The Knowledge

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  • Whilst riding around the city today and using my Garmin GPS, I remembered The Knowledge, a 1979 film all about the mythical three to four year course and exam that all London cabbies have to take before they earn the Green Badge. It's gruelling having to remember 25,000 streets and countless landmarks, but it's said that a London cabbie has an extraordinarily powerful memory.

    The film, starring Nigel Hawthorne of Yes, Prime Minister fame, is utterly riveting, quintessentially British and a must-see for the humour and the period.

    I also came across this superb article in the New York Times about The Knowledge, which is worth reading all the way through for the little gems it contains. It's also said to be the most difficult test in the world and I can well believe that.

    And yes, it's on YouTube - it's hard to find anywhere else.


    I wonder f there's a similar test in Buenos Aires?

    And further viewing;

  • A similar test in Bs As?

    Come on.... its a question of how well you can understand Waze!

    Its also a question of can you afford the operators licence which used to have a very high value but has come down in price in relative terms. Mainly because of Uber , I think.

    Apparently one of the Unions has a say in who gets the licences as well - again , hardly a surprise

    Sorry I also meant to say , yes The Knowledge was a great film / documentary!

  • GlasgowJohn

    indeed, it's a very different scenario here, but I do love the traditionalist vibes of The Knowledge and the fact that one uses brain power.

    I've spent years riding around BA using GPS/Waze/Google Maps, but how well do I know the city? Could I go from Retiro to Caballito or Velez Sarsfield without any sort of map at all, relying just on my memory? It would be very challenging indeed.

  • How extraordinary it is to me, that I have never questioned or appreciated traditional taxi drivers’ extensive knowledge of their cities’ streets.

    Now, of course, they just use Waze/GPS.

    I’m putting the movie on my list. Thanks!