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Recollections of BBC engineering from 1922 to 1997
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BBC Transmission

Return to Transmitter Projects or Transmitter Operations


In 1987 the Transmission Engineering and Transmission Operations departments merged to become "BBC Transmission" and a new headquarters building was established at Warwick.  In the run up to this, Transmission Engineering Department (TED) had been formed from Transmitter Capital Projects Department and the Projects part of Communications Department.  Also Transmission Operations Department (TOD) had been formed from Transmitter Operations and the Operations part of Communications Department (although the latter subsequently moved to another part of the BBC).

These papers shed light on some of the difficulties that needed to be overcome when planning the amalgamation of Operations and Engineering.

This letter to the Union (B.E.C.T.U.) shows the staffing aspects of the amalgamation.

This 1988 article in Ariel (staff newspaper) is one of the first references to the possibility of BBC Transmission being privatised.  The privatisation took place in 1997.

At the start of the move to Warwick, some BBC Transmission staff moved to temporary offices that had been vacated by Automotive Products (AP) in Leamington Spa.

This is a picture of the BBC Transmission staff who were present at "AP" on the first day of the move from London and Brookmans Park.
Back row: Paul Abernethy, Maurice Miller, Celeste Jones, ? (site sharing secretary), Dave Parsons, Dawn ? (Reception Desk), Chris Abbott, Jane Culley, Nicola Duckett, Steve Conway, Bob Bates, Kim Hannington (Drawing Office).
Front row: Chris Gill, Warwick Bentley, Alan Rees, Bert Gallon, David Sandbrook, Peter Condron, Peter Mensforth.
(I, Martin Ellen, transferred at the start of the move, but I was hard at work in London when the picture was taken:-)

During the first year, while at AP, our new headquarters was being built at Warwick Technology Park:

wtp-topping-out-invitation-1989.pdf

This BBC Transmission Profile was written in 1995 and it provides a fairly thorough description.

Transmission-performance-review-1995.pdf

toc-announcement-1995.PDF

More information about the creation of BBC Transmission and the move to Warwick will be added in due course.  Contributions are welcome.

BBC Transmission brochures: gold, silver, blue and black.


"BBC Transmission - Aiming at the Future"  -  The Movie!

In 1988 the possibility of privatisation emerged as indicated in this cutting from Ariel, the BBC Staff newspaper, dated 9 November 1988:

In this context, it was decided that a video should be made to help people appreciate the scale and diversity of activities carried out by BBC Transmission.  The budget was tight and the video needed to be produced by people with a good appreciation of broadcast engineering.  Fortunately two BBC Transmission engineers based at Lerwick had the necessary professional experience, expertise and equipment, so they were commissioned to make the video.  John Waters and Andy Long visited representative sites around the UK and the result, with narration by John Fergusson, can be seen below.

Please wait for two embedded You Tube videos to load in the space below.
You might need to click near the top of the page to make your browser allow blocked content.
Alternatively click here to go to the You Tube web site.
Part 1 Part 2

The video was made in 1990 and as a result of privatisation in 1997 the copyright was transferred.
It is now owned by: VT Communications and National Grid Wireless.
Their permission for publication on www.bbceng.info in 2007 is gratefully acknowledged.

The book "On Air - A History of BBC Transmission" provides more information on the period up to 1997.  One day, perhaps someone will write about the privatisation and beyond.

BBC Transmission held an Annual Conference each spring at Wood Norton.  Here is the programme for 1990.