For some years The Chelsea Society had been concerned that this historic cabmen’s shelter on the Chelsea Embankment near Albert Bridge was falling into disrepair. Eventually, with the help of Cllr. Alison Jackson, we persuaded RBKC to serve a section 215 Notice in August 2020 requiring the owners (the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund) to repair the building.
We are very pleased to report that the repairs have now been completed, with financial help from the Heritage of London Trust, and the results can be seen in these photographs.
We understand that the owners would like to put the shelter back into use. The original use will not be possible, because the adjacent road is a now red route, and taxi drivers can no longer stop there for refreshment. However, the shelter could be put to good use as a kiosk selling hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, ice-creams, newspapers etc. to people using the river path. It would be necessary to convert one of the panels on the side facing the river into a serving hatch, and The Chelsea Society would support an application to RBKC to permit that alteration.
There should be no advertisements on the three sides of the shelter visible from the road, which could encourage drivers to stop on this red route. Any advertisements on the fourth side should not be on the building itself, and should be appropriate to the heritage status of the building and its setting.
The small piece of land around the shelter, and especially between the shelter and the river path are in a very untidy and neglected condition. We understand that this land belongs to Transport for London, and we have asked our GLA representative Cllr. Tony Devenish to persuade them to tidy it up. We also think that they and RBKC should allow the owners of the shelter to level the land and/or install suitable decking if they wish, so as to provide tables and chairs, and access to the serving hatch.
The building is connected to mains water and sewerage, and there is an electricity supply. However, there is no electricity meter, because suppliers will not install new meters until the industry has reached agreement with the government about the prices they are allowed to charge.
The Chelsea Society applied in January 2021 for the shelter to be listed, and we are awaiting a decision.