Eagle-eyed Eddie recalls days of dad’s point duty

Highly visible point duty in the middle of Guildhall Square in front of the bus shelter
Highly visible point duty in the middle of Guildhall Square in front of the bus shelter
Nelson's column at Portsdown Hill

WATCH: The original Nelson's Column

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Eagle-eyed Eddie Wallace spotted something of great interest in the recent photograph of Portsmouth’s first set of traffic lights.

It was 1933 and they had just gone live on the corner of Elm Grove and Grove Road South, Southsea, but baffled drivers still needed the reassurance of a man on point duty.

Eddie Wallace's father on point duty in a rather quiet Elm Grove, Southsea

Eddie Wallace's father on point duty in a rather quiet Elm Grove, Southsea

On the right hand edge of the picture – which appears in full at the bottom right of today’s page – Eddie spotted an arm, complete with white cuff. It belonged to his father and reminded him of these two family photographs.

Eddie, of Revenge Close, Milton, Portsmouth, said his father was an RAC Scout who was used to carry out point duty at various places around the city.

He said: ‘During the period 1929 to 1939 the Royal Automobile Club had a contract with the local Watch Committee to control traffic at the city’s major road junctions.

‘When I looked closely at the original picture I saw my father’s left arm extended to stop all traffic coming up from the direction of Albert Road. He was wearing the white traffic cuffs which my mother had to wash along with the white coat when it was issued later,’ said Eddie.

In the other two pictures his father can be seen at the Elm Grove junction before the lights were installed and in Guildhall Square shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

By then he had been issued with the white traffic coat to ensure drivers could see him. He must also have been pretty visible to those waiting for buses.