Thursday 30th August 1956
Harold Watkinson, the Minister for Transport, announced the creation of a part-time force of traffic wardens to help the police supervise parking meters, which would be paid for from the revenue of the meters that were due to be installed throughout Britain.
The first 40 traffic wardens marched onto British streets in September 1960. They inspired fear and fascination in equal measure as, in distinctive military-style uniforms with rows of gilt buttons, yellow shoulder flashes and yellow cap bands and with the power to issue £2 fines, they went in search of law-breaking motorists on behalf of the Metropolitan Police. The very first ticket was issued to Dr Thomas Creighton who was answering an emergency call to help a heart attack victim at a West End hotel.
The medic’s Ford Popular, left outside as he tended the victim, was ticketed but – just as happens today when mean or thoughtless wardens ticket hearses, ambulances (or even rabbits in their hutches…) – there was such a public outcry that he was subsequently let off.