Friday, 28 July 2017

Droitwich calling

We looked round the small museum in Droitwich this morning. I found the salt aspect of this disappointing - the Lion Salt Works museum on the Trent and Mersey Canal, with its large scale reconstruction of a working salt works, is much better.

But what Droitwich is really famous for - for me, anyway - is the BBC transmitting station which for many years radiated on 1500m long wave. (These days it's actually 1515m as the frequency was changed to 198kHz so that all AM broadcast transmissions were on frequencies a whole multiple of 9kHz (this happened in 1978, I believe)).

Down a corridor by the salty exhibits (mostly skulls and skeletons, by the way) is the more interesting part of the museum. An area dedicated to the old days of the BBC, when the BBC ran its own transmitters, studios and production. This being Droitwich, the exhibits were mainly connected with the transmitting station. On the left below is an early version of the main control desk.

There's an assortment of other paraphernalia, including an AXBT microphone (remember the tiller pin on Savoy Hill?)

This is an interesting former incarnation of the BBC logo. It looks like it's on a flower planter.

And here's some outside broadcast kit, the OBA 8 (outside broadcast amplifier 8). It's essentially a mixing desk for microphone inputs and was used inter alia to get regional stations set up as the second world war threatened.

All this equipment was obsolete by the time I joined the Corporation as an engineer in 1980 - but I do remember we had a Ferrograph tape deck in the videotape area. Not as old as this, probably.

Well, that's enough of that. We left Netherwich Basin at 1300 and continued down the Droitwich Barge Canal. This was bordered by vast reed banks for much of the way to the Severn, but a handful of locks added interest. Once on the Severn we passed through Bevere Lock and made our way downstream to Worcester, where we ascended the two locks into Diglis Basin and tied up on the canal just before the facilities. Photos tomorrow.

1 comment:

Mike Todd said...

It can be a bit disconcerting to see in a museum display, items of equipment that one once used when first employed!