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Recollections of BBC engineering from 1922 to 1997
The British Broadcasting Corporation
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Specific Transmitter Sites

Home Up

Mike Brown's excellent web site www.mb21.co.uk includes a great deal of information on UK Terrestrial Radio & TV Transmitters and it includes a Mast Gallery.

Click here to see an interactive map of UK Medium Wave Transmitters. This useful site was created by Mark Hattam.

Click here to see some very good photographs of Rampisham, Droitwich, Daventry, Kirk O'Shotts, Skelton and the Engineering Training Centre at Evesham.  The pictures are on the Flickr site established by Russell Barnes.

Transmitters in specific areas: South East, MF in South East.

Some BBC transmitter sites are of particular interest and further links are given below.

2LO (The BBC's first transmitter)

Vintage BBC Transmitters - 2LO and AP

The Emergence of Broadcasting in Britain

2LO circuit: full, mono.

Alexandra Palace (The BBC's first television transmitter)

The Story of BBC Television - Audio and Video.
A film on the BBC web site about the building of Alexandra Palace.

The story of the birth of television at Alexandra Palace

AP history, with some good recent pictures

Alexandra Palace Television Society
A Society to preserve, for present and future generations, the oral and written history of the pioneers who inaugurated the world's first, regular, public high-definition television service from Alexandra Palace, North London, in 1936. 

Alexandra Palace - Direct Television
Personal experiences of the early days of BBC Television from Alexandra Palace between 1952 and 1963.  In addition there are some experiences of Lime Grove and Riverside Studios in the mid-1950s. (A note about the regeneration of this website can be seen here.)

Vintage BBC Transmitters - 2LO and AP

Prospero article in 2011 about the launch of TV.

Prospero article in 2006 about AP.

Ascension

Memories of Ascension - Phil Brooks and more Ascension pictures - David Dunmall

 

Athlone

Athlone transmitting station (not BBC)
Pictures of early Marconi and Brown-Boveri transmitters that are still in their original RTE (Radio Telefis Eireann) building. All of the BBC transmitters of this vintage were scrapped and so this web site provides an interesting view of an equivalent installation.

Brookmans Park

"Provisional Instructions - The London Regional Broadcast Transmitter" 1929.
"General Construction and Layout of Transmitter".
Blueprints of the London Regional Station.
(Contributed by Rod Viveash via John Liffen.)

"Useful data" about the 1929 transmitter system. Since it shows “T1” (one of the old Marconi regional tx’s) as being in use for the “Light Programme”, it must be from the 1950’s or early 60’s, before the installation of the new 50kW Marconi tx for the Light Prog / Radio One.

Brookmans Park - Pictures and Memories - Peter Gutteridge

Marconi B6034 MF Transmitters final shut-down at Brookmans Park Transmitting Station. (Link to a YouTube video)

Brookmans Park.
The London Twin-Wave Broadcasting Station,
 A Descriptive BBC Souvenir 1930.

A History of Brookmans Park Transmitting Station
By Lilian Caras 1982 (revised January 2002)

A Brief History of Brookmans Park, with references up to 1992.

British Architecture Since the 1920s. A Building Study. Brookmans Park Transmitting Station, Hertfordshire. By Lilian Caras.

Hand written building steelwork calculations 1939 for Brookmans Park: A, B C, D.

Caribbean Relay Company

This site used to be operated by BBC Transmission.
Here is a link to a video that was taken before the station's HF operations ceased in 2005.

 

Crystal Palace

The Phoenix Tower. A 1957 film about building the BBC Crystal Palace tower. (Youtube video in three parts.)

Pictures and descriptions of analogue television transmitting equipment at Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace history and significant dates up to 1991.

Daventry

Daventry Calling the World

Starting with the BBC in 1941 - Reminiscences about Daventry - Don Bowman

Daventry-Index
Click on Photo Tour to see an interesting history of Daventry transmitting station, with pictures.

5XX Transmitter Valves Return to Daventry - Rod Viveash

Miscellaneous pictures of technical facilities that were at Daventry

Hand written building steelwork calculations: A, B, C, D, E.

Article in Daventry Express newspaper about the closure of Daventry HF Tx station in 1991.

Divis
Two videos: Television arrives in Northern Ireland (1954) and antenna replacement (1992).

Dover

Dover history.

Droitwich

Droitwich Calling - The Story of Droitwich Transmitting Station

Film of Droitwich transmitting station being constructed in 1934.

Local newspaper article about the Droitwich exhibition set up by John Phillips.

The Droitwich Transmitting Station.  A 1934 BBC booklet scanned and contributed to bbceng by Tony Smith.

Hand written calculations from 1934 for the engine bed at Droitwich.

Emley Moor (ITA site)

Collapse of ITA Emley Moor mast on 19 March 1969 - James F Middlemiss

Galdenoch

A short history of Galdenoch Radio Station Lochnaw - Peter Linzey

Holme Moss

Home Moss Open day - film

hm-recollect-prospero-2011.PDF

Kirk O'Shotts

An article in the Scotsman about the first TV show that was broadcast in Scotland (14th March 1952), including a picture taken in the Kirk O'Shotts television control room.

