Despot bigwigs’ ban Sherlock Holmes carriage

LONDON's only Victorian horse-drawn taxi is being put out to pasture because it is not allowed in the Royal Parks

Susanna Wilkey

LONDON's only Victorian horse-drawn taxi is being put out to pasture because it is not allowed in the Royal Parks.

The historic hansom cab has again been refused permission to go into the parks and owners at the Sherlock Holmes Museum say the decision is the last straw.

The cab, which has provided sightseeing rides for Londoners and tourists around the capital for 15 years, has now been taken off the streets.

Director of the museum at 221b Baker Street John Aidiniantz says a piece of history and a jewel of London is being lost forever and is considering asking our horse-loving Queen to step in.

He said: "The hansom cab is the only such working vehicle in the world and it is a symbol of London.

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"But it cannot go through the Royal Parks, they say because of its advert, even though taxis with advertising are allowed to go through all the time.

"The cab is a great enjoyment to visitors - but you cannot take the cab around London without going through the parks because you have to go around them which is no good for the horses.

"There are no sensible decisions coming from Royal Parks because it is despotic bigwigs running the agency - they are supposed to protect our heritage.

"It is great for London to have the carriage on the streets but taking it away is like not allowing gondolas in Venice."

The hansom cab has never been granted a commercial licence to travel through the Royal Parks, which include Regent's Park, Hyde Park and Green Park, but the museum has been trying to get one for 15 years.

Mr Aidiniantz said: "We are the only cab in London so the Royal Parks would not be overrun with horses.We are very upset about this - we have a £100,000 vehicle on the roads which we are going to have to give up because we are not allowed in the parks.

"They have said we can go in if we take our adverts off but we need sponsorship advertising to keep it going - we have to feed the horses, maintain the carriage and put the horses in stables.

"Why should our cab be treated like this when taxis are not?

"It is not reasonable or practical for us to cover up our advertising.

"The Royal Parks allow pop and rock concerts and all sorts of events with advertising but they won't allow our historic cab. Where is the sense in that?

A spokeswoman for Royal Parks said: "Managing the parks is about balance and we seek to limit commercialisation and advertising where we can.

"Anyone wanting to run a private business in the parks needs to get a licence from the agency.

"Under park regulations, Licensed Taxis have a particular status and are permitted in the park and provide a valuable service to park users."