Somebody who has the entertaining moniker MastaMind Hussain just posted this photo in a Facebook group, along with the comment:
One thing I can’t understand about us Islanders.. why do we park on double yellows and cause a nuisance? Traffic started to pile up coz of these two vehicles. Buses can’t get past and other large vehicles.
I liked the expression “us Islanders”, but [warning, bad play on words coming up] the other island that caught my attention was the traffic island. I was struck with the thought that this has quite some history…..for me at least. Here’s a better photo of it:
Like all traffic islands, it’s in the middle of the road. Its job? To be a place of refuge when crossing, positioned here because of a perceived higher pedestrian traffic to and from the church or the pub.
A few decades ago there was no traffic island, but a zebra crossing.
As traffic became heavier and faster, however, a zebra crossing at the end of a bend was not such a good idea. So, the zebra crossing was removed and a traffic island installed. The problem with this one, though, was that it was (and still is) invisible to anybody driving round the bend in Manchester Road – from the direction of the Lord Nelson – until quite late. If you were unfamiliar with the bend and/or were driving too fast, there was a risk of straying a bit too far to the right and crashing into it.
This happened quite often, usually in the weekend – I know this because I lived in the flats on the left in the previous photo. I can still hear the horrible sound of screeching tyres, and remember holding my breath, waiting for the crash. I even mentioned it in my diary, more than once.
And, three months later…..
Actually, this one didn’t crash into the island, it swerved to the right to avoid it, and ended up hitting the church wall. It wasn’t the first time, either – take a good look at the wall and you can see a few signs of earlier repairs.
Later photos show how battered the traffic island was, including this screenshot from the TV series, Prospects:
Not long before this, one of the Subohon family took this photo of some blokes trying to cross the road after a Sunday lunchtime drink in the Waterman’s Arms, as it was then called. Looks to me that they’ve given up trying to cross, and are more interesting in serenading the photographer. I say “some blokes”, but, from left to right, it’s Norman Subohon, my dad, Ray Subohon, don’t know, and Barry Houlding.
Quite possibly, it was this photo that I thought of when I saw MastaMind Hussain’s post, and that inspired me to write this (I mean, who writes a blog article about a traffic island?). However, here it is, a small pictorial homage to the traffic island outside Christ Church. My apologies to the photographers for not crediting them – I’ve lost the information – but I imagine I should thank Pat Jarvis Reading and Peter Wright.