This cute little brooch of a London Taxi is by Atwood and Sawyer, one of the few UK based vintage jewellery companies.  Atwood and Sawyer was founded by Horas Atwood (Mr Sauer was a silent partner) in Wales in 1956, at that time most costume jewellery was made by American firms; Trifari, Coro, Eisenburg etc.  The company produced good quality costume jewellery in a wide range of styles.  Atwood and Sawyer was used in the television series ‘Dallas’ and ‘Dynasty’ and in the ‘Miss World’ beauty contest.   Some of their designs took inspiration from the late Duchess of Windsor’s jewellery collection.  In 2001 Atwood and Sawyer ceased trading.  It was bought by Buckley Jewellery Ltd. including the back catalogue of designs.  The company was relaunched in 2010 but has again ceased trading.  Buckley Jewellery was established in 1989 and based in Leeds.  Buckley London as it is now known are the designers of The Poppy Collection® established in 2010.  The charity  raises funds through the sales of poppy brooches which have been worn by a number of high-profile figures such as the new Princess of Wales, Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga.  I have a number of Atwood and Sawyer brooches in my collection, including a ‘cockerel’ and a ‘snake’ which feature as part of Tubeflash.

The ‘Black Cab’ is an iconic symbol of London and readily recognisable worldwide.  Originally known as ‘Hackney Carriages’ in 1654 the ‘Ordinance for the Regulation of Hackney-Coachmen in London and the places adjacent’ was passed by Parliament and a further act in 1662 established the ‘Commissioners of Scotland Yard’ [the informal name for the Commissioners for the Streets and Wayes] to regulate them.  Initially there were only 400 licences granted, allowing a hackney carriage to ply the streets looking for passengers to pick up.

Commissioners of Scotland Yard cress 1662

In London, taxi drivers have to pass a test called The Knowledge.  There are 320 standard routes through central London, made up of 25,000 streets within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.   A taxi driver must learn these routes, as well as the “points of interest” along the route and within ½ a mile (0.80 km) of each end of the routes including streets, squares, clubs, hospitals, hotels, theatres, embassies, government and public buildings, railway stations, police stations, courts, diplomatic buildings, important places of worship, cemeteries, crematoria, parks and open spaces, sports and leisure centres, places of learning, restaurants and historic buildings.  Would-be cabbies, known as Knowledge boys/girls are seen learning the routes on a motor scooter with a clipboard fixed to the handlebars.  On average it takes 34 months for someone to qualify as a member of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.  The oldest taxi driver was Alfred Collins who retired in 2007 aged 92, he had been driving for 70 years.  Several celebrities have owned ‘black cabs’ over the years including the late Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Stephen Fry and Kate Moss.