MT 95/157

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Belisha beacons

Date range1954-1962
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 95


Until the early 1950s, pedestrian crossings that operated on a priority rule were marked by "Belisha Beacons", these being a striped pole on each side of the road, surmounted by a yellow globe.

An increasing accident rate required action, and this file details the Ministry of Transport's efforts to improve the visibility of the crossing places, and in doing so, creating the modern zebra crossing.

Stripes were added across the road in October 1951, and many redundant crossings were removed. This improved the accident rate dramatically in the daytime. However, accidents were still increasing at night. The Ministry was forced to find a solution and in 1952, having considered a number of alternatives, introduced flashing lights within the Belisha Beacons.

Contents of note

  • Copious correspondence regarding every conceivable aspect of striped road markings, flashing beacons, steady lights in beacons, illuminated poles, whether lights on opposite sides of the road and along the length of a street should flash at the same time, in sequence or randomly, and so on.

People with camera copies

None known