Most museums, heritage centres and exhibitions in England are brilliantly…
There are things in England which do not attract our attention, yet everybody knows they are typically English. Let me show you today one of them.
Have you ever taken note of the black and white lamppost with the amber ball on top?
It is so obviously standing by the side of each crossing that we realize the fact that we do not even realize they are there.
It is called Belisha Beacon
I did not have any idea how this thing is called in English so I asked my Partner who immediately replied: „Belisha beacon”. „OK, I said, but what does it mean”, I asked. He did not know it, so I looked it up.
So this lamp was named after Leslie Hore-Belisha who was the Transport Minister between 1934 and 1937. The number of road casualties was at record height in 1934 in the UK (ca 7000 deaths) and even Belisha was nearly hit by an automobile on Camden High Street. That was the moment he had enough of it and as a result the speed limit of 30 mph for cars was introduced in the Road Traffic Act 1934. Belisha rewrote the Highway Code, with two major implementations: the Belisha beacon and the driving test.
The legally compliant crossing should have two Belisha beacons on both side of the road, the pole must be painted black and white and should have an amber-coloured globe lamp on top which flashes every second.
As time went by modern technology reached the Belisha beacon as well: the old amber globe lamp was replaced by a LED outer ring which provides better visibility. Crossings these days are equipped by different type of crossings: Pelican crossing (pedestrians), Puffin crossing (pedestrian), Toucan-crossing (pedestrian and cyclist), Pegasus-crossing (pedestrian and equestrian).
What a shame I have to say. I do like Belisha Beacons – they form a part of the English street. I can only hope the British realize that and will NOT remove them from the streets copletely…