidentally the first shelter was located on the closest cab stand to Sir George's house.

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