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Photos by BT Heritage, Nick Rice and Rupert Fennymore and Mark Carver Page last updated: 2016-05-27

Golden Pot TV link site - updated March 2016

Just across the road from the current broadcast site at Brockham Hill is the BT site known as Golden Pot. This was originally established to provide a feed for the Rowridge transmitter (in-service November 1954). Initially Alexandra Palace was received off-air, with a 4 GHz link direct to Rowridge. Later an SHF link was provided from "Museum" exchange (later to be the site of the Post Office Tower) and the link made two-way allowing for contributions to be sent back to London. When the ITA required a feed from London to Chillerton Down (in-service August 1958) the same route was used: Museum -> Golden Pot -> Rowridge, with a cable connection to Chillerton Down and a two-way SHF link to Southampton allowing local contributions to be inserted (including, of course, advertisements)

The Engineer, 19 November 1954 describes the initial feed to Rowridge. In the 29 August 1958 issue there is a description of the ITA arrangements (see PDF files linked below)

Creative Commons LicenceThe first four images are Copyright BT Heritage, licensed under a Creative Commons License and reproduced under the following terms

Above and below: 1954 photos show the site with a 325 ft guyed mast and what might appear to be temporary buildings. One was used for the radio equipment, one for a generator and waveguide pressurisation equipment and the third for storage and welfare

Initially a single 10 ft diameter dish was used, facing Rowridge, with AP received off-air. For "Stage 2", three more were added with the antennas facing London at 192 and 209 ft and Rowridge at 296/312 ft. The upper dishes were used in the direction from London to Rowridge. Two independent channels were provided for resilience and different frequencies were used on the two sections of the link however there was sufficient isolation that the frequencies could be re-used in opposing directions so Golden Pot simultaneously received 3918 MHz and 4014 MHz from both London and Rowridge and transmitted on 3942 and 3990 MHz in both directions. For most of the time the links were looped at Rowridge allowing the Post Office control in London to verify satisfactory operation from end-to-end and back again. The "Stage 2" link was formally accepted by the BBC in January 1956

(Some of the equipment had previously been used on an experimental link between London and Castleton which went on to serve the Wenvoe transmitter for four months in 1952 until a cable was available)

The mast is of square section and bolted directly to the base

These interior views are dated 1957

By the time of Nick and Rupert's visit to Brockham Hill the mast had been truncated and a self-supporting tower added

A planning application was approved during 2013 for the (phased) removal of both the structures - stated as a 46 m tower and 58 m mast - and the construction of a new 60m tower

When Mark visited in March 2016 the new tower had been built but no antennas fitted. The remaining section of the original mast appeared to be still in use

The mast has been shortened to just above the second set of stays and a lightning spike fitted. The pink paint (primer/rust treatment?) was probably applied to allow the structure to remain in use until services can be transferred to the new tower. The purpose of the grey cylinder is unknown

Some metalwork has been added to the new tower but there is clearly quite a lot still to be done before the mast can be removed

The original buildings remain in use, at least for now

Brockham Hill index

Chillerton Down | Rowridge

Initial arrangement: The Engineer, 19 November 1954 (p24 in PDF)
ITA link: The Engineer, 29 August 1958 (p 20 in PDF)

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