In the early 1950's Jack Vickers arrived in Jersey for a few weeks to set up the sound receiving station for the Rediffusion Jersey operation and ended up staying until his untimely death in 1965. His first excuse for extending the stay was work on long distance television reception. to make programmes from the English mainland available in the island, and subsequently the development of cable distribution systems,
predominantly TDUK.3 and all the equipment for it.
The former enterprise was successful to the point that the television transmissions of the Coronation in 1953 were made available to the first one hundred subscribers to the Rediffusion Jersey network, the signals being received either from the Alexandra Palace, London transmitter or Wenvoe in the West Country, depending on the conditions at the time.
In those early days there was lots of enthusiasm, a considerable amount of design skill but minimal facilities.
Physically the Company growth rate had been determined by local building restrictions which were earned at maintaining the islands natural beauties but the Company progressed through four distinct phases. The initial caravan accommodation was replaced by a purpose built receiving station cum development laboratory cum workshop. The latter two functions were later transferred to a garage building and a collection of wooden huts in a disused quarry behind St. Heller and here were manufactured the early repeaters.
The next move was more ambitious to one of the many large potato warehouses on The Esplanade at St. Helier, overlooking ST Aubins Bay and Elizabeth Castle, a view well known to every Jersey visitor. Considerable effort and money were put into the conversion of the premises. which were shared with Rediffusion (Jersey) Ltd. because the manufacturing processes practised by TVR were then becoming much more varied and involved. The warehouse served its purpose for quite a number years but when it was outgrown the move was made to the modern custom built premises occupied at La Pouquelaye, at the northem limit of St. Helier further extensions were later to be made there.
When the development vvork on cable television ended, TVR's design efforts were concentrated on background music machines and ancillary equipment used in the Reditune operation; various specialized equipments were made available to other markets. The manufacturing activity, as far as cable vision was concerned covered a very wide range of equipment developed by the Research Division of Rediffusion Engineering Ltd, mainly for use in the U.K., and a steady flow of Reditune equipment production was maintained.
The range of manufacturing facilities enjoyed by TVR was unique and the design function was backed up by the ability to design and manufacture tools for pressure die casting, injection moulding and sheet metal press work; fixtures for assembly work and testing were also
produced and the machine shop provided a variety of turned parts. The finishing processes included cadmium plating, anodising, painting and polishing.
The training of staff had always been of the utmost importance to the Company, not only because local regulations made it difficult to import staff but also because training enabled the Company to take an active part in local community life. The Company’s Trainee / Apprenticeship Scheme was for a three-year period during which apprentices would work in all departments and attend day release courses. Many of these trainees attained responsible positions in the Company.
Departments and Personnel
The executive in overall charge of TVR`s operations was the Director and General Manager Gordon Reed whose early experience was with the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, including sixteen months in Canada. He joined TVR as a development engineer in 1952 one year after the start of operations in Jersey, was promoted Chief Development Engineer in 1953 and follovving the death of Jack Vickers, was appointed General Manager in 1955. Mr Reed was closely associated with the design and setting up of the TDUK.3 distribution system, particularly in Hong Kong where he had the added responsibility of training the Chinese engineers. He participated with Jack Vickers in the early investigations into the long -distance reception of Bands l and Ill television signals in Jersey and in the development ot the endless loop tape player: subsequent models of the player and ancillary equipment were his responsibility.
Design and Development
This came under the control of Bob Munson who was originally engaged in 1960 while TVR were in their Esplanade premises; after a spell with Marconi he returned to TVR in 1968. He was responsible for the design of the first RGJ inverter and afterwards became closely involved in the investigation of tape applications and the development of tape players. Members of his staff were Phil Hodgson, who joined Rediffusion as a graduate apprentice and who had been heavily involved with the design of the TP.80 Tape Playback Unit. George Chambers, an ex Rediffusion Malta employee joined TVR in 1963, Ivor Rive was Model Shop Engineer, who had worked for TVR for twenty-one years and had been involved with tape machines since the day in 1958 when the TP.1 prototype was finally assembled for examination by the Board.
The Drawing Office
Was led by Dick Murning who had several responsibilities: to do basic mechanical design, record the work of the development engineers, maintain records, issue manufacturing information and keep up-to-date catalogue information.
