Kingswood Warren opens its doors to the public
Kingswood Warren, the 19th century Surrey estate that now
houses the BBC's world-renowned Research & Development Department
(R&D), will again open its doors to members of the public on 11 and
12 September as part of a national weekend of Heritage Open Days, organised
by the Civic Trust and English Heritage.
Visitors will not only be able to look round the impressive
reception rooms and the beautiful grounds, but will also be able to
experience some of the technical broadcasting wizardry of the BBC making
the impossible appear to happen before their eyes.
They can transport themselves through a secret door
into a virtual world, and for a small
charge take away a videotape recording their exploits.
There will also be exhibitions on the achievements of
BBC R&D and on the history of the Kingswood Warren estate.
Organised by the Civic Trust and English Heritage, Heritage
Days open up the doors of buildings of historical or architectural interest
that are normally closed to the public.
Andrew Oliphant, Head of Transmission Group at BBC Research
& Development, said: "We look forward to welcoming the public
to Kingswood Warren on Heritage Open Days.
"Our visitors will see not only a building that
has played its part in local history, but also how R&D helps the
BBC deliver quality and value for money to the licence payers, our viewers
Kingswood Warren can be found off the southbound carriageway
of the A217, just south of the Tadworth roundabout.
Parking is available in the grounds. Drinks and light
refreshments will be on sale.
The grounds of Kingswood Warren and the ground floor
reception rooms of the old estate will be open between 10.00am and 4.00pm
on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September. Entrance is free.
Notes to Editors
A nominal charge of £1 will
be made to cover the cost of the videotape.
About Heritage Open Days
Heritage Open Days is a national event, part of European Heritage Days,
taking place across 48 countries. Heritage Open Days take place all
across England, except London.
Similar events are organised in London, Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland in September.
Up to 2,500 buildings across England will open to the public free of
charge for this year's Heritage Open Days, from 10 to 13 September 2004.
Historic listed buildings will open alongside contemporary developments,
with properties ranging from private housing, castles, museums and theatres
to offices, factories and military sites.
The national event, which last year attracted more than 800,000 visitors
and involved more than 26,000 volunteers, is an annual celebration of
our built heritage - old and new - and encourages people across the
country to discover the riches of their local environment. It is co-ordinated
nationally by the Civic Trust in partnership with English Heritage,
which also core funds the scheme.
Local property openings and events are organised by civic societies,
local authorities, amenity societies, museums, and owners and managers
Royal & Sun Alliance sponsors the free insurance cover for participating
properties and activities.
Heritage Open Days is also supported by the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport and the Council of Europe.
About Kingswood Warren
The estate is first mentioned as far back as Domesday Book and has had
a varied past as a private house, young ladies finishing school and
a hotel before the BBC acquired it in 1948.
It was built in the 1830s by Thomas Alcock, who also
built nearby St Andrew's Church. Some features of his house survive,
but it has been much altered by subsequent owners, amongst them Sir
John Cradock Hartopp (who fought and lost a long legal battle to enclose
the commons); Cosmo Bonsor (a financier who was Chairman of the Southern
Railway and was responsible for the building of the Tattenham Corner
line) and Joseph Rank (founder of the Rank milling empire).
The BBC bought the house with its surrounding grounds after the Second
World War, and its Research Department moved there from Bagley Croft
Since then, engineers at Kingswood have led many advances
in broadcasting technology - the choice of a colour TV system for the
UK, the first electronic TV standards converter, teletext, NICAM stereo,
digital radio, and most recently digital TV.
In the last few years, the main reception rooms of the estate have been
restored (one of them was a laboratory for many years) for use as a
conference suite for national and international technical meetings and
About BBC R&D
BBC Research & Development is a world leading centre for media production
and broadcasting technology. It helps the BBC to build public value
by innovating in technology in support of the BBC's public service purpose.
R&D has been recognised by their peers in the industry
winning many awards including four Emmy Awards, seven Queen's Award
for Industry Awards and several Royal Television Society technical awards.
There are around 160 engineers, mathematicians and scientists, all of
whom play a vital role in the conception, development and implementation
of techniques and systems used by the BBC and throughout the world.
Even the grounds are used for testing purposes.
Its current work includes:
spectrum planning for TV and radio recommending what transmitters
are needed, where, and using what frequencies;
Digital Radio Mondiale digital radio for the long, medium,
and short wave bands;
digital TV services interactivity, electronic programme
guides, and reception improvements;
access services for TV subtitling, signing, and audio
wireless techniques in broadcast production;
virtual production for TV computer-generated sets and
production technology enabling TV and radio production
from a computer desktop;
developing new services for bbc.co.uk, the BBC's website.