NOSTALGIA: Put that light out! Zebra posts kept wartime drivers on road

Southwick: Judging by the blackout black and white bands on the post on the left, this picture was taken during the Second World War.
Southwick: Judging by the blackout black and white bands on the post on the left, this picture was taken during the Second World War.
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Approaching the summit of Portsdown Hill from Cosham we see what might be a Bugatti sports car passing over the tram lines of the Horndean Light Railway.The rails disappear into the distance on a reserved track to the west of London Road.

The car on the left, which looks as if it is parked, has had some sort of breakdown.

HMS Nelson takes centre stage at the 1937 Fleet Review. Picture: Evening News/Mike Nolan Collection

HMS Nelson takes centre stage at the 1937 Fleet Review. Picture: Evening News/Mike Nolan Collection

I have another of Barry Cox’s photographs which I shall publish tomorrow showing an RAC man on the scene inspecting the car.

The lamppost on the left has a blue lamp with the words Keep Left on it. This would have been illuminated during the hours of darkness.

Note the telegraph poles with many arms alongside the road going down the hill to Cosham. The chalk pit on the right is still there though overgrown today.

It must have been a complete pleasure to drive in the days before thousands of cars took to the roads.

The days of easy motoring. Approaching the summit of Portsdown Hill, pre-1935.

The days of easy motoring. Approaching the summit of Portsdown Hill, pre-1935.

• With the battleship HMS Nelson taking centre stage we take a look at part of the Fleet Review of 1937 at Spithead.

Along with battleships we see battle-cruisers, cruisers and destroyers all waiting for King George VI  to pass by on the royal yacht Victoria and Albert. All the ships have awnings in place on this fine, sunny day.

Looking at these ships it is no wonder the Royal Navy ruled the the seas before the Second World War. Just how vulnerable they were to aerial attack was not even thought about until the loss of many ships and thousands of sailors during that war.

• The third  photo comes from Edwin Amey and shows a trench dug on the slopes of Portsdown Hill above Blakemere Crescent, Wymering. He tells me the idea was to place timber posts in the trenches to stop invasion gliders landing during the Second World War.

Do any readers remember an anti-invasion trench being dug on Portsdown Hill and lines with timber posts? Picture: Edwin Amey Collection

Do any readers remember an anti-invasion trench being dug on Portsdown Hill and lines with timber posts? Picture: Edwin Amey Collection

•And finally we go over the hill to Southwick in a timeless photograph looking towards Southwick church. On the left is a post painted with black and white bands.

This was to show drivers where the edge of the road was because during the blackout of the Second World War vehicle headlights were masked to show only a crack of light.This was the  main road through the village which has now been bypassed keeping traffic away from this still sleepy village.

From Thurso to Truro, Hastings to Holyhead, Britain was plunged into darkness at sunset on September 1,1939, two days before war was declared. Street lights were switched off at the mains and stations were lit by candles.The nation endured this enforced darkness until April 23, 1945, 10 days after the liberation of Belsen, when the allied armies were advancing rapidly towards Berlin.