A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1925.

It's been remiss of me not to mention this sooner, but there's a superb Twitter feed if you like this sort of thing called "The BBC, 100 years ago today" which is charting the BBC's origins in a compelling fine grain detail with contemporary news articles and elements of the schedule.  Follow here.

Back in 1925, the transmitter at Daventry opens providing signals to a much wider area of the country.  It also, amazingly, sets the stage for the first experiments with stereo sound as a contemporary article from Wireless Weekly will explain.  The listing from that week's Radio Times is also worth a read.  

The lady above is Madame Luisa Tetrazzini, the Italian coloratura soprano.  There's a silent clip of her below, but the Internet Archive has a wax cylinder recording of her singing (as well as numerous 78s) and a copy of her memoir, also published in 1922, too early to mention this radio appearance.

Daventry Opens

Amateur Wireless: Daventry: Official Opening, July 27, 1925
Contemporary news article about the opening of the transmitter.
[World Radio History] 

"The visuals in this Topical Budget newsreel item certainly pack a punch. The futuristic valves inside Daventry's broadcast station, and its impressively tall masts outside, made the 5XX long-wave radio facility 'space age' for 1925. Located on Borough Hill on the outskirts of Daventry, it reached 94% of the population, and still has a single mast to transmit the BBC's DAB signal."

"From its inception in the days of 2LO during the 1920s until its final demise in 1992, Daventry Wireless Transmission Station and its well remembered host of aerial masts became much more than a Northampton landmark. The name itself was known world-wide to crystal set owners and wireless listeners."
[World Radio History]

"In the distance lofty "2LO". Shot of rooftops, building with two radio masts on top. Tilt down to show the two masts. Views of the transmitting room - engineers, changing valves, overhauling panels etc. On location, engineers wiring up special lines needed for the outside broadcast. Inside a London Cinema Theatre the curtains open and we see a large seated audience singing a song."

Behind The Scenes

Article about early experiments in stereo sound conducted through BBC Radio.  Two microphones were set up at a concert with each being sent to broadcast through a different LW radio station with the result that rudimentary stereo could be heard with the right equipment (two radios, basically).
[World Radio History][BBC Programme Index]

"Madame Tetrazzini Broadcasts - The golden voice of the prima donna carried by wireless waves from 2L0 to all the world."

"Illustration for 100 Years in Pictures with text by DC Somervell (Odhams, c 1950)."
[Look and Learn History Picture Archive]

Just including this because its amazing.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1924.

1924 brings a few more firsts, the first pips, the first drama written specifically for radio, the first broadcast from a monarch and the BBC's first fakery scandal, although the truth wouldn't be revealed for ninety odd years.  

Or was it?  I've included The Guardian story below, but the text under the episode of Private Passions which discusses the potential siffleur now includes a correction that the audio the zooilogical experts were working from was from a commercial release in 1927 not the original broadcast (which had been mislabelled in the BBC archive) and although there is testimony from the imitator Madame Saberon and her family, there's equally valid testimony from others, so no one really knows.

The Pips and Chimes

"The six-pip Time Signal was introduced on 5 February 1924 following the successful broadcast of the chimes of Big Ben to usher in the new year."
[Royal Museums Greenwich]

"One of the most familiar sounds on BBC services, Greenwich time signal pips turn 75 years old. Inventor Frank Hope-Jones explains them to the listeners."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

"On New Year's Eve, 1923, BBC engineer AG Dryland climbed onto a roof opposite the Houses of Parliament with a microphone to record the chimes of Big Ben."
[BBC Archive]


"This is the first broadcast made by a British monarch on radio. King George V opened the British Empire Exhibition on 23 April 1924. In his speech, broadcast by the BBC, he thanks all those who worked to deliver such a ‘magnificent result’, despite challenges such as the ‘unfavourable weather’."
[British Library][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

"Exclusive: bird impressionist was brought in for Beatrice Harrison’s historic performance, says broadcaster"
[The Guardian]

"Radio seems a natural medium for the play, or maybe it doesn’t. The first to be commissioned especially for the wireless in Britain was ‘A Comedy of Danger’, aired in January 1924. The playwright was 23 year old Richard Hughes: “I was asked by the BBC, in January of 1924, to write a play for effect by sound only, in the same way that film plays are written for effect by sight only”. The production was set in the darkness of a coalmine, where listeners and characters alike were at the same disadvantage. Both could ‘see’ nothing."
[audioboom][BBC Programme Index]

"Who would hear the story of a year's pioneering?  A rare enough thing these days, when all the grounds seems to have been gone over again and again, and all the walks of life seem to have been explored and exploited."
[World Radio History]