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SOCIAL CLASSES: Have most London taxi drivers shifted to the middle class?

Most London taxi drivers come from working-class backgrounds. The Knowledge of London is seen as a way out to further a professional career and provide a good income for the household they live in.

Most taxi drivers have a mortgage or own their house rather than renting. They are small-business owners, control the hours they work and run their own business independently. But then when it comes to education, most cabbies are not educated to degree level, but have completed the world’s most difficult topographical test that is a similar length of study.

These aspects can blur the lines between the working class and middle class. So what class do most London cabbies fall into?

In the UK, social class can be roughly divided into working class and middle class based on various factors such as occupation, income, and education level. Here's a brief explanation of what constitutes these classes:

Working class: The working class typically consists of individuals who are engaged in manual labour, lower-skilled jobs, or jobs that require fewer qualifications. They often have lower levels of income and may not have pursued higher education or professional qualifications. Historically, working-class occupations include factory workers, labourers, tradespeople, and some service workers.

Middle class: The middle class is generally considered to be a more affluent and educated social group. Middle-class individuals typically have better education and qualifications, and often occupy positions in white-collar professions. These professions may include teachers, nurses, accountants, engineers, managers, and professionals in various fields. Middle-class individuals tend to have higher income levels and may own property or have financial investments.

It's worth noting that social class is a complex and multi-dimensional concept, and different classifications may have additional subcategories or nuances.

When it comes to classifying social classes, education is one of the factors considered. Generally, a higher level of education is associated with the middle class. However, social class is a concept that encompasses various aspects such as income, occupation, and capital, not solely education.

It is also worth mentioning that social mobility can occur, allowing individuals to move from one social class to another.

Speaking as a cabbie myself, my roots are very much working-class. I grew up in a south-east London council house, attended a state school and opportunities were limited. Whilst we were not a poor family by any stretch, I remember my father working three jobs at one point to make sure money was available when needed.

Leaving school with a few A-Levels, university was never discussed as an option. I made my way into the employment sector and developed my skills in marketing and database management. Then I set my eyes on becoming a London cabbie inspired by the lifestyle that family members were able to afford.

Now that boy who grew up in a council house, is married to a top university graduate with two children in a detached house in the Cotswolds. The rest of the family are definitely middle class, but the question remains… am I?

Personally I think most cabbies feel like they’re working class, but doing alright in life… and that will do for me.


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