IT was quite a sight in Bradford when a wooden taxi office that had been a familiar fixture at the city’s Exchange Station was hoisted by crane onto the back of a lorry.

The 19th century cabmen’s shelter had a new home - the National Tramway Museum at Crich, near Matlock.

On January 22, 1973 the Telegraph & Argus reported that the little building had been given to the museum by members of the Bradford Stations Taxi Association. Taxi drivers no longer needed to use the shelter because of the closure of the old Exchange Station.

Four members of the Tramway Museum Society came to Bradford to collect the office, loading it onto a lorry and taking to its new home in Derbyshire. It was mounted on a simple truck and wheel frame, allowing for its relocation.

Now the National Tramway Museum in Crich has received funding to restore the cabmen’s shelter - regarded as a rare survivor of the Victorian era. According to the museum, although there are cabmen’s shelters in London, only one other similar to this one is known to exist.

The project has been supported by a grant from The Pilgrim Trust and is the first in the region to receive an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant for more than £15,000.

It has also been given a restoration grant from the Association for Industrial Archaeology, which has supported the study, preservation and presentation of industrial heritage in Britain since 1973.

Fundraising and Development Officer at Crich Tramway Village, Laura Bird, said: “We are very grateful to the funding support we have received, as it means we can restore this rare item in our collection for the enjoyment of our visitors.

“It will also give us the opportunity to work with Bradford Libraries and create interest further afield.”

The shelter was installed in Bradford in 1877 for the benefit of taxi cabmen and their horses, providing warmth, shelter and a means of refreshment.

It remained in use, latterly by Bradford Taxi Association, outside Exchange Railway station until it was moved to The National Tramway Museum nearly half a century ago.

The cabmen’s shelter will be restored to its 1877 appearance using the original architects’ drawings. Original features will replicated, included a clerestory in the roof, lockers, a compact stove with hot-plate and boiler for supplying warm water for the horses.

The restoration project will also involve the use of new technologies for the first time at the Tramway Museum.

There will be a virtual tour of the shelter, using 3D scanning, and a 3D printed scale model. These will be taken to Bradford in 2021 as part of two temporary exhibitions at libraries in the district.

* Visitors will be able to see the shelter, prior to restoration, when Crich Tramway Village opens for the new season on Saturday, March 14.

For more about the restoration visit blog, or

Emma Clayton