Farewell to analogue part 1

April 12th, 2012 by Anna Towlson, Assistant Archivist

With the London TV region switching to digital this month, we thought we’d celebrate the history of analogue TV with some highlights from our pamphlet collection and the Library’s other print holdings.  My colleague Victoria has dug out a range of publications that give us an insight into the way the industry has functioned over the years, and in particular how it is structured, run, funded and regulated, as well as providing some great visuals.

 John Logie Baird began experimenting with TV broadcasting  in conjunction with the BBC in 1929. The BBC went on to launch its broadcasting programme in 1936. The following year the Science Museum celebrated the new technology with a special exhibition.

'Television: an account of the development and general principles of television as illustrated by a special exhibition held at the Science Museum, June-September, 1937', Government Publication 42 (616)

'Television: an account of the development and general principles of television as illustrated by a special exhibition held at the Science Museum, June-September, 1937', Government Publication 42 (616)

By the 1950s and 60s TV had developed into a booming and highly lucrative industry, as well as a political battleground. In this pamphlet of 1959 the Labour Research Department (an independent research organisation publishing news and information for trade unionists) took a critical look at senior members of the Independent Television Authority (the body that had been set-up to supervise commercial TV), the BBC and TV programme contractors, examining their commercial and political interests and the potential implications for the nation’s TV.

'Men and Money Behind TV', Labour Research Department pamphlet, Archives P/A2

'Men and Money Behind TV', Labour Research Department pamphlet, Archives P/A2

Meanwhile TV company yearbooks from the period provide a very different perspective on the industry, focussing on programme listings, official programme policies and advertising codes.  

'ITV 1967: a Guide to Independent Television' (Reserve periodicals, HE8689.9 G7) (Note the back and white images: colour TV was first broadcast in Britain in 1967, starting with BBC2 , followed by BBC1 and ITV in 1969.)

'ITV 1967: a Guide to Independent Television' (Reserve periodicals, HE8689.9 G7) (Note the back and white images: colour TV was first broadcast in Britain in 1967, starting with BBC2 , followed by BBC1 and ITV in 1969.)

Tune in next week for part two…

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