The Anglia-TV installations 

9 September 2020

Postcard issued by anglia explaining the history of the knight statue


The Stage masthead

From The Stage for 29 October 1959

T.A.H. MARSHALL, M.A., M.I.E.E., chief engineer of Anglia television, was responsible for planning the studios and installations in Anglia House in Norwich within the walls of the former Agricultural Hall.

His previous planning served him in good stead, for when he became associated with television in 1955, he assisted with the planning of the Associated-Rediffusion installations, and later was in charge of the Wembley organisation.

He then joined Granada to plan London studios, but this project was abandoned.

Technically, this Norwich television centre is something of a masterpiece when one recalls the bleak and forbidding interior of the old hall.

Together with John Trew, the architect, the interior has been designed to provide three studios, one of which is larger than 3,000 square feet [279m²] and another over 1,000 square feet [93m²].



Boxed away

The studios have been literally boxed away from extraneous noises, for the building flanks one of the busiest traffic flows in Norwich and for nine months to come will back on to the cattle market!

Ventilation and heating plants are fully automatic, comprising three plants, one for the studios, one for the control rooms and a third for the kitchen and canteen.

Particular care has been given to the studio floors, which are for the most part level to within 1/20th of an inch [1.3mm], thereby obviating “rock and roll” when cameras are moving.

Dressing rooms are highly convenient, and the OB unit can drive its vehicles directly into the rear of the building, where a large goods lift communicates with storerooms on the upper floors.




ITV network programmes will be transmitted from Museum Telephone Exchange in London, the vision by radio-links to Mendelsham [sic] and thence to a 300-foot-high [91m] aerial on a former radar CH [Chain Home, a World War II installation] station mast at Stoke Holy Cross near Norwich, from which point via co-axial cable to Anglia House.

The sound will be sent by G.P.O. circuits.

Outward transmissions from Norwich will be handled by similar means, and it is emphasised that Anglia’s responsibility ends with the delivery of perfect vision and sound into the Post Office repeater station in Norwich.

From there, vision signals will be carried by co-axial cable to the radar tower at Stoke Holy Cross and thereafter by micro-radio link to the transmitter. The G.P.O. will again handle the sound circuits.



The Mendlesham transmitter service area

❛❛Russ J Graham writes: Can you see what is missing from the description of how Anglia plans to broadcast? It’s a return line to London: there isn’t one. The General Post Office are contracted to supply a line from London to Norwich, but not from Norwich to London. In effect, this means that Anglia can only take material from the network and not give any back.

But they had plans to do so. At first, this was achieved by telerecording material and sending it to London. But that put Anglia at a severe disadvantage: it had to negotiate with a single company for transmission onwards and hope that the rest of ITV would carry the programme. For best effect, they contributed to existing strands – Associated-Rediffusion’s weekday play slot, and, fairly uniquely, to an edition of ABC’s Armchair Theatre. But this wasn’t true network access – in effect, the bigger companies were simply commissioning Anglia to produce something, and taking a slice of the profits thus gained.

The issue with return lines was down to money and labour. In 1959, the ITA’s money was going towards connecting up all the new transmitters and studio centres to the network as ITV grew. The process of laying coaxial cable was labour intensive and, in a time of full employment, it was hard to recruit extra people to dig ditches. Therefore Anglia came low down in the queue – the priority was getting them on air, not getting them on the network.

They’d eventually get a return line, as would all the ITV companies. But it would take time.

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1 response to this article

Richard Jones 10 September 2020 at 3:56 am

Great info as always

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