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Photos by Peter Bigwood, Simon Moore, David Foord, James Pomfret, Iain Jaques, Daniel Smith/Neil White Page last updated: 2020-04-25

Notes by Phil Reynolds and Peter Bigwood

The Waltham site takes its name from the nearby Leicestershire village of Waltham-on-the-Wolds.
Built during 1966 for completion early in 1967, the original purpose of the transmitter was to provide BBC2 coverage to much of the East Midlands. Unfortunately, the mast collapsed before it was due to enter service and had to be rebuilt, delaying its opening until 31st August 1968. ITV entered service on 28th February 1970, BBC 1 on 18th July 1970.

On time with Channel 4 (2nd Nov 1982), unlike its major relay, Nottingham, it did not get Channel 5 until 21st August 1997, during phase II of transmitter building.

Waltham can be received in large parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland and also watchable in parts of Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and South Yorkshire.

Peter Bigwood remarked, on visiting the site: "I have to say that I find these cylindrical towers to be somewhat unnerving. Perhaps it is just the unfortunate history of Emley Moor, Belmont. and this monster."

It seems that all 6 tubular steel masts (Winter Hill, Belmont, Mendip, Bilsdale, Waltham and, of course, the ill-fated 1265 foot mast at Emley Moor) all had lifts installed. The lifts were designed to carry the aerial riggers to the top of the tubular steel section. Ascent of the weather shield protected lattice transmitting aerial support section was made by ladder. The idea of this feature was to protect the riggers against the wind & weather that they were subjected to working on lattice steel masts & towers.

Another useful feature is that the aircraft warning lamps can be swung in internally so that they can be changed.

In recent Years NTL have fitted 150 tons of damping chains at Winter Hill & Belmont to reduce the oscillations caused by high winds that were a factor in the collapse of the Emley Moor Mast in 1969.

In the autumn of 1999 BBC & Digital One DAB services were added, with the Nottingham local DAB from 14th May 2004. Saga Radio (now Smooth Radio), launched on 11th February 2003.

Lowest set of skew fire panels for Ch 5 (273m). Upper two groups of panels on opposite sides of this picture, for pre-DSO DTT (285m). Middle wrap around panels analogue reserve.

Above, at bottom of this picture, on the left are the FM radio aerials at 200m (Smooth Radio). In the middle, midway between the two platforms are the DAB aerials for BBC & Digital One at 230m.

You can see the door from the tower to the platform. Also on the left of this picture, I think this is the Nottingham local DAB aerials (137m). It is directional to the north and west.

The door at the base of the tower.

Waltham - on a typical 2007 summer day.

Finally this atmospheric dusk shot from Daniel Smith and Neil White, taken in 2019

Waltham index

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