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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Knowledge

If you see a bike with a clipboard on the front riding around the streets of London, you can be pretty certain they 'are learning the knowledge'.
The knowledge as it is commonly known, is what one must acquire to be a black cab driver. What this man is learning is detailed knowledge of 25,000 London streets. He will be tested on hundreds of routes. He will need to know about all the major tourist attractions in the city. It will take him 2-3 years to learn.
Whew. With my memory think I'll find another career.


Well yesterday's caption challenge resulted in lots of great captions.
I suggest you go to the comments and read them all.
However my judging team picked these three as the best:
I just tramped in dog shit, didn't I?
You are all torn … Who knows you come with me and we beg a few clothes for you?
Can you tell me how to get to St Pauls?

Think I'd better have a prize next time, you're all so good.

18 comments:

Singaporean in London said...

I heard of the Knowledge (with a capital K) when I first arrived in London. There was a program on BBC which pitted the black cab driver against a SatNav system. The cab driver won by a mile... much more than that actually.

I didn't know that courier services are required to acquire the Knowledge as well. I did see the riders with maps but thought that they were on their orientation runs. :)

C K

Babzy said...

Wow! how can people learn 25000 streets, it's amazing , i have no sens of orientation and i get lost very quickly ;)

Karine said...

Yeah, that should be a requirement for cab drivers in all cities, I've had mine get lost!!! At least he was honest and only charged me for 50% of the run...

B SQUARED said...

2-3 years? Our cab drivers swim ashore and are driving a cab that afternoon. I exaggerate. It's the next day.

Ivy said...

2-3 years? Wow. I have no idea how they could keep that many streets and routes in their heads.

Esther Montgomery said...

Mo, I hope it's ok, but I quoted the comment you left on the article 'Why Do We Not Like Maths?' (on The Third Column) when I replied to a comment on the same post on Esther's Boring Garden Blog.

Esther

chrome3d said...

2-3 years is a long time but then they have something that will always be useful.

Elise said...

Hello Mo,

I have a question for you !

Do you know of anyone in your network of photographers who blog, who might be interested in taking pictures for my website of ballet dancers ? It's unpaid I'm afraid, and often takes place during the day, so wouldn't suit someone who works full time. I wouldn't say an interest in ballet was essential but the lighting in theatres etc can be a testing environment to get really good shots. It'll be really varied - a rehearsal one day, interview photo's the next..... I'm hoping you might be able to put me in touch with great photographers that you've come across through your excellent blog ?!

JM said...

Definitely not the job for me either, but cool information and shot!
Really enjoyed yesterday post! :-)))

/t. said...

haha hah ha ha

great captions all :)

i saw that bbc special about london cabbies on tv -- cool

¤ ¤ ¤

/t.

Belinda said...

Now that job takes commitment! I've seen loads of these riders around London - I guess there's bound to be more and more in the lead up to the Big O in 2012.

Now on another note...I really like that dress the girl on the left is wearing - very Topshop :o)

PS Actually I've just noticed she has a Topshop bag in her hand too - lucky thing!

marley said...

It is amazing! Goodluck to him, not something I could do!

Thanks for picking my caption. I was quite surprised though, there were some excellent ones!

Prizes next time! Oooo!

mihalisThalassis - halkida said...

Mo, Hello and joy your day. I read what they write is very good.
Thank you comment hi hi Michael

DaveM said...

....and then they buy a Sat Nav!!!!

Mo said...

Singaporean in London...This is not a courier. Those you see on scooters or bikes are studying to become black cab drivers. It is easier to see street signs from a bike rather than a car.

Gillian said...

What no prize for the Caption? Bugger!

Babooshka said...

There was a TV play many years ago called the The Knowledge based this very thing. It was hilarious. A lot to learn, I admire them.

Button Ginger said...

When I lived in London, I heard them called 'butter boys'.

There were two competing explanations

1) of a trainee cabbie one could say he was "but a boy" and this was corrupted or

2) when training they are very poor and when they qualify they'll be able to put butter on their bread.

Butter boys often got jobs as messengers and couriers so that they could spend more time on their mopeds and scooters learning the routes.

There are fewer messenger jobs now because of the internet so any studying is on top of a full time job.

I used to work at 109 Lambeth Road and often took cabs to work when I was late.

Older cabbies recognised the address and needed no prompting as that was the old Hackney Carriage Licensing Office where they had to renew their licences and be retested.

Black taxis are officially referred to as hackney carriages after the old horse drawn carriages of yesteryear.

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