THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY
|Photos by Dan Glover||Page last updated: 2019-08-05|
|Constructed in late 1939/1940, Bartley served as a Home Service and then Radio 4 transmitter until November 1978. The site was also a maintenance base from 1953 onwards, covering the south of England and south Wales.|
There is some evidence the site was included in the WW2 "Group H" scheme and may have formed part of BBC Wartime Broadcast (WTBS) plans, possibly until the early 1980s.
In 1948 Bartley was considered as a site for FM (Band II) broadcasting to Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight, however the report concludes "A better arrangement would be to use a site on the high ground on the Isle of Wight". A 1951 BBC Research Report considered the use of a nearby site at Shornhill (SU327152) for television (Band I) and the possible impact of the mast at Bartley on reception. However the conclusion was that another site at Rowridge Farm was more suitable and in due course Rowridge carried TV and FM services for the region. The BBC Research Reports are linked at the end of the page.
Once broadcasting ceased the mast was removed and the building remained unused for a number of years with various proposals for office or "light industrial" use rejected. In 1989, however, three plans for residential use were submitted. Two proposals for demolition and construction of new buildings were rejected but on appeal it was agreed to permit the re-use of the main structure to form a bungalow. The roof was replaced and the walls clad in brick but the basic structure is the old BBC building. Planning documents (see link below) show the building had a large room, assumed to be the transmitter hall, plus a set of smaller rooms presumably used as offices and workshops and by the maintenance team.
From research into the site's history it seems the northern part of the site was retained by the BBC for many years, with ownership finally passing from Arqiva to a private owner in 2013. Within this large field the mast base and stay blocks still exist, together with the foundations of the tuning "hut" - however it is difficult to see these these from ground level. The smaller plot of land including the transmitter building was sold around 1985.
Bartley entered service on 29th December 1940 on 668 kHz transmitting the Home Service (Southern Group). It closed on 29th July 1945 when peacetime BBC radio programming resumed at the end of WW2.
It was brought back into service on 29th September 1946 on 1384 kHz transmitting the West Home Service. The frequency was changed to 1457 kHz on 15th March 1950, and again on 2nd September 1972 to 692 kHz, by which time the service was now Radio 4.
Bartley closed for good with the frequency changes on 23rd November 1978.
|A general view in July 2019, looking approximately south from the A336. Part of the former transmitter building is just visible in the centre bit most is screened by the trees ...|
|...by cross-referencing with aerial photos and old maps it appears the antenna was a simple mast radiator with stays secured to three blocks. The above is indicative only - Bartley is documented in BBC Research reports as having a 250 ft mast, see links below.|
|The mast base was just north of a group of trees/bushes - there is some evidence either of the base or the foundations of the adjacent tuning hut.|
|This metal tank appears to be standing on the northern stay block|
Modified Scheme for F.M. Service (BBC Research 1948-29)
South Hampshire and Isle of Wight Television Site Tests (BBC Research 1951-06)
Planning Application NFDC/89/41387: conversion of transmitter building to bungalow
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