NO SENSIBLE person would deny that pollution, in whatever form, must be controlled, and steps taken as soon as possible to ensure this.

However, I do think, in this country at least, that the quality of air must be better than before the Clean Air Act of 1956.

For those, like myself, living in the London area at that time, the description of a winter ‘pea-souper’ was no exaggeration.

Outside, it really was impossible to see one’s own hands or feet.

The streets would have made a good setting for a Sherlock Holmes film or a Murder in the Library using a candlestick.

I can remember literally feeling my way home from school on more than one occasion, relying on hedges or walls to guide my steps, for one could become hopelessly disorientated and lose all sense of direction, especially while crossing a road, when it became necessary to listen for traffic.

Sometimes, there was the eerie sensation of passing another unseen pedestrian, for sound was muffled and the senses played tricks.

The misery continued at home, as the yellow miasma crept indoors to hang around the lights and make everything clammy.

A house enveloped in fog feels claustrophobic and the state of our handkerchiefs showed how foul was the air we were forced to breathe.

The terrible smog of 1952, when thousands became ill and even cattle died, brought about the Act of 1956, and the quality of air improved considerably.

I hope it continues to improve, our children and grandchildren breathe freely and the word ‘smog’ is a description of something that occurred long



Ringstead Crescent,

Overcombe, Weymouth