Point duty bobbies

I remember when I was a drivers mate in the mid 60s,in Manchester,a bobby would turn off a set of lights,put on his white coat,and begin directing traffic.
This happened at nearly all the major junctions at the teatime rush hour in the city centre.
I seem to remember the one at the junction of Oldham Road and Gt.Ancoats St. was paticularly animated,and soon let anyone know who was boss,who looked like they might not follow his directions!!
Did any other cities do this every day,or just when needed?
Regards John.

I remember it happening in Gateshead. They would turn off the lights on the approach to the Tyne bridge and use it as a training exercise for rookie traffic wardens.

A bobby on point duty could get the traffic moving a treat, and all the right - turners cleared away in no time, much better than the lights. I haven’t seen one for years and doubt if today’s plod could do it.

Problem is that in most cities the lights are interlinked and (even though it may not always look like it) their timings are designed to work in harmony with their neighbours - typically with different timings in operation at different times of the day.

Stick a human being in there and it all goes to rat-■■■.

Roymondo:
Problem is that in most cities the lights are interlinked and (even though it may not always look like it) their timings are designed to work in harmony with their neighbours - typically with different timings in operation at different times of the day.

Stick a human being in there and it all goes to rat-■■■.

I disagree. How many times have you come to a bust junction with the lights out and it’s running better and safer than normal

The one I remember vividly was in Birkenhead docks, Three Bridges■■? He was definitely in charge and superquick. Regards Kev. (60s 70s)

Got a photo of my father on point duty in Preston around the mid 50s.Anyone who knows the area will know it was the junction of Corporation st and Fishergate near the station.Another spot was the Park rd Stanley st area ,well before the so called Ringway.They had the boxes to stand in and get cold and wet.Just a point of interest he used to get a bike allowance and was responsible for getting the chrome on his helmet re-chromed. cheers

m1cks:
I disagree. How many times have you come to a bust junction with the lights out and it’s running better and safer than normal

But that’s “no control” rather than “human controlled”, and in my experience only really works outside of busy periods. It only takes one set of lights to go out of phase (or, more likely, lose its communication and fall back to a fixed cycle) in a busy city centre and it causes gridlock for miles in all directions.

Plod would regularly control the junctions in Hereford in the early 1960s. There were only one set of lights in the city at that time and the place used to get mega-congested on market days.

old 67:
I remember when I was a drivers mate in the mid 60s,in Manchester,a bobby would turn off a set of lights,put on his white coat,and begin directing traffic.
This happened at nearly all the major junctions at the teatime rush hour in the city centre.
I seam to remember the one at the junction of Oldham Road and Gt.Ancoats St. was paticularly animated,and soon let anyone know who was boss,who looked like they might not follow his directions!!
Did any other cities do this every day,or just when needed?
Regards John.

Remember him very well, he certainly was animated and with a good choice of language :laughing: :laughing:
I was a drivers mate about the same time and was sat in the lorry waiting to turn right into Gt. Ancoats St. (from Oldham St. I think it was), when Plod beckoned the inside lane to go, and to get a move on. A Wilsons brewery wagon did just that and as he went over the camber of the road he deposited a load of beer crates all over the place. Plod just carried on, directing the traffic round the obstacle, no problem. Today they probably wouldn’t have a clue. No doubt they would shut all the roads for a good few hours while all the evidence was gathered. :frowning: :frowning: :frowning:
What about the one who was on point duty at Trafford Park, he seemed to let T.Park empty before letting any other road go. When I was very little I was sat with my old man in his lorry on Trafford road near the swing bridge, we seemed to be there for ages. remember my Dad tut tutting and saying “must be that bloody one armed copper on point duty again”. For years after that I used to tell people about a one armed copper on point duty. Until one day it dawned on me.:blush: :blush: :blush: :blush: :blush: :blush: :blush:

Ray

Yes Ray,I know what you mean about the Trafford Park traffic,I was on that “run” for a while,and when the big firms like AEI were turning out it was hopeless trying to get anywhere.
The most unusual experience I had in Manchester,and it only happened once,was about 6pm in the dark,the fog turned to smog,and I had to walk in front of the Albion to guide my driver.
I think it was in Stevenson Sq. A trolley bus conductor was doing the same. It was 1965 or 1966,as if I remember rightly the trolleys finished in 66.
Regards John.

Anybody mind o the two regular policemen that did Bridgeton Cross in Glasgow many moons ago, what a team they could keep things running smoothly even at busy times. Eddie.

In the 50s in Newcastle, There was one at the top of Northumberland Str, One at Barras Bridge, & one at Jesmond Rd junction with the main A 1, It worked very well for years until the city council installed traffic lights It was a total failure for a long time & was the headlines in the local paper for weeks, The thing was these point duty policemen could see each other & had a system that worked, Regards Larry.

I remember the one at the top of Church St in Blackburn still there in early 70s. :unamused: :frowning: :laughing:

Hi, Not a Bobbie but a traffic warden, Tony Jones,[ RIP] a very good mate defected from wagon driver to traffic warden, as he knew the problems HGV drivers had at traffic lights .etc. you had no bother when Tony was on duty. Happy memories of a good mate.
Les.

The thing to remember is that when point duty bobbies controlled the traffic there was not the volume of vehicles on the roads as there is today. Most of them were very good but imagine ‘elf and safety’ letting a bobby stand in the road these day :question: :question: :question: I do think that there are far too many traffic lights on junctions that don’t need them these days, contributing to traffic backing up.

Lawrence Dunbar:
In the 50s in Newcastle, There was one at the top of Northumberland Str, One at Barras Bridge, & one at Jesmond Rd junction with the main A 1, It worked very well for years until the city council installed traffic lights It was a total failure for a long time & was the headlines in the local paper for weeks, The thing was these point duty policemen could see each other & had a system that worked, Regards Larry.

Used to be a Bobby on duty on Mondays outside the old Newcastle Mart. Wagons waiting to unload sheep had to queue from the corner of Scotswood along Railway Street. It was always the same Bobby and he kept everything under control. Never had a bad word to say about wagon drivers!!!

There was one in Leeds in the early 60’s and the man was a genius. He stood in the middle of a large junction (Dewsbury rd/Meadow Lane/Hunslet rd) at rush hours, he could keep multiple lanes all moving at the same time, I NEVER saw an “incident”. Of course, many drivers were local, they knew him and how he worked, and they worked WITH him. How the hell he survived all the fumes is a miracle, he was a great guy, never “lost it” and started shouting :slight_smile:

Hiya…any one remember Blaster Bates (explosive chap/comedian)he was a special copper in Sandbach.
when it was Stoke wakes Sandbach was packed with visitors on market day, the traffic would struggle through
the town, there was a set of lights and a roundabout quite close together. Blaster would turn off the lights
and get on point duty. (it was is party trick)he’d say come on to traffic then say NO Wait… OK you can Go .no don’t
the cars looked like Kangaroos leap forward stop. go…give way…give up. after a few minutes the town was blocked solid,
Blaster would just walk away, the traffic would sort its self out without any traffic lights, Blaster would go and
■■■■ it up all again, people would travel to town just to see him do this to motorists. in those days it was all through
traffic for lorries and all…that was a day you needed a extra log book just to do half a days work if Blaster was
on duty. He’d get shot (literally) nowadays with short tempered drivers, not like 40 years ago it was a joke…I think ■■?
John

7691770980_347c119084_z.jpgJust a couple of pics to remind everyone just how old they really are, Cheers Buzzer.

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