A Coat of Arms registered for Smith


SMITH FAMILY HISTORY
Last Updated : 11 Feb 2016

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Ronald Smith senior (born 1914) first got involved in the taxi business in the early 1950s with a background as a commercial driver and motor mechanic. Being one of three candidates that day of "good character" and a good driver he was granted his Liverpool Hackney Cab drivers license on the 10th of April 1951. Its not certain who he first drove for but it was possibly Atkinson, a family taxi business in Liverpool who had a considerable taxi fleet at the time. The photo shown here could possibly be an Atkinson owned cab (perhaps "AFM 960"). This has been identified as being based on a 1934 Renault Monaquatre YN4 with coachbuilt body.


In 1954 he was driving a "low loader" registration EGO 533 and this is thought to have been his first own cab with Hackney "plate" number 22. "EGO 533" was a pre-war model and was sold to James Clucas in July 1954 and finally scrapped by him in September 1954 when it was replaced by a 1950 Austin. In September 1954, Ron also purchased a 1949 Oxford "KKD 187" from Laurie Hughes who had owned that cab since 1952. The January 1958 Hackney Committe Minutes show Ron bought (probably late 1957) a 1955 Austin FX3 registration "TKF 27" from Harold Graham Read. The final payment of a loan taken out, possibly in 1957, for "TKF 27" was made on the 9th of June 1959. "TKF 27" had originally been purchased new by Billy Mills and Harry Read as a replacement for a cab requiring "extensive repairs". according to the September 1955 Hackney Committe minutes. In 1962 Ron transferred plate 22 to a new Austin FX4 registration "8084 KC". This was his last own cab and was sold together with its plate in mid 1969. For a short period in the early 1970s, Ron drove another FX4 for another owner.


Ron made many good friends through the Liverpool Hackney Cabs in the 1950s. In particular these included Frank Elliot, "Benny" Benyon (who had a less common Beardmore taxi), and Fred Hilton. In the early 1960s he worked in business with Fred Hilton when he ran "private hire" cabs (typically using Ford Zephyrs then) for a period and also in the late 1960s, ran a vehicle service and repair business with Les Nugent for a short time when they rented a workshop from Billy Mills another Liverpool Hackney Cab owner. It is understood that his friend Frank Elliot, who later ran an insurance business in Liverpool helped Ron first get his own first taxi along with the Liverpool Plate "22", an essential requirement in order to pick-up customers anywhere in the city of Liverpool.


The term Hackney Cab comes from the Norman French word ‘hacquenée’ meaning a type of horse suitable for hire and 'cabriolet' a two-seat, two-wheeled carriage introduced in France in 1823. Horse drawn hackney cabs were in England as early as the early 17th century. In the 1950s, there were only 300 licensed Hackney Cabs in the city of Liverpool. Adjacent boroughs in the Greater Liverpool area such as Bootle and Huyton etc have always had separate cab licensing unlike in Greater London where a common system operates through the London metropolitan police area. Today Liverpool (city) has over 1700 Hackney Cabs, probably more than any other city in the UK. In Liverpool, as in many other cities, the Hackney Cabs are controlled through the city Police. Hackney Cabs are distinct from private hire taxis (which also exist in Liverpool) in that they can "ply for hire" in the streets within their jurisdiction rather than just accept a pre-arranged booking. A taxi only becomes a taxi, if it has a taximeter. The modern taximeter which is used to measure distance travelled and waiting time was invented by a German - Baron von Thurn und Taxis and is the origin of the name taxi.