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Twenty-Five Stunning Pictures of BBC Broadcasting House in 1932

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BBC Broadcasting House in 1932

BBC Broadcasting House in 1932

On 15 March 1932 the bandleader Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra featured in the first ever radio broadcast from Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, then and now. Two months later the Art Deco styled steel-framed building covered in Portland Stone was officially opened. It was well-liked as soon as it was built and the Architectural Review described it as ‘The new Tower of London’.

The life of Broadcasting House began in 1928 when a property development consortium bought a site at the southern end of Portland Place. The BBC, who were desperate for a new headquarters, persuaded the consortium not to build the high-class block of flats that they originally intended to create but to develop the site for the Corporation instead.

The consortium’s architect, G Val Myer, worked with the splendidly named Marmaduke T. Tudsbury (the BBC’s Civil Engineer since January 1926) on a proposal for the new BBC headquarters and presented it in July, 1928. They stated that “the building, as planned, will give all the accommodation required for the present needs of the Corporation besides leaving a reserve of more than twenty thousand feet of excellent office space on the first and second floors, which together with the shops and bank on the ground and sub-ground floors … it is proposed to let off to other tenants”. The building of Broadcasting House began soon after.

The BBC expanded quickly, as they have ever since, and the idea to have shops on the ground floor never materialised.

Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House under construction in 1929.

Broadcasting House

The beginning of Broadcasting House, 1930.

Broadcasting House

1930

Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House from the air in 1932.

Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House canteen 1932.

Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House, in the Concert Hall, 1932. Director General, Lord John Reith can be seen sitting centre front row.

Broadcasting House

Concert Hall Green Room Broadcasting House 1932

Broadcasting House

Studio 6E

Broadcasting House

Interior of BBC Broadcasting House in 1932 Studio 7A – ‘Empire Studio’

BBC Broadcasting House

Production office, 1932.

BBC Broadcasting House

One of the dramatic control panels Broadcasting House 1932

BBC Broadcasting House

Roof of Broadcasting House, the loudspeaker relayed Big Ben at the same volume as the real one.

BBC Broadcasting House

The typist pool at Broadcasting House in 1932

BBC Broadcasting House

Chapel studio for religious broadcasting including Morning Service every day.

BBC Broadcasting House

A waiting room at Broadcasting House 1932

BBC Broadcasting House

BBC Broadcasting House switchboard in 1932

BBC Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House library

BBC Broadcasting House

Exterior of BBC Broadcasting House

BBC Broadcasting House

Inside BBC Yearbook 1932

BBC Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House switchboard.

Plan of the first floor of Broadcasting House, 1932.

Plan of the first floor of Broadcasting House, 1932.

Broadcasting House 1932

Broadcasting House 1932

BBC Broadcasting House

View from Broadcasting House in 1932, taken with an infra-red camera.

  • Tim

    Quite stunning for it’s time!

  • Lee M

    They should definitely bring back the Big Ben loudspeaker!