to nation marks BBC's 80th anniversary
BBC is celebrating its 80th anniversary by presenting its original
transmitter to the Science Museum as a special gift to the nation.
handover takes place after a special concert on Thursday (7 November
2002) featuring the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Symphony Hall
BBC, in conjunction with Crown Castle International (who are now
responsible for the BBC's terrestrial transmissions), will hand
over its first transmitter - the 2LO - to the Science Museum, so
that it can be fully restored and, in future, displayed for the
benefit of the nation.
transmitter was made by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company in
takes its name from the number of the Post Office broadcasting licence
issued to Marconi to operate an experimental radio station for London,
and it was the first transmitter to be used by the BBC - then the
British Broadcasting Company - when it was formed later the same
company grew quickly, and 2LO was overtaken by more powerful transmitters
survives today thanks to the efforts of BBC engineers who found
it in pieces in the basement of a transmitter station at Brookmans
Park in the 1950s.
was last exhibited in 1992 - the BBC's 70th anniversary year - when
it was part of The Greatest Show on Earth display at Broadcasting
has been in the care of Crown Castle International since 1997, when
the BBC's terrestrial transmitter network was sold off.
Chairman Gavyn Davies and Peter Abery, Chief Executive of Crown
Castle, will jointly present 2LO to the Science Museum.
will be received by Lord Puttnam, a trustee of the Science Museum.
Chairman Gavyn Davies said: "Future generations should be able
to share what is a fascinating piece of early 21st century technology.
also want them to understand its significance in the development
of our broadcasting system, which is held up as a model for the
world. So I can't think of a more appropriate home for 2LO."
John Griffiths, Senior Curator of Media Technologies at the Science
Museum, said: "The 2LO radio transmitter was there at the birth
of the BBC in 1922 - it is truly an icon of broadcasting history.
it has survived and the Science Museum is proud to acquire such
an important piece of our nation's heritage for the national collections.
will be restored by Science Museum experts with a view to put it
on display for future generations to marvel at."
was built by the Marconi wireless Telegraph Company in May 1922,
and in its time it was a marvel of engineering.
is huge, measuring some six metres in length, compared to the modern
equivalent, which is no larger than a suitcase.
in terms of its capability, it was tiny and it had a range of only
30 to 40 miles.
it reached a handful of crystal set hobbyists, but within a few
months it had proved that a regular radio service could drive radio
take-up, and by the time the British Broadcasting Company was formed
in November 1922, it had 30,000 listeners.
of the earliest broadcasts show just how much there was to learn
about the nature of broadcasting, as well as about the technology.
Post Office - the broadcasting authority at the time - was so nervous
about radio that no music was allowed, and it would not permit the
station to broadcast for more than seven minutes at a stretch.
would allow the authority to interject to correct any misinformation
that had been broadcast, or even to announce the closure of the
station in the event of a serious breach (No such intervention was
the first news bulletin from the British Broadcasting Company was
read twice - once at normal speed and then again more slowly, so
listeners could make notes.