Hansom Cab

The Hansom Cab was designed, patented and tested in Hinckley.

The Hansom Cab designed by Joseph Hansom in Hinckley
The Hansom Cab designed by Joseph Hansom in Hinckley

The Hansom Cab is a horse drawn carriage that holds two passengers and the driver sat on a sprung seat behind the cab. The Hansom Cab was designed, patented and tested by Joseph Aloysius Hansom (an Architect from York) while living in Hinckley, Leicestershire during 1843.

Cab is a shortening of cabriolet, reflecting the design of the carriage. It replaced the hackney carriage as a vehicle for hire; with the introduction of clockwork mechanical taximeters to measure fares, the name became taxicab.

The Cab was designed to replace the Hackney Carriage as a vehicle for hire (with the introduction of 'taximeters' to measure passenger fares, the name later became 'taxicab'). The Hansom Cab also had speed along with safety, being that it was lower than the other carriages at the time.

The passengers were protected from the elements by the cab itself, as well as by folding wooden doors that enclosed their feet and legs, protecting their clothes from splashing mud. The passengers were able to give their instructions to the driver through a trap door near the rear of the roof, they could also pay the driver through this hatch as well and he would then operate a lever to release the folding wooden doors so they could climb out of the cab.

Made over 100 years ago, this footage shows a number of scenes shot around central London of the Hansom Cab in action along with other horse-drawn carriages. It is amazing to watch the pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages and the general hustle and bustle on the streets of London during 1903.

Hansom Cabs were very popular being that they were light enough to be pulled along by one horse. In the height of popularity there were around 7,500 Hansom Cabs in circulation. The number of Hansom Cabs grew once it was introduced across the other cities in the British Empire and the United States during the late 19th Century.

1908 The cabs were being replaced when Taximeter Cars (petrol cabs) started to be introduced, by the early 1920s horse-drawn cabs had largely been superseded by motor vehicles.

1947 The last licence for a horse-drawn cab in London was relinquished.

2015 Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, the owners of a Hansom Cab have paid The Wellington Carriage Company for some restoration work to be carried out. The Hansom Cab was put on loan to Adrian Lander at Rushmere Farm, Gloucestershire to store until a permanent display in Hinckley was found.

To see a three-quarter scale model of the Hansom Cab, please visit the Hinckley & District Museum along Lower Bond Street in Hinckley, Leicestershire.

The Hansom Cab Hinckley The Hansom Cab Hinckley
The Hansom Cab designed by Joseph Hansom in Hinckley

Related Posts

joseph hansom
Joseph Hansom
Joseph Aloysius Hansom is best known as the inventor of the Hansom Cab, which became so popular in the Victorian period.
Read More
hinckley history timeline
Hinckley History
History of Hinckley in Leicestershire from Saxon Times to Today, also includes some local Folklore, Hinckley History archive.
Read More