Horse Transport

Horse Transport

At the beginning of the 20th century virtually every vehicle on London's streets was horse-drawn. By the end of the century they had been almost entirely replaced by the motorcar.

Apart from a handful of police horses there were practically no horses left in the city.
In 1900 more than 300,000 horses were needed to keep the city on the move, hauling everything from private carriages and cabs to buses, trams and delivery vans.

Most people got around on foot and the streets were crowded with pedestrians. Only a wealthy minority could afford to travel by private carriage or cab. Light horse-drawn cabs, which could be maneuvered down London's maze of streets, were fashionable among rich Londoners.

Horse-drawn trams were Londoners' first form of affordable public transport. A horse-drawn 'hail and ride' bus service had been introduced back in 1829 but the tram, introduced in 1870, challenged its supremacy. Trams ran earlier in the morning and were cheaper providing a better service for working-class Londoners.

By 1915 everything had changed. Horse buses and horse trams had disappeared in London, and motor taxis heavily outnumbered horse-drawn cabs. Buses were fully mechanized in an even shorter period - between 1904 and 1914 -- following the development of reliable petrol engines and mass production of standard vehicles.

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