Welcome to the NEW Region… 

21 January 2022 tbs.pm/74464

Celebrating 100 years of our BBC


Scan magazine cover

From ‘Scan: the Television Journal’ for July 1949

A SPECIAL welcome this month to the new B.B.C. Television Region!

I am taking the liberty of writing in the first person this month. The excuse I present is that, for ten happy years of my youth, Sutton Coldfield was my home town.

Situated midway between the industrial heart of Britain — Birmingham and the ancient cathedral city of Lichfield — the Sutton Coldfield relay station at Hill Village is the first B.B.C. television extension outside London.

Sutton Coldfield is a large residential borough boasting a great natural park where moorland and lakes, marsh and forest exist today in the same primeval state that met the eyes of Caesar’s Legions when they laid the Icknield Way like a stretched ribbon across England, crossing Sutton Park on its northern edge. The town proudly displays the Tudor Rose as its civic emblem, commemorating the granting of a royal charter by Henry the Eighth. “The Royal Town” of Sutton Coldfield acts as a green belt arresting the industrial advance of its great neighbour, Birmingham.

The city of Birmingham vies with Glasgow for the position of Britain’s second city in point of population, it is definitely the second largest city in England. Although its population is but a tenth of Greater London, it is situated in an area of dense population which includes Wolverhampton, the Staffordshire towns, Worcester, Hereford, Evesham, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucester, Coventry, Warwick and Leamington Spa to mention but a few.

Alas, the time is not quite here for the opening of the Midland Relay Station, but preparations are nearing completion.


Map of the transmission area of Sutton Coldfield

Service area of the BBC Sutton Coldfield transmitter, as estimated in 1949 in the Radio Times


And what a fund of enjoyment is to come for the new viewers! The miracle of the “air-borne” picture at your command. Evenings at first-night theatres, cricket direct from Lord’s, the Cup-Final from Wembley, boxing and skating, fireside association with television’s own Night-Club and the “Rooftop Lovlies”! International variety stars at television’s “Cafe Continental,” up-to-the-minute fashion parades and household programmes for the lady viewers, the finest news and documentary film in the world — “B.B.C. Television Newsreel” — television from country farms, from the sylvan Thames on summer evenings, children’s features every Sunday afternoon, revue, musical comedy, concert party.


Courtesy of bbctim123


The owner of a television set is the best informed and “travelled” of folk! He sees — through the B.B.C. cameras, at the moment of occurrence, such stirring events as Royal Ascot, the Lord Mayor’s Show, Trooping the Colour, and the great national festivals and processions. Through “Television Newsreel” he “goes” — in his fireside armchair — to the far corners of the earth, sea and sky…

A television set is as simple to use as blind radio, once installed it gives many hours of carefree service.



It is a special blessing to the lonely, to the country dweller and to those closely “tied” to the home. The television personalities become familiar friends. We all know — as if they lived with us — the announcers. The friendly tones of McDonald Hobley, Senior Announcer; Mary Malcolm, with her charm; and Sylvia Peters, famous in thousands of homes for her sweet smile and pleasant “Goodnight…”

Yes, my colleagues of the new area, your future is exciting and instructive. Good viewing to you — and Scan, the first regular post-war Television Monthly, will keep you up to date with news of your new entertainment.

Nigel A. Rainbow, editor of Scan



Facts About Transmitter

Sound transmitter power 3 kw 12 kw
Vision transmitter power 17 kw (peak white) 35 kw (peak white)
Height of aerial above sea level 600 ft 1,300 ft
Sound frequency 41 Mc/s 58.25 Mc/s
Vision frequency 45 Mc/s 61.75 Mc/s


Facts About the London – Birmingham Link

Alexandra Palace is connected to Sutton Coldfield via:

  1. A radio link on centimetre wavelengths from a telephone exchange in London via 4 relay stations to a telephone exchange in Birmingham;
  2. A landline link between the same two telephone exchanges. This landline link consists of a special cable carrying the following circuits:
  • 2 television co-axial circuits
  • 16 television control circuits
  • 8 sound broadcasting circuits
  • 18 sound broadcasting control circuits
  • 4 telephone co-axial circuits (carrying at total of 1,200 telephone conversations)



B.B.C. information on

The Sutton Coldfield Television Station


THE new television station for the Midlands is now being built on a site about 550 feet above mean sea level at Sutton Coldfield, some ten miles north of Birmingham, and is expected to be completed this year. Two transmitters are being installed there, one for the vision and the other for the sound transmission.

The vision transmitter will have a peak power rating of 35 kilowatts and will operate on a carrier frequency of 61.75 Mc/s, which corresponds to a wavelength of 4.86 metres, or about 16 feet. Asymmetric sideband transmission will be used, with the upper sideband partially suppressed, in order to conserve the limited band of frequencies allocated to television, and so enable more transmitters to operate in this band of frequencies. Asymmetric transmission does not affect the quality of the picture or the strength of the signal, but the television receivers used by viewers for receiving the programmes from Sutton Coldfield must, of course, be suitable for this type of transmission and for the wavelength that will be used.

The sound transmitter will have an unmodulated carrier power rating of 12 kilowatts. Conventional amplitude-modulated double-sideband transmission will be used on a carrier frequency of 58.25 Mc/s.,corresponding to a wavelength of 5.15 metres, or 17 feet approximately.

The sound and vision signals will be radiated from a common aerial, mounted at the top of a lattice-steel mast. The aerial will consist of vertical dipoles, and a vertical aerial should therefore be used for receiving the transmissions. No hard and fast figure can be given for the maximum range within which reception will be satisfactory, because it will depend upon the height of the receiving aerial and the amount of local interference, but it is expected to be about 50 miles [80km].



The mast, with a height of 750 feet [213m], will be the tallest so far erected at any B.B.C. station. Up to a height of 600 feet [183m] the cross-section will be triangular, each face being 12 feet [3.7m] across. Between the 600-foot and 710-foot [216m] levels the cross-section will be circular, with provision for aerials to radiate a V.H.F. service, should this be required in the future. The circular section will be surmounted by a cantilever tower, 40 feet [12m] high, at the top of which will be mounted the television aerial. Each of the dipoles forming the aerial will incorporate a 10-kilowatt electric heater to prevent ice formation. A lift will run inside the mast between the ground and the 600-foot level, and communication between the lift and the ground will be by means of V.H.F. radio.

The Sutton Coldfield station will transmit the same programmes as the Alexandra Palace station. The vision signal will conform to the standards adopted for the British Television Service, i.e. twenty-five 405-line pictures per second, composed of 50 interlaced frames, each having 202½ lines, corresponding to vision modulation up to 3 Mc/s per second. The vision signals will be sent from Alexandra Park to Sutton Coldfield over a radio link or a coaxial cable, both of which are being provided by the General Post Office.

B.B.C. Engineering Information Department.


Courtesy of scouldboss


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