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"Hello Radiolympia. This is direct television from the studios at Alexandra Palace!" *

THESE were the immortal words spoken to camera by Elizabeth Cowell and received at the big Radio show at Olympia, in West London. This was amongst similar test transmissions during August 1936, prior to the beginning of regular broadcasting just a couple of months later, on 2 November 1936.

Alexandra Palace was the birthplace of scheduled public, "high" definition television broadcasting in the UK and arguably, the world.

The American Modern Mechanix magazine of May 1935, described this as, England Will Broadcast First Chain Television Programs, to "Lookers".

BBC Studios A & B are the world's oldest surviving television studios.

YET in 2007, our People’s Palace was to be sold down the river by its very guardians – the Trustee – the London Borough of Haringey. The TV studios were to be destroyed with the connivance of the local council. Here is raw uncensored opinion and information about the scandal of the attempted fire-sale of our Charitable Trust’s asset, for property development. It includes letters sent to local papers, published & unpublished.

AFTER receiving a slap-down from the High Court (2007, October 5), two and a half years went by before the council finally abandoned its 15-year-old policy of "holistic" sale (i.e. lock stock and barrel). Then there was an attempt at partial sale ("up to two-thirds") to a music operator but without governance reform. To tart the place up for a developer, the council blithely sought about a million pounds towards this goal, a further sum of cash to be burnt.

THE local council has proved itself, to everyone's satisfaction, to have been a poor steward and guardian for over 20 years. Now, the master plan (below) developed under the new CEO Duncan Wilson OBE deserves to succeed.

It would be also be a big step forward to have a Trust Board at least partly independent of Haringey Council. 'Outside' experts would be an advantage. They'd likely be more interested, committed, of integrity and offer greater continuity. Bringing independent members onto the board and freeing it from political control would be the best assurance of success, sooner.


• Alexandra Palace declared a no-pride zone

HARINGEY Council has declared Alexandra Palace to be a no-pride zone, extending to the boundaries of AP park. The zone is to be enforced against council staff who exhibit pride in the Palace’s history.

The Council agreed contracts for the fire-sale of the Palace to Firoka and these documents provide for the vanishing of the world’s original television studios.

The signal radiating 25 miles from the world’s first television mast is the basis for the stylized ‘lightning flash’. For 40 years it has been the theme for the Council’s corporate identity. Once, there was pride in this achievement. The symbol is still there, even on the Borough Coat-of-Arms.

Nine weeks after the deal was quashed by a judge, in December the Council served notice of eviction on their “preferred development partner”.

Even though Firoka failed to respond to the ultimatum to commit by 28 December 2007, Haringey are now begging Firoka to return. Not content that the Trustees agreed contracts allowing the destruction of BBC Studios A and B, our council are now imploring Firoka to return and destroy the potential UN World Heritage site.

A palace spokesman said: "A formal pledge has not been given and, based on Firoka's lack of correspondence, we cannot say whether it is still interested in the project or not … The board previously stated it is still a willing participant if Firoka is keen, and that statement still stands."

The “lack of correspondence” isn’t because Mr. Kassam didn’t put enough stamps on the envelope. The ultimatum expired some time ago and the continued pleading shows self-respect has evaporated. It’s undignified for a London Borough to prostrate themselves like this.
Historian Jacob O’Callaghan tried repeatedly to restore pride in the AP-zone but was shot at repeatedly. Enforcement is now formalized: the council’s no-pride memo lists phrases banned from use by council staff:

“Birthplace of Television”

“Most important building in the Borough”

“The Bletchley Park of London”

“Potential UN World Heritage site”

References to AP being the site of one of Britain’s greatest achievements of the last century and “leading the world” are banned. The Chairman of the Board has led the way by punctiliously avoiding the worst offending phrase “World’s first television studios”.

Transgressions of the new code will be brought to the attention of the Re-education Team, comprising Councillor-trustees Egan and Peacock. Repeat offenders will be whipped by the Chairman.