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Recollections of BBC engineering from 1922 to 1997
The British Broadcasting Corporation
web site is:
www.bbc.co.uk

Books that are relevant to the history of broadcasting technology

Home On Air Daventry Calling

 

This table includes download links, but please note that the downloads are for personal use only and may not be used for re-publication in any form.  Where possible the copyright holder has given permission for this web site to make scanned copies available.  Due to the age of some publications it is not feasible to identify the present copyright holder, but it is believed that the nature of the publication is such that the availability of downloads is acceptable.  If the availability of any download gives cause for concern, please make contact.

 

Antennas:
Eckersley Aerial Design 1929.pdf

Ariel:
Extracts from the staff magazine Ariel:

June 1938, December 1938, May 1939, October 1939.

(Found in a second hand book shop and contributed by Tony Smith.)

 

BBC History:
Broadcasting From Within

by C. A. Lewis. 1924
It is an account of the very first year of the BBC, dedicated to J. C. W. Reith, M. D. of the B.B.C. and the Preface is by Lord Gainford as first Chairman of the B.B.C. C.A. Lewis was 'Organiser of Programmes'.

Microphones:
BBC Engineering Training Manual - Microphones(Robertson).pdf

 

Microphones:
BBC Engineering Training Manual - Microphones (WW).pdf

 

Propagation:  
BBC Engineering Training Manual 1974

Broadcasting Aspects of Radio Wave Propagation and Transmitter Network Planning at Frequencies above 30MHz.
H.E.Farrow

 

Propagation:
Eckersley's Areas 1929.pdf

Propagation:
Long-Wave and Medium-Wave Propagation 1958

H.E.Farrow and C.P.Bell

 

Propagation & Service planning

Seventy Years Before The Masts (Kindle book)

Here is a note about the book in Prospero (the newspaper for retired BBC staff.)

Recording:
BBC Recording Training Manual.pdf

Radio Engineering:
Frequency Modulation Engineering

1956

 

Sound:
High Quality Sound production and Reproduction

c1960

 

Sound:
Studio Engineering for Sound Broadcasting

1955

 

Television:
Television Engineering Principles and Practice

 

S.W Amos, D.C. Birkinshaw, J.L. Bliss

publisher: Iliffe & Sons Ltd. 

year: 1953

Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 may be downloaded by clicking the links.

 

Training:
BBC Engineering Training Manual 1942

This book gives information on all aspects of the broadcasting chain used by the BBC at the time.

Transmission:
On Air - A History of BBC Transmission

Was on sale via this we site.
It is now available for download.
Click link for more information.

 

Transmitters:
Daventry Calling The World

This is a detailed account of a very important BBC transmitting station.  It tells the story of the site, the engineering systems and the people involved.  If you liked On Air, you will like this book! 

author: Norman Tomalin

publisher: Caedmon of Whitby

year: 1998

isbn: 0905355 46 6

 

 

This table does not include download links.  It is just a list of books that are relevant to BBC Engineering.

BBC Handbooks

The BBC "Hand Book" was first issued in 1928. By 1930, it became the BBC Year Book and later it reverted to Handbook, as well as other titles. It was published nearly every year through to 1997, with a review of the year's programming, cultural and technical achievements.

The above link goes to a web site that contains PDF files of nearly every issue.  Martin Ellen has all of the files as well - just in case they disappear from the American Radio History site.

 

The Story of Broadcasting House: Home of the BBC. 

Recommended by an ex-BBC engineer: "great book with loads of interesting photos. Some references to early transmitters."

The book can be purchased via the above link.

Prospero's Wireless

A biography of P.P. Eckersley by his son Myles Eckersley. It contains a lot of interesting material about the background to early BBC engineering developments.

Publisher:  Myles Books

Year: 1997, Revised 1998.

isbn: 0 9531625 0 8

 

 

2MT Writtle: the birth of British broadcasting.

A good book describing events leading up to the start of the BBC, with particular emphasis on transmitters and characters such as P.P.Eckersley.
author: WANDER T R
publisher: Capella
year: 1988
isbn: 0-946443-10-6

 

The BBC at Savoy Place 1923-1932: 2LO calling, the 1998 IEE Archives

Interesting pictures, but not much about transmitters.
author: SYMONS L (INSTITUTION OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS)
publisher: IEE
year: 1998
isbn: 033508

 

The Emergence of Broadcasting in Britain
This is a very human account, from the dawn of radio to the attainment of a Royal Charter in the late 1920s. It tells of the struggles and frustrations of engineers in developing innovative equipment.
author: Brian A Hennessy
publisher: Southerleigh
year: 2005
isbn: 0-9551408-0-3
ISBN-13: 978-0955140808

BBC Engineering 1922-1972

This is "The Bible"!  It has 569 pages packed with information about all aspects of BBC Engineering.  Unfortunately the book has been out of print for many years but sometimes it can be obtained from libraries and second-hand bookshops such as Kelly Books. Copies also sometimes appear on eBay.

author: Edward Pawley OBE, MSc(Eng), C Eng, FIEE

publisher: BBC Publications.  Year: 1972

isbn: 0 563 12127 0

 

Island Base: Ascension in the Falklands War
An important piece in the jigsaw of the history of the Falklands War.  It includes a chapter by Norman Shacklady on the BBC's involvement.  (Norman is also joint editor of On Air.)
author: Captain Bob McQueen
publisher: Whittles Publishing
year: 2007
isbn 978-1904445-18-0

 

The early history of radio: from Faraday to Marconi.

A good book covering the period before the emergence of broadcasting.  Useful for learning about wireless developments right from the start.
author: GARRATT G R M
publisher: IEE
year: 1994
isbn: 0-85296-845-0

Guglielmo Marconi.

author: REYNOLDS P (MARCONI COMPANY LIMITED)
publisher: Marconi Co.
year: 1974
isbn: 005050

 

A history of the Marconi Company

author: W J Barker
publisher: Methuen & Co
year: 1970
isbn: 007907

 

The Marconi Company, jubilee year.

author: MARCONI'S WIRELESS TELEGRAPH COMPANY LTD
publisher: Marconi's Telegraph Wireless Company Limited
year: 1947
isbn: 007652
 

Marconi research and development.

author: MARCONI COMPANY LTD
publisher:
year: 1963
isbn: 017597
 

The Marconi book of wireless.

author: MARCONIPHONE-COMPANY
publisher: Marconiphone-Co.
year: 1936
isbn: 1129


Most of the books above are available from the IET library.