first three hours, and two shillings for every additional hour or part of an hour. For the licence-plate affixed to the vehicle the proprietor had to pay ten shillings a week.
In compliance with a legal requirement every driver was paid a small salary, generally nine shillings a week, but that formed a very insignificant portion of his income, for, like the cabman of to-day, he could keep all that he earned beyond the hire money due to the proprietor.
Mourning coaches, commonly called "black coaches," bore licence-plates, and when not engaged at funerals plied for hire in the streets. The number of these vehicles was limited, but every undertaker kept in reserve many for which he had no licences, as, in the event of requiring more coaches for a funeral than he possessed licences, he had the power to go to any rank and remove from the hackney-coaches standing there as many licence-plates as he wanted. These plates he would affix to his unlicensed vehicles, and for the loan of each would have to pay the hackney-coachman waiting fare.
In the first quarter of the last century, hackney-coach proprietors were blackmailed systematically