TV Comes To Town
Two topical links – Robertshaw’s celebrates 80 years trading this year and the Tour de France cyclists will climb the hill to Holme Moss, the location of the first TV transmitter for the North of England.
We didn’t get access to a decent TV picture until 12th October 1951. Construction for the transmitter began in April 1950. The site had to be excavated to a depth of eight foot to provide a sure foundation for the 750 foot mast and the station buildings. One engineer was on duty at all times to ensure that the signal that was relayed from London was transmitted to over 11 million potential viewers. No surprise that a month’s supply of food plus beds & blankets were provided at Holme Moss should the engineers be ‘snowed in’. Admittedly there were less than two million TV licences (cost £2) issued by the end of 1951 (701 in the Greater Halifax area) and a new set would set you back at least £50. Thanks to local traders the rental market boomed and the rest is history.
Back to 12th October 1951 – at 8pm Sylvia Peters of the BBC introduced viewers to Manchester Town Hall where Lord Simon of Wythenshawe officially opened the new station. Richard Dimbleby interviewed five distinguished Northerners - Dr. Phyllis Bentley (the Halifax novelist), Maurice Miles (conductor of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra), Stanley Matthews, Gracie Fields and Esther McCracken (playwright). Dr. Bentley said that Northern authors must learn how to write for television and so play their part in this medium of very great opportunities. Gracie Fields was top of the bill for ‘Music Hall’ from the Theatre Royal, Leeds to be broadcast on the following Saturday. Rather tame by today’s standards but please spare a thought for those early engineers as hopefully a British cyclist is the first to reach the peak of Holme Moss.
May 1975 News
Jane Morrisroe was crowned Elland Carnival Queen. Only two girls entered the competition despite a £20 cash prize, free dress and a year’s free hair-dressing. Jane had been disqualified the previous year because she was too young!
32 girls entered the attendants’ contest. The seven finalists were Celia Hadgraft, Jill Willerton, Julie Walmsley, Carina Marsh, Penny Mallinson and the two eventual winners Catherine Redman & Helen Sparkes.
The chairman of Elland Road Safety Committee is a non-driver. Tom Coldwell, who had to cease driving through illness, said that he fully understood pedestrians’ problems, which perhaps some drivers sometimes tend to forget.
Will Elland Hall reveal its secrets when it is eventually demolished for the new by-pass? There is reputed to be an underground passage leading from the hall to St. Mary’s. Also the riddle of the ‘secret’ room, without doors or windows but occupying a substantial space in one wing. Elland Hall was listed but that safeguard was overridden by the higher priority of the ‘super-highway’.
David J. Glanfield
Greater Elland Historical Society
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