Backwards spelling of 'SLOW' on road confuses locals

The warning in south London left people scratching their heads.

The word 'SLOW' spelled backwards on a street in Penge, south London. (Kim Cooper-Grindley/SWNS)
The word 'SLOW' spelled backward on a street in Penge, south London. (SWNS)

Locals have been left bemused after council workers painted the word 'SLOW' backwards on a road.

The warning was laid down in Penge, south London, on Monday and immediately left people scratching their heads. Kim Cooper-Grindley was amused to see it and theorised it may have been meant for car mirrors.

However, she said: "Why would you need to go slow looking in your rearview mirror, you've already passed? It happened on Monday 15th January at approximately 11.30am. But they have not returned."

Users on an online neighbourhood Facebook group also needed clarification as they discussed whether it was a mistake or not. Comments suggested whether it was "for testing your eyesight?" or "testing if you can read back to front."

Cooper-Grindley added: "Our concern is that there will be hoards of people visiting to see the famous WOLS, it will become a Penge tourist attraction like Barnard castle." Yahoo News UK has contacted Bromley Council for comment.

Commenters asked whether it was
Commenters asked whether it was "for testing your eyesight?". (SWNS)

It follows an incident in September 2022 when Brighton road marking painters spelled the word school wrong. Contractors had daubed 'SHCOOL' outside Portslade Aldridge Community Academy on Chalky Road instead.

They quickly realised their mistake, but not before locals managed to snap some pictures and post cheeky comments online. Robert Tee wrote: "Hopefully the person who wrote the sign did not graduate from there as that would be so embarrassing as he needs to attend some evening classes. Think he should get an F grade and some extra homework."

Rosie Smith added: "The person who writes on the road needs to learn to spell." The road was resurfaced before the school started back.

Meanwhile, in July, bungling roadworkers had to correct a give-way sign they had originally painted upside down. The Greater Cambridge Partnership, which is overseeing work along Milton Road, apologised and repainted it the right way round. But it was put too close to the dashed lines and had to be repainted for a third time, much to the amusement of residents.

'SCHOOL' was spelt wrong outside Brighton's Portslade Aldridge Community Academy. (SWNS)
'SCHOOL' was spelt wrong outside Brighton's Portslade Aldridge Community Academy. (SWNS)
A road marking didn't quite go to plan in Cambridge. (SWNS)
A road marking didn't quite go to plan in Cambridge. (SWNS)

Council funding

Communities secretary Michael Gove is set to announce a 6.5% increase in funding for councils in England, according to reports, amid growing fears about the number of local authorities facing effective bankruptcy. The Financial Times said Gove would provide increased government assistance for English local councils, with a provisional package for 2024/25 worth around £64 billion.

Council leaders across the country are grappling with major shortfalls in their finances, with Birmingham City Council and Nottingham City Council among those declaring themselves essentially bankrupt in recent months. The spate of crises facing local authorities has prompted concern about the provision of public services for communities, with the new funding perhaps unlikely to address all the pressures.

Metro mayors from West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere have called on Mr Gove to provide extra finances for struggling councils. Budgets came under pressure in the years of Conservative-imposed austerity after the financial crash, with the pandemic and inflation compounding the woes facing councils.