11 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

Gathering up some info from others postings to connect and re post on Hackney Carriage see
Mon for 3rd feb 1660 first mention?

First carriages?
1636: Hackney carriages in London according to :-
joe :-mon 3 feb asks:
"I believe even to this day there is an old law in effect that hackney carriages must carry a bale of hay for the horse."
was it repealled:?
Phil provides this titbit
"Half way down this page it says “Pity the poor taxi driver who, until 1976,. could be commanded by a policeman to reveal his or her bale of hay. If they did not have one in the boot [trunk], then they were clearly ill-treating their horse.”"
"A little bit more on the bales of hay…..." from David he says see this info

Paul Miller gives this info

"This link is Hackny coach rates circa 1722."

DQ mentions the the modern idiom for (those with a keyboard {this my edit})
"hack — “1. a Hackney 2. A worn-out horse for hire 3a. A hireling b. A writer hired to produce routine writing.
4. informal a. A taxicab. . . .”"
(This is before it becomes a nag....: my add on)

vincent  •  Link

additional conflicting info from :-


1st in London 1625; 20 hackney coach(carriage) for hire (taxi) :-
On June 24th 1654 (during Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth) the Court of Alderman of the City of London authorised the use of 200 licenses for hackney coachmen (there were no women drivers but following the death of her husband a widow could take over the vehicle licence which allowed her to rent the coach out to a licensed driver - a rule still in force today)

Although the licensing reduced the number of stops in the City, there were still a few unlicenced coachmen working, it was the Watermen of the Thames who complained bitterly. Until the arrival of the hackneys the only way to get from one part of the City to another, or to Westminster was by boat and which would include the then hazardous act of trying to row under London Bridge (built for wise men to go over and for fools to go under)

see rivals there in a book at:-

Peter Roberts  •  Link

Hackney Carriages, a short verbatum quote - Source;`The London Taxi`, Author Nick Georgano [born London 1932]. Shire Album No 150, published 1985. [Mostly about motor taxi`s]
"Londoners were first able to hail public vehicles in about 1620 when a certain Captain Baily bought 4 coaches, equipped his drivers with suitable livery and sent them to ply for hire in the Strand.
They soon attracted others, and within a few years at least a hundred were operating in London, causing severe congestion in the narrow streets. They were called `hackney coaches`, from the French `hacquenee`, meaning a strong horse hired out for journeys: a coach pulled by such a horse was fairly obviously a `coche a hacquenee`.
The numbers of coaches ..... reached seven hundred by 1694 ..... by December 1903 the total was 11404, made up of 7499 hansoms*[2 wheeled] and 3905 `growlers*`[4 wheeled]", a number never exceeded!

BUYING YOUR OWN [or just looking] - A hundred to a hundred and fifty 19th/20th Century and earlier horse drawn coaches [minus horses!!] are regularly offered for sale [4 times a year] by Messrs Thimbleby and Shorland Auctioneers, Reading, Berks.,
I attended regularly - and `became` a seasoned `Time Traveller` as I stepped through the gates into the Cattle Market/Auction Halls[themselves probably 100 years old!], back into the past, where I was surrounded by horse buses, hearses, coaches, gigs and commercials of all ages, shapes and sizes, most expertly renovated and exquisitely decorated, [and some decrepit!] but all outstanding value for money! Its a fascinating, rivetting, unrivalled, and `free` experience, unless you bid - well worth the 6 hour x 260 mile round trip necessary for me! Buyers, [and sellers!] present, include many from the Continent[eg. Scandinavia France, Belgium, Austria, Germany, and Spain, etc], Ireland and the US.
Its a truly memorable day, with almost a `Pepysian` flavour!!
Sale catalogues, collectors items of the not so far distant future, are beautifully illustrated, and can be ordered by post[

vincent  •  Link

How much strand to the tower.
A Table of Rates for Hackny Coaches in London, settled by Parliament, by Stat. 5. and 6. Will. and Mary.
For one Day of 12 Hours ----------------------- 10s. 0d.
For one Hour ----------------------------------- 1s. 6d.
For every Hour after the first -------------------- 1s. 0d.
From any of the Inns of Court to any part of St. James's, or City of Westminster, except beyond Tuttle street --- 1s. 0d.
From the Inns of Court, or thereabouts, to the Royal Exchange --------------------- 1s. 0d.
From any of the Inns of Court to the Tower, Aldgate, Bishopsgate, or thereabouts --- 1s. 6d.

And the same Rates back again, or to any Place of the like Distance.

And if any Coachman shall refuse to go at, or exact more Hire than the Rates hereby limited, he shall for every such Offence forfeit 40 Shillings; if you give Information against him at the Office for Licensing Hackney Coaches, in Surry street in the Strand.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Hackney men say at mangy hackney's hire,
A scald horse is good enough for a scabbed squire

Hackney-men, originally proprietors of horses let for hire: hackney = a saddle horse. It was not until the reign of Charles I. that the title was transferred to the drivers of vehicles, the year 1625 being the date of the first appearance of hackney coaches in the streets of London. They were then only twenty in number, but the innovation occasioned an outcry (Sharman): "The world runs on wheeles. The hackney-men, who were wont to have furnished travellers in all places with fitting and serviceable horses for any journey, (by the multitude of coaches) are undone by the dozens, and the whole commonwealth most abominably jaded, that in many places a man had as good to ride on a wooden post, as to poast it upon one of those hunger-starv'd hirelings."-—Taylor, Works (1630).
---The Proverbs, Epigrams, and Miscellanies of John Heywood. 1906

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The early Hackney Coachman did not sit upon the box as the present drivers do, but upon the horse, like a postilion – his whip is short for that purpose, his boots which have large open broad tops, must have been much in the way when exposed to the weight of the rain. His hat was pretty broad and so far he was screened from the weather.

In 1637, the number of Hackney Coaches in London was restricted to 50, but by 1802 it was 1,100.”


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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Nov