Recollections of BBC engineering from 1922 to 1997
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Designs Department - Memorabilia

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Many people who worked for Designs Department were presented with gifts when they left, especially if they had worked there for a long time.  Quite often these gifts were special items made by colleagues in the DD workshop.  This page of the web site provides an opportunity to show the gifts.  They were much appreciated at the time but usually end up in the loft!  If you have such a gift, or other memorabilia, then I would be pleased to show it here.

Click on a picture or link, then use the Browser's Back button to return.

Graham Roe

I was treated to a plaque and a handbook (for my new

 employer). A copy of the plaque is shown below together with a list of those responsible (at least those that owned up to it). The names there are the those that were always in the thick of the action!

Paul Treleaven

For my departure on 29th February 1980, I too received a leaving present in the same vein as Graham's - and created by many of the same culprits!

It was a kit that would enable me to cope with the difficult decisions that I would encounter in the dangerous commercial world, and the photo shows the main items.

The diecast box was a 'panic indicator' - it had an annoying rattle, and was Araldited shut, so I couldn't find out why. The bag of bones was a decision-making aid. The medal was based on the Jim'll-fix-it theme from the TV show. There was also a blindfold and a set of pins - an aid in project planning.

Oh, and a massive suit - for my new role in meeting important people - that someone had rescued from a jumble sale (or maybe a dustbin). I had to wear it to say my goodbyes around the department.


Memo from Eric Rout congratulating the Blue Streak UHF TV transposer team

This is a somewhat different type of memorabilia, but it was not every day that the Head of Designs department wrote such a memo!

Robin Caine

When I left the BBC it was in the depths of gloom and doom of Black Spot.  Many people were leaving and there was no time for gold-plated miniature AXBTs, so I got a valve, a rather large and opulent one, with the statement " Robin's Gotta Lotta Bottle" - in line with a contemporary TV ad.

It was provided by Geoff Morgan of Valve Stores, and came complete with data sheet, hailing it's purpose as a 405-line modulator triode, so it was definitely redundant itself!  It also stated that it needed 17 Amps to run the heater so it's not been pressed into service. One day I'll get the engraving done.....

 Martin Ellen

When I got married, I was given a steel tool box.  The picture below shows the inscription, which was composed by John Sykes.

Johnny Johnstone
Picture contributed by John Sykes.

This was presented to Johnny when he retired from Designs Department in 1985.

John Sykes remembers....
I scrounged the valve from someone in TCPD, who no doubt in turn went to someone in Tx Group.   We embellished the two anode top-caps with milled aluminium fins, made by Model shop, who also supplied the plaque. I built the plinth, which was made from solid Walnut, and housed an ali sub-chassis which in turn housed two 5V 10A toroidal transformers, fuse, mains connector etc.  The valve heater was energised with a switch, and it glowed very warmly I recall. I think Abdul might have assembled & wired the sub-chassis, and a company called Metralay supplied the very compact toroids.