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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 It includes letters sent to local papers, published & unpublished.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.


The Transmitter Hall

ON 2nd November 2011, a small party was held to mark the exact afternoon of the 75th anniversary of the birth of television at Alexandra Palace. Before a cake was cut in Studio A upstairs, celebrations began in a room downstairs.

In recent years, that large, ground-floor room has been referred to as the ‘old boxing club’. It would have been big enough to accommodate a boxing ring to which the description refers.

But in that room, 75 years ago, something more constructive and important than men punching each other, happened …

For that room would have been humming with the sound of electronics. Because that was where the Marconi transmitter was housed. The transmitter had the job of encoding (or modulating) the signal, from the studio above, onto a sine wave (carrier). From there, it was sent upwards to the high antenna (mast) above – still there, still used – and broadcast (or radiated) as radio waves.

The Palace authorities have recently agreed that this room shall, once again, be known as The Transmitter Hall. A small amount of progress, but progress nonetheless.

The Alexandra Palace Trust Board occasionally meets there; one Councillor-Board member said she prefers that room to the grandiose Londesborough Room; it seems possible that in future, all Board meetings will be in The Transmitter Hall.