It is incumbent on me to pass on to my readers (aMToNW) vital items of information that I discover. Indeed, I am still, despite my noted erudition, willing to learn.
Whilst reading a novel by that nice Mr Le Carré this evening, I found a reference to a time when there were Belisha beacons and no zebra crossings in the UK. I had always assumed that the two went together. This was, of course, before my time.
What is most peculiar is that I have read this book before, and must have forgotten this important historical fact. Fortunately, this ignorance has had no important damaging consequences.
My research indicates that the beacons predated the markings on the road by some 15 years.
When zebra crossings were first introduced, they were blue and yellow. I have no idea what they were called at that stage. As far as I can tell, there have been no recorded instances of blue and yellow members of the genus equus. I can think of no land mammals coloured blue. I am told by my friends at the Oxford dictionary that the word “zebra” is of Italian, Spanish or Portuguese origin and means “wild ass”. Of course it would be inappropriate to have wildass crossings on our highways.
The Belisha beacon was named after the Minister of Transport who introduced them – Mr (later lord) Beacon. His full name was Mr Hore-Beacon. Wisely, the government of the day decided that it would not be fitting to have Hore crossings on the High Streets of this fine nation. That would have been silly.
So, now you have this vital data to hand. I hope that you will be able to remember it all.
I hope that this helps.