Today is the 60th anniversary of the worst air pollution event in Londons' history. I was 14 yrs old and at school at the time I had to travel on three buses to get there, it was some 6 to 7 miles away. When school finished in the late afternoon the smog was getting worse and within a few minutes it was the thickest it had ever been. As it got dark as well and we still only had gas lamps in most streets you literally couldn't see a hand in front of your face. No traffic moved at all. All the buses stopped so it was down to walking home. Of course I knew the route likethe back of my hand, in the summer I often walked home anyway so wasn't too concerned. Still I got lost three or four times, once I had no idea where I was and finished up knocking on the nearest front door to ask which street I was in. In those day most street signs were high up as there was still a lot of horse and carts where I lived. I arrived home after about three hours I think is was. My pride and joy at the time was a new gabardine raincoat which started the day as an oatmael colour and finished like the rest of me totally black, covered in a sooty greasy black mess!
This event led to the "Cllean Air Act" in 1956 whereby it was illegal to burn ordinary coal on the fires, had to be smokeless fuel.
When they say those were the days, there weren't at all. The smog it was said killed at least 4,000 and made another 100,000 ill!