Lisnagarvey

Lisnagarvey and the Blaw-Knox mast - Aubrey McKibben

Masirah (BERS - British Eastern Relay Station)

A video illustrating the transmitting station and its environment - Russell W. Barnes (Link to a YouTube video)

More pictures on Facebook - David Platter

Orfordness

Tribute to BBC 648 kHz Orfordness - The Enthusiast's Version by Jonathan Marks.

O.S.E 5 Ottringham

(O.S.E. = Overseas Extension)

Hand written feeder line suspension calculations 1947

Rampisham

Resplendent Rampisham
Report of a visit to this HF transmitting station.
Short Wave Magazine. January 2004.

Wonderful Woofferton - 60 Years Old
Report of a visit to this HF transmitting station.
Short Wave Magazine. September 2003.

Rowridge

Picture of staff and ex-staff at 40th Anniversary of Rowridge Start of Transmission. Picture contributed by Mark Ashworth.

Skelton

An article published in the Cumberland & Westmoreland Herald on 3rd May 2013: 70 years of Skelton, once the voice of freedom in a world of turmoil …

Skelton Transmitting Station 1942 to 1998 - Over half a century of short wave broadcasting - G.P. Lowery

A video made by Russell Barnes during an evening shift at Skelton 'A' in 1995. The place has now changed completely. (Link to a YouTube video)

A video made by Russell Barnes of the CO2 being discharged in Sender 61, prior to stripping out. Russell writes that "This was the second S61: an ex-Daventry 'cast-off' BD272. The first was a Marconi SWB18 (original war-time set) and the one we have currently is a RIZ DRM / analogue transmitter. We still have a Sender 61!"

South East

se-tx-history.pdf

South West

MF-in south-west.pdf

Start Point

Start Point's special role following D Day - Stuart Frost

Sudbury

Brief Sudbury history.

Sutton Coldfield

Tales from  Cold Field by Ray Cooper
An excellent feature on the MB21 web site about this important transmitting station.

Wireless World article about the opening of Sutton Coldfield in January 1950.

Swingate

Swingate history.

Norman Marsden has pointed out an error in the above document, and added some interesting information.  He writes: "“TV programme feeds to Swingate... started with direct reception of Crystal Palace” - this is not strictly true as reception of Crystal Palace (Band 1) at Swingate was sub-standard and only used as a reserve. The main feed was from the Post Office Radio Station at Tolsford Hill near Folkestone where Crystal Palace was received off air on a RC4/501 receiver and the video and sound fed by co-ax cable and land line to Swingate. EiC Dover was responsible for maintaining the receiver and associated amplifiers, the lines were provided by the Post Office.

Interestingly the above receiving equipment at Tolsford Hill was in a room leased by the BBC for the Eurovision link and it contained three early optical standards converters which were basically a Marconi TV camera pointing at a high quality picture monitor enabling the 405 line UK standard to be sent across to Europe in 625 or 819 line format with a similar setup to convert the incoming 625/819 line picture from Europe to 405 line UK standard - state of the art in 1963!"

Tebrau

Picture of BBC gathering on 8th January 2014.

Article about BBC gathering on 8th January 2014.

Picture of Tebrau staff in 1970.

Wenvoe
Video of the open day in 1965.

Picture of engineers involved in the re-engineering of Wenvoe. (Who gave me this picture!?)
 

Westerglen

Here are some links to a series of aerial photographs of Westerglen in 1942: a, b, c.

Hand written calculations and memos from 1947 regarding Washford and Westerglen.

Woofferton

A Guide to powering RCA 50 S/W senders at OSE10.

Woofferton UK - an excellent set of videos on YouTube in which David Porter provides guided tours of the transmitting station..

Fifty years of transmitting at BBC Woofferton - Jeff Cant. (75 page, 7MB PDF file)

Life at Woofferton 1961 - 1995 - Eileen Briggs

Woofferton: Ancient and Modern - Richard Buckby

A visit to Woofferton -  Two articles resulting from a visit arranged and hosted by David Porter:

Wonderful Woofferton - Celebrating 60 years on air in October 2003, this article from Short Wave Magazine (now Radio User) provides a good description and includes many interesting pictures. See also: Diamond Jubilee below.

Diamond Jubilee - This article from Practical Wireless magazine is based on a visit by the editor Rob Mannion together with Kevin Nice the editor of SWM (see above).  The two articles inevitably have much in common, but Diamond Jubilee has more on the history of the station, whereas Wonderful Woofferton has more on the technology.  Permission to reproduce the articles in BBCeng is gratefully acknowledged.

Stormy Weather! - Phil Brooks

Woofferton control system 1980.

Writtle (forerunner of BBC transmitters)

 

2MT Writtle: the birth of British broadcasting.

A good book describing events leading up to the start of the BBC, with particular emphasis on transmitters and characters such as P.P.Eckersley. author: WANDER T R   publisher: Capella  year: 1988   isbn: 0-946443-10-6

Two Emma Toch - Writtle
A play made for hospital radio which depicts some of the events leading up to the formation of the BBC.  The main character is Peter Eckersley who later became the BBC's first Chief Engineer.  This very entertaining play recreates the atmosphere in the famous hut where broadcasting pioneers built up an enthusiastic audience during 1922.  Written by Tim Wander and Dennis Rookard, the play is based on the book "2MT Writtle: The Birth of British broadcasting" (see details above). 

Wrotham

Wrotham aerial system 1951 and Wrotham history up to 1989.