Following compilation of parts lists and their processing by computer in a local bureau. the material information was passed to Peter Hunt, Commercial Manager who was responsible for purchasing and for despatch. The export operation was a major entity as exports were made direct to over fifty countries on behalf of Reditune and Rediffusion Central Services. Local Customs problems were very time consuming in that Jersey was a special case country within the EEC.
Purchasing came under the control of Laurie Hooper-Smith, Assistant Supplies Controller, who would be remembered by some older members of the East Midlands staff. He joined Rediffusion at Nottingham in 1946 as a test engineer and transferred to TVR in 1954 to undertake development work. He worked for a short time with Choiceview, the pay·TV organisation which later became Rank Rediffusion Research Ltd, and was to rejoin TVR in May 1962.
The overall control of production was in the hands of Neville Minty who joined the Company from J. and G. Jensen Limited when they were taken over by TVR in 1951. Mr Minty had a distinguished World War 11 record and was awarded the Military Cross. He was a very
well-known figure among TVR’s customers and his apprenticeship with Thorneycroft and later employment with Austin Motors must have contributed to the solution of many problems generated by designers who introduced processes of which the Company has no prior knowledge. Neville Minty was directly responsible for the setting up of the Die Casting and the Plastics injection Moulding Divisions at La Pouquelaye. One of the first things to happen in many production jobs is the design and manufacture of tools and TVR's tool making workshop was under the immediate control ol Keith Keeler who, after an initial period of employment with the Company, gained experience elsewhere and later returned to take charge of the Tool Room. Manufacture of all tools required in Company processes was done in competition with external sources; the facility gives great flexibility in control of quality by way of tool maintenance, modifications etc.
ln the Machine Shop 'Wally' Warland was responsible for keeping the wheels of the capstan, milling and grinding facilities turning.have been
Despite the automated equipment, capstans were still used to make the many parts for the tape machines including the original TP.1's.
The department feeding the largest bulk of materials into the Assembly Shop was the Press Shop with presses up to 65-ton capacity, a Pierce-All machine producing short runs from templates and the usual range of cutting, folding and welding machinery.
When all the subsidiary parts had been produced, they were fed into Assembly. Other parts having been ordered and duly received, they were issued to Assembly where Geoff Stroud was responsible for seeing that the various items were correctly assembled.
Harry Hill was responsible for TP.80 assembly and Alan Fisher for circuit board assembly. TVR used very flexible and effective system where boards were committed to assembly ‘rails‘ and subsequently cropped and flow soldered.
Alice Kenny was the 'inverter queen', assisted ably by Ruth Kemp who ensured that the quality of that particular product was up to par.
Assembly completed, it had to be ensured that the products wored and at this stage two separate but closely associated processes were involved. These were inspection and test, and dependent on the product one either inspects, tests and inspects, or one tests, inspects and tests. And the target at which Alan Mercer, a Rediffusion employee since 1947 when he was based in Merseyside aimed at was to ensure that when the customer received the product he had no cause to complain. In fact the Company prided ltself on quality at the right price because, although there were advantages in being in the Jersey tax haven, the physical separation from the Company's customers created communication problems both in face-to-face conversation and in the physical movement of goods that would arise if repairs became
The Test Department
Test was under the control of Frank Le Brocq who dealt with u.h.f., v.h.f,, h.f., a.f. and mechanical products.
The goods, having been assembled, tested, inspected and released, moved to Stores where they came under the control of Frank Huby. He saw both ends of the manufacturing process, the incoming components and the finished article: from him they passed to Packing and here the export documentation was also prepared.
More than 150,000 inverters, more than 50,000 tape machines, thousands of repeaters and ancillary bits and pieces too numerous to mention have been produced by TVR.
TELEVISION RESEARCH LIMITED
St. Helier, Jersey C.I. Tel. 0534 30321
Associated Companies in over 175 towns in Great Britain and in Barbados, Bermuda. Canada, Ceylon, Guyana,
Hong Kong, Jamaica, Malaya, Malta, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and West Africa etc.
© rediffusion.info 2010
A look back Rediffusion TVR Jersey based around activities in the early - 1970's.
TVR Premises, La Pouquelaye, St Helier. C1968
Research and Development Lab.
Injection Moulding Machine Producing TP.80 Front Panels
PCB Assembly for the TP.80 Playback Machine
Production Assembly Staff
Test and Inspection Department