Eddie Wallace has furnished me with more information about the picture of Handley’s Corner, Palmerston Road, Southsea.
When I published it recently I couldn’t pinpoint a date, but Eddie could. And the clue is the man on point duty.
Eddie says that in 1932 Portsmouth City Police wore caps for a trial period of one year only. ‘From 1929 to 1939 all traffic points in the city were manned by RAC ‘Scouts’, as they were called,’ he adds.
‘The RAC had a 10-year contract with the City Watch Committee to man those points. The only time a police constable would perform traffic duty was between 12.30pm and 1.30pm when the RAC pointman would have his lunch.
‘The relieving constable would wear the RAC pointsman’s white oilskin traffic coat. The photo would have been taken in 1932.’
Eddie points out the Beaseley Gamewall police and fire alarm stand beside the officer. It had a phone in one side and on the other a piece of glass which, when broken and a lever pulled, would raise an alarm in the nearest police station. This would alert the City Police Fire Brigade which would then send an engine to the box.
Eddie adds: ‘My father was an RAC traffic Scout and often did a turn at Handley’s Corner. When war broke out he was the Scout on Guildhall Square.