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Holme Moss Open Day - 24 June 1961

The first television transmitter for the North of England was built at Home Moss and it opened on 12 October 1951.  Over the next ten years a large proportion of the 13 million people in its service area started to enjoy watching television for the first time, and nearly 8000 of them were so fascinated by the new technology that they visited the transmitting station during its open day on 24 June 1961. 

The event was captured on film and it is now available for viewing on this web site.  You will see that this is not a professional BBC production, but it gives a good flavour of the day. 

I do not know who produced the film.  If you know then please tell me so that I can give due credit on this web site.
Click here to see relevant information from John Ames.

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Judging by the technical quality, I expect that it was shot on Standard 8 cine film using a hand held camera.  At some point it was transferred to video and I received it on a VHS cassette*, complete with commentary.  The cassette starts with a higher quality monochrome film of people looking at the television transmitter itself and this was probably produced by the BBC TV News cameraman who is mentioned in the commentary.

I edited the film for this web site in order to:-

  1. Incorporate monochrome scenes of people looking at the transmitter.
  2. Synchronise the commentary with the scenes.  (It is a good commentary, but in those days it was very difficult to edit pictures and sound without professional equipment. This probably explains why the commentary was out of synchronisation.)
  3. Remove brightness fluctuations following scene changes (possibly caused by the camera exposure meter or film splicing).
  4. Remove dark areas around the edge of the picture.  (By cropping the picture.)
  5. Improve colour balance and brightness.

Despite this, the technical quality is poor.  Also, some of the scenes are a bit meaningless but I have retained them to go with the sound track, which is virtually unedited.

The North of England is renowned for its brass bands, so perhaps this explains the choice of background music.  The commentary, by someone with a good 'northern' accent, is quite amusing and it captures the mood of the day very well.
I hope you enjoy it.


* Thanks are due to Mike Salmon who sent me the VHS tape in about 1995 when he was responsible for Holme Moss and many other transmitter sites in the North of England.

Information related to the film from John Ames

I think that the voice over is Joe Eastwood, but, like the film, my memory is fading fast!  Others that I can identify, with approximate timing of their appearance, are:


Soon after the start - Joe Eastwood (A.E.i.C.) closely followed by Donald Hinchliffe (E.i.C.) leaving the main entrance.


At about 1 min 18, Peter Pearson and Tommy Skelton were handling one of the traffic light units.  Peter and Tommy were T.A.s at this time.


At about 1m 30, Will Harper (Station Electrician, as he was called in those days), in the white boiler suit, is 'adjusting' the traffic lights control trailer.


Next recognised was one of the S.M.E.s but the nearest I can get to a name is E. Thomas.  I cannot recall a forename for him.  He first appears measuring the toilet hut, and later pointing at part of the Marconi FM Drives - the 'Station Monitor' I think.  My memory suggests that he was never without that pipe!


At about 1min 58, Frank Orme - a fellow T.A. at the time - walks across the forecourt away from the building.  Frank and I joined the BBC at the same time, and were both first posted to Holme Moss.  We both knew each other's staff number, they were only 6 apart!  Our careers joined paths several times, and we kept in informal contact throughout our time in the firm.


I cannot confirm that it was me at the Control Desk, but it is possible.


Finally, close to the end Will Harper was shown climbing the first few feet of the mast in his tweed jacket.

Note: no climbing belt or other protective clothing, and he certainly would not have worked in that jacket.  He always wore a white boiler suit when working; it was more than a T.A.'s life was worth to borrow one of those!


There are a few other staff that I cannot recognise now, but as I left Holme Moss in the autumn of 1961, it is not too surprising.  Although I returned about 11 years later, many of the staff of the earlier days were no longer there.  If Frank sees this, he may be able to help as he spent much more of his career at the Moss.


Regrettably, I can't offer any clue about the film maker, but either Peter Pearson or Joe Eastwood could have been involved.  As they both appear, it may indicate a joint effort.  For me, it will remain a mystery.