Recollections of BBC engineering from 1922 to 1997
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Various installations

By Tony Smith

(Click the pictures to enlarge them)

Bilsdale Cylinder Mast.
Taken during the installation of some electrical cables up to the top. October 1976.
These pictures are of Bilsdale in one of its better moods.


Crystal Palace Tower (above and next five pictures below)
These were taken over a period of time when the Tower was rigged for a number of installations between July to October 1979.
This is the view you get as you climb into the man carrying cage on the ground. It always reminds you of a really urgent job that needs doing elsewhere right now.

These were taken during that peaceful ride up to the work place up top and show how much London has changed.

As you passed by Geof Platts antennas all T.C.P.D. staff in the cage were required to face the tower and salute.

When you are on your leaning belt outside of the Tower and look down it always reminds one Not To Drop any spanners!!!

Clun UHF. Taken during the UHF installation at Clun. November 1979.
The Clun UHF relay station is located up a forestry track and fairly high up. While we were working on the UHF antenna system a thick fog developed and blotted out the surrounding countryside completely. During the fog we began to hear the most awfully loud croaking sounds coming out of the woodland beneath which then circled the tower before moving off down the valley. Just then as I was leaning over the platform handrail to try to see what was going on down in the woods the sun came out and I reacted quickly with the camera to the photographic Spectre thing.
Later that night down in the local pub we were sat around by the fire supping our pints when that awful croaking sound blasted out right behind us. We all leapt up in shock where as the locals did not bat an eyelid. Then the barman pointed down the bar and said "don't worry it's only old Don and as he is both deaf and dumb that's his way of ordering his pint!!"


This is the shadow Mendip casts at midday on the summer solstice. But allowing for the extra hour we add on for our summer time it means it's got another hour to go before it points due North. As I had the ten past twelve lift to catch back down to the ground I could not wait.


Holme Moss and the "Warm Glow Café"
Taken during the installation of mast lighting cables and fittings up through the VHF cylinder June/July 1980.
This is looking down the mast from the dropping off point of the cage.

These show that the only way to get up to the `Warm Glow' was by first working your way up through the VHF Cylinder antenna as this Gentleman is by either cleating in cables or in his case firing M8 studs into the mast leg (with A.C.E.D.`s permission) with a Hilti Gun.

These show that the small room at the top of the VHF cylinder (the "Warm Glow Café") soon fills up with customers and if you are not quick enough all of the supplies are soon consumed as shown by Tim Sullivan and Ian Clark. It did not have curtains at the portholes and the toilets left a lot to be desired but it did give shelter during sudden turns for the worst in the weather.
If you did happen to get wet and the weather had improved then you could get the Café owner to open the top hatch and let you out onto the promenade deck. Normally before you were let up there though the Café owner would pop up with his "Rare Fly Detector" and check to see if the engineers on the ground had been throwing to much coal in the Broadcast boilers.


Here Ian Clark is trying to drag Tim Sullivan up through the top hatch.

If the weather was fine up on the promenade deck then you could expect some wonderful views across the countryside but the waiter was unlikely to bring you up a gin and tonic.


Once you have got a nice healthy tan up on the top deck you can travel down in stile and maybe spot another on those photographic spectre things around the cage and the last picture shows the sort of spectre it could be.

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