In the City

Studying to be a Taxi Driver

"...he worked on weekends, on push-bike, cycling around the streets of London."

"I was born on the twenty-seventh of March 1932 in East London, in the borough of East Ham in the community called Manor Park.

My father was Frederick John Thomas Davies.

My father started off at that brewery, working as a brick layer apprentice, or something like that. At the young age of seventeen, he decided he didn’t want to spend his life doing that, and took the train to become a London taxi driver. And in London, you had to be very knowledgeable because it was regulated by the Metropolitan Police. And they were quite strict. It took him about three years ‘cause he worked on weekends—on push-bike—cycling around the streets of London. Studying maps, I guess. And it took him nearly three years to acquire the knowledge and go before the police board and get his taxi license. And he never owned his own cab. He always drove for a small company. I think they owned seventeen or twenty cabs—something like that. And so that’s what they used to call mushing. He mushed for the rest of his life, except for his four years in the army."