013/100 – Cabmen’s shelter, Russell Square

Cabmen’s shelter, Russell Square – 1897

I was led to this sweet little shelter via some of this area’s more dramatic buildings – the likes of Senate House, for example. And there it was, all green and modest, almost blending in with the vegetation of the square it sits on.

You’ll see examples of this cabmen’s shelter at various locations around London. They’re quite distinctive – as recognisable, if not as ubiquitous, as red telephone boxes. They exist to provide refreshment to London’s cab drivers. You’ll see, if you squint, a line of cabs just behind it.

They’re the size they are, as they tend to sit on the public highway and shouldn’t take up more space than a horse and cab. And they’re still very well used today.

Similar to red telephone boxes, many (all?) of these little green shelters – along with the one seen above on Russell Square – are grade II listed. This shelter’s listing notes its “steeply pitched half-hipped roof to eaves,” and its “central louvred fleche.”