Malcolm Linskey and Jim Reynolds at the new home of Knowledge Point taxi school
Published: 22 January, 2016
by JOE COOPER
WHEN the Knowledge Point taxi school in Caledonian Road announced it was to close at the end of last year, it looked to be another nail in the coffin for the black cab industry.
But thanks to a Coventry-based taxi manufacturer, London’s oldest training school has been given a new lease of life – and a new home, just around the corner in Brewery Road.
Speaking to the Tribune, founder of Knowledge Point Malcolm Linskey said: “It really did look like the end was nigh for us. We’re very grateful to the London Taxi Company for stepping in to rescue the centre following some uncertainty.”
The school was told it had to vacate its home of 30 years as the site is to be redeveloped into 250 homes, retail units and offices. Councillors gave the green light to the scheme at a planning meeting on Tuesday.
Thanks to London Taxi Company chief executive Peter Johansen, their new home is in the company’s Islington dealership.
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the industry, not least due to the rise of Uber, Mr Johansen is a strong believer in the black cab and wanted to ensure the next generation of cabbies are fully trained to drive his taxis.
He said: “The Knowledge is a proud tradition among London black cab drivers, and still as relevant today as ever before. This intensive training sets them apart from minicab drivers, making them indispensable to London and the UK, and provides highly skilled professional jobs for 25,000 taxi drivers in London.”
It can take more than three years to learn the 25,000 streets within the six-mile radius of Charing Cross. The number of people studying the Knowledge has fallen to the low thousands over the past few years, but Mr Linskey said he is confident the drop had bottomed out.
“The London black cab is iconic and the Knowledge is the gold standard across the world,” he added.
“We want to increase the amount of people coming into the trade. We provide drivers the public can trust – they are historically renowned for going out of their way to help people.”
Jim Reynolds, who is studying with the Knowledge Point, agreed.
“I love London and I love people,” he said.
“And being a black cab driver you are the best in the world at what you do – it will never be beaten.”
Source: Islington Tribune