The BBC at Bush House

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GOODBYE BUSH HOUSE

Bush House
I had been retired for five years by the time the BBC left Bush House: I wasn't sorry to miss the move to Broadcasting House - I never wanted to work there anyway. Over the years at Bush I saw, and was involved in some way or another in coverage of, Churchill's funeral (1965), The Czech uprising and subsequent Russian invasion (1968), the Falklands war (1982), the Persian Gulf War (1991), the failed Gorbachev coup (1991), the start of the the Iraq War (2003), and the overnight coverage of several General Elections.

I'm pleased that I was able to see the development of sound recording from disk and tape through to modern digital recording and playout, even though my skill as a tape editor became redundant in the process (at least the physical side - knowing where to cut remained as important as ever)

The sheer size of the operation was unusual - in the days of tape the World Service was possibly the biggest customer in the world for recording tape and in the end actually found it difficult to buy. Because of the nature of the operation and the Foreign Office funding (at the time - that's changed) we often had to make do and mend; as we've seen here we kept technical equipment running for years past when most organizations would have junked it; it also resulted in technical developments taking some time to arrive in Bush.

Once the BBC left, clearing up the mess must have been quite a job. The Centre Block studios had breeze block walls and were 'floated' for sound insulation: and there were quite literally miles of assorted cables snaking round the building. It's now been cleaned up and redeveloped, and is largely the home of King's College London. From the transmission of knowledge to the acquirement of it.

Roger Wilmut

Links:
My own 'Fragments of an informal history of broadcasting'
and 'Stars of the Wireless' (though a bit off-topic)
Barry Warr's site about Bush House Studios, 'Normal Stop'
Wikipedia on Bush House
The BBC World Service site
Roger Beckwith's site on broadcasting, largely focussing on Broadcasting House.


Roger Wilmut. This site is not associated with the BBC