Tag: BBC National Programme

Oxford Street to Brookmans Park

Oxford Street to Brookmans Park



THE FIRST BBC transmitter was installed in Marconi House, London (1) and was the first of a number of 1-kW transmitters each located near the centre of the town it served. Soon more spacious accommodation was required, and as engineering advances had made it possible to separate the transmitters from the studios, in 1923 the head office and London studios moved to Savoy Hill and in 1925 a 2-kW transmitter was installed on the roof of a shop in Oxford Street (4). This and similar transmitters in larger towns, such as Bournemouth (3), radiated local programmes on medium waves and a big advance was the introduction in 1925 of an additional ‘National’ programme, broadcast by a 25-kW long-wave transmitter at Daventry. The next main development came in 1929 with the opening of Brookman’s Park, the first of the high-power, twin-wave ‘Regional’ stations. These each contained two separate 50-kW transmitters, one for the Regional, the other for the common National programme. These transmitters were of much improved design and were housed in glass-fronted cabinets. Increasing interference from European stations and electrical equipment made it necessary to augment the service in parts of the country. In 1934 a long-wave transmitter of the then unprecedented power of 150-kW at Droitwich took over the broadcasting of the National programme, and additional medium-wave transmitters reinforced the Regional service. Burghead, N. Scotland (2), is typical of these modem broadcasting transmitters, entirely enclosed, remotely controlled and capable of radiating 120-kW.

Series-loaded mast-radiators, which give results comparable to those of higher simple masts, were provided at Start Point in 1937 and Brookmans Park (below) in 1946.

A very tall transmitter

The regions are active

The regions are active

REGIONAL broadcasting which has returned since the war with great vigour and vitality, is as old as the BBC.

In the early days local stations were needed not only because transmitters had a limited range, but because there were different traditions and cultures to be expressed regionally. Over twenty years ago, for instance, a station like Manchester was doing as many as thirty hours of its own programmes each week. The next stage came in the early ’thirties, when twin-wave transmitters enabled each part of the United Kingdom to enjoy its own, or the National Programme.



WHEN, in September, 1939, the exigencies of war took from the Regions their own programmes, their identities had become strongly marked. The re-establishment of regional services after the war was generally popular. Since then the songs, plays and talks in the Welsh language, the farming and rural life broadcasts in the West, the free discussions in the Midlands, the humour of Gracie Fields and Wilfred Pickles in the North, the native drama of Ulster, and the national repertoire of Scottish music and poetry have once again flourished on their native soil.


The BBC’s visitors




Headshots of 5 men

ABOVE: (left to right), Col. Moses from Australia, Prof. Shelley from New Zealand, Howard B. Chase from Canada, Major Caprara from S. Africa, Prof. Bokhari from India


AMONG the many and welcome visitors to the BBC and its studios after the war, some of whom are shown on these pages, two groups may be selected as significant of the BBC’s place as a world institution. In February 1945 the heads of the broadcasting organizations of the four Dominions and All India Radio (as it then was) met at the BBC to consult with each other how to continue their co-operation and develop it. Later in the year representatives of the Dutch people, led by a schoolmaster, brought to London a bronze tablet, showing a kneeling man with his shackled arms above his head listening to the voice of freedom from the west, and this was unveiled in the Council Chamber of Broadcasting House.


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