On 9 December 1868 the world's first traffic lights were installed at the junction of Great George Street and Bridge Street in the London borough of Westminster, close to Westminster Bridge.
Policemen would stand next to the signals all day in order to operate them.
It was an immediate success and the inventor predicted more signals would appear in the centre of London.
But a month into the project disaster struck. One evening a leaky gas mains resulted in one of the traffic lights exploding in the face of the policeman who was operating them. He was badly burnt.
The project, so enthusiastically greeted, was immediately dropped.
It would be 40 years before traffic lights reappeared and this would be in America.
They would only become a common sight in London in 1929 when the first electric signals were introduced.
More videos on our YouTube Channel: