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Remembering Rediffusion Hull  by:  Ken Allott

I joined Rediffusion in 1954 left the company in 1986

Previous to 1954 I was a Member of the RAF. When the time approached to my 'de-mob'. I had to give thought to what I would do in 'Civvie Street'.
I had been trained as a Ground Wireless Mechanic, so naturally I approached Rediffusion for a job.
Mr W H Cross, who was the Engineer in charge at the time, was impressed with my reference from the RAF and put me on his list of applicants for Employment. He said he would send for me when a vacancy occurred.
Later, true to his word he offered me a job as a Programme Control Operator and I accepted.

Starting work was something of a culture shock, from the comparatively easy life in the RAF to work in civvy street I was working shifts on a Three Day Rota. 1st day 6am - 3pm, 2nd day 3pm - Midnightand 3rd day was a day off. l initially worked at Beverley Road but later on moved to the the TV reception Building in Cottingham.

Rediffusion was a highly respected company in Hull, supplying sound and television to homes and public establishments e.g. schools and factories.

The main reception for the public in those days was sound only. Television distribution was in its Infancy. Residents only had a speaker in their houses which didn’t need Electricity. The sound was fed over cables from central amplifiers direct to the speakers. Workers used to use this facility as an alarm clock to get up for work. Hence the need for the Control Operator to switch the amplifiers on soon after 6 am. A tone was put out to test that the amplifiers were working before programmes started at 6.3Oam.

As far as I can remember two sound programmes were put out, on a simple two position switch, labelled (A) BBC Home Service and (B) BBC Light Programme.
The first development was a four position switch for additional sound programmes. Next was a six position switch when TV was gradually added.

The Television was only just starting and I believe a pilot service was running on North Hull Estate showing BBC1 programmes. Plans were afoot to expand and a vacancy for a Network Planning Officer resulted in me transferring to the Mapping Department.

The gentleman who masterminded the spread of the Television network was Mr Les Brown. I remember it spreading to Day Street and Campbell Street area. One of the first areas I worked on from a planning angle was The Chamberlain Area.

Sound Programmes were received over land lines routed into the Rediffusion building on Beverley Road, then
redisributed on main links out to substations situated in and around Hull, Hessle and Cotingham.

Television programmes where received via a High Mast situated in the grounds of Green Wickets, Thwaite Street, Cottingham and distributed around the town again on main links using repeater amplifiers and combining with the sound service at various distribution points.
At the distribution points anything from one up to six feeder cables where run along housing and other buildings. The sound and vision was combined and fed along the same cables.
Cable were connected via junction boxes and fed via a drop-in cable to the switches in the houses.
This cable had to be run in a planned route so one could guarantee a television reception of good signal strength. This was done by the Network Planning Department, of which I was a Member.

My memories of this period were Happy ones. I took to planning feeders like a Duck to water. Movement was fast and growth of the network was swift.  BBCI was followed by BBC2, ITVI and Channel 4.
Subscribers at that time were applying in large numbers. Reception which came from Emley Moor in West Yorkshire was poor when received on standard aerials. Redifflusion had a distinct advantage with their High Mast reception at Cottingham.