LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: The police office helps the woman with the meter, 1958. / TopFoto / Retronaut

By Rebecca Drew


INCREDIBLE black and white photos show Londoners getting to grips with the country’s first ever parking meters after they were rolled out more than sixty-years ago.

The series of recently unearthed images show a woman looking baffled by the new meter as she parks up in the capital’s swanky Mayfair before she’s assisted by a friendly police officer who explains how to work the machine before she puts time on her car.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: A police officer offers advice on how to work the meter, 1958. / TopFoto / Retronaut

Other monochrome shots show the police officer assisting other meter-shy motorists as they park up and a traffic warden booking a vehicle that has overstayed in Grosvenor Square.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: A traffic warden books a vehicle that has out stayed its welcome in Grosvenor Square, 1958. / TopFoto / Retronaut

Britain’s first parking meter was installed in Grosvenor Square in summer 1958.

Back then, parking for one-hour cost six shillings and a fine for those who had overstayed or hadn’t paid was £2 whereas today fines can be up to £130.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: The woman digs deep for coins to pay for her parking, 1958. / TopFoto / Retronaut

The parking meter was invented by Carl C Magee from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, with the first being installed in his hometown in July 1935.

The first models of parking meter were clockwork and needed winding up with a key, self-winding meters were introduced in the 1970s but by the 1990s they were deemed unreliable and were replaced with electronic ones.


Today, many are solar-powered.