World’s first traf­fic light in­stalled 150 years ago

The Sunday Telegraph - - News -

To­day marks 150 years since the world’s first traf­fic light was in­stalled close to West­min­ster Bridge in Lon­don, though its first ap­pear­ance in the UK was brief fol­low­ing a disas­ter.

The gas-pow­ered traf­fic light was in­stalled at the junc­tion of Great Ge­orge Street and Bridge Street in West­min­ster on Dec 9 1868, un­der the man­ual con­trol of a po­lice­man.

Not­ting­ham en­gi­neer John Peake Knight took the idea from the rail­way sig­nalling sys­tem, but a leaky gas mains re­sulted in one of the traf­fic lights ex­plod­ing and burn­ing the po­lice­man on duty – some ac­counts sug­gest he may have even been killed – re­sult­ing in the trial be­ing scrapped.

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