Caption for top photo

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 It includes letters sent to local papers, published & unpublished.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


1938 colour film of an Outside Broadcast - alongside the Alexandra Palace studios

AN OUTSIDE broadcast – right outside the Studios in fact – is a demonstration of an anti-aircraft gun battery. This is in 1938, nearly 18 months after the television service had begun and nearly 18 months before the declaration of war. Leslie Mitchell is there partly to describe "television at work". Note the cameras, the big lights, the microphone boom and the thick cables on the ground – all doubtless brought down from the Studios above ...

Click above for video stream. It's posted on YouTube [here: 1938 Outside Broadcast of Anti-aircraft display (colour film)] by the Alexandra Palace Television Society, with the following notes:

Major television outside broadcast showing viewers the workings of an anti-aircraft battery and the defence of London in the advent of war.
The original film footage was silent but a sound recording of the actual television programme has been included in certain sections. The presenter of the programme was Leslie Mitchell (the senior male announcer).
Transmission: 18th Apr 1938, 3.30 – 4 pm & 9.30 – 10 pm
This film footage is from the Desmond Campbell Archive Collection held and administered by the Alexandra Palace Television Society.

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