(Hidden London): “Depending largely on the area in which they were located, the quality of the establishment could range from sordid to almost luxurious. Many of the shelters had nicknames, like the Bell and Horns at Thurloe Place, South Kensington; the Nursery End (pictured), near Lord’s; and the Junior Turf Club, on Piccadilly. The latter nickname was said to derive from an invading clientele of aristocratic champagne drinkers in the 1920s.”
“The Cabmen’s Shelter Fund was established in London, England, in 1875 to run shelters for the drivers of hansom cabs and later hackney carriages (taxicabs).
By law, cab drivers could not leave the cab stand while their cab was parked there. This made it very difficult for them to obtain hot meals and could be unpleasant in bad weather. If they drove to a pub to buy food then they would have to pay somebody to look after their cab while they were inside, otherwise it was likely to be stolen. In addition they would be tempted to drink alcohol on the job. Newspaper editor George Armstrong and The Earl of Shaftesbury took it upon themselves to set up a charity to construct and run shelters at major cab stands. The idea allegedly came to Armstrong when all the cabbies seeking a pub’s refuge and warmth on a snowy night in St John’s Wood rendered him unable to hire a taxi there.
These shelters were small green huts, which were not allowed to be larger than a horse and cart, as they stood on the public highway. Between 1875 and 1914, 61 of these buildings were built around London, the first being on Acacia Road in St John’s Wood near Armstrong’s home.”