Yellow Lines

Contributed by The Musgrave Collection Eastbourne

1.After WW2, in Greenwich in 1947, a competition was launched for new ideas to improve road-safety. It was won by George Musgrave with the idea for what became yellow lines. Motorists might hate them, but they save lives. His other ideas were -
Pedestrian refuges in the centre of wide, busy roads;
Railings at dangerous corners and school exits;
One-way traffic in towns with narrow streets;
Speed-limits in town centres and dangerous areas;
No parking within 20 yards either side of pedestrian crossings.
2. After the terrible destruction and loss of life of WW2, there was feeling in the wider community that things must be rebuilt better and safer than before, and that, as motor-vehicles grew in number, greater controls over them were required.
3. How good ideas are adopted and adapted - as these were - throughout the world. How the spread of new technology (motor transport) presented new liberties and new dangers, and the ingenuity required to balance the former against the latter. How the conceptual, (signs), can wield vast influence over the material, (cars and their drivers). These objects became, in fact, the symbols of new social mores; truly, codes of conduct.

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April 1947


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