Monday, April 21, 2014

BBC2 50 years old!

I remember BBC2 first coming on the air, but it was on 625 lines, which meant that you had to have a modern telly at the time. Ours was only VHF 405 lines.
My grandma rented a new TV with 625 lines, I can remember turning the 'turret' tuner to 625 lines to watch someting on BBC2. Trouble was that when you turned the tuner to 625 lines it produced a really loud whistle, which was the 15625Khz line oscillator and line output transformer. At the time I was 10 years old, but as much as I complained about the noise, none of the adults could hear it.
I remember that the TV was a Philips and later when I was an apprentice TV engineer I spent lots of time reconditioning the awful tuner units in these beasts.
Inside the tuner were 'biscuits' which were long clip in pieces of bakelite with tuned circuits mounted on them.

BBC2 was ahead of it's time back in the 60's. They showed stuff that I really didn't understand called 'culture'. It was later when BBC2 became the first colour TV channel around 1967. I went to an open day at the BBC and ITV transmitters at Winter Hill and in the BBC room they had a real colour TV camera as used for the BBC2 programmes.

When I was an appentice I enjoyed watching the BBC2 Trade Test Films. As I worked in the tuner department at Telefusion, I watched them in black and white, but occasionally got to watched them in colour in the colour room at Telefusion. My favourite was 'Ride the White Horses'.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


This photo appeared on one of the Bygone Bolton groups on Facebook. Taken at Bury Transport Museum. It brought back memories from the 1970's of the Yelloway coaches that you booked at Hargreaves on Moor Lane Bus Station.
I remember going to Torquay with Kathleen before we got married on the overnight coach. Set off at 10.00pm and arrived at Torquay at anout 7.00am. We then got a taxi to our hotel and left our luggage there before walking into Torquay for some breakfast.

Picture of myself at the hotel in Torquay when we arrived.

I also used Yelloway to go to Cambridge when my friend Neil was at university there. A bit of a drag on the coach as it went from Bolton to Clacton stopping at Derby, Northhampton and lots of other places along the way.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

LEGO Therapy

I really need some LEGO therapy...helps me relax at the end of a stressful day!
I have to admit that this is the very first LEGO kit that I have ever bought for myself. I remember buying LEGO for my children, but couldn't find patience at the time to build anything of my own. Now i'm building the Mars Curiosity Rover, 295 tiny pieces, up to now has taken me three days and nearly finished!

Quite fancy having a go with LEGO Mindstorms robots!

My completed Mars Curiosity Rover!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Radio Caroline - 50 years!

Time to wear the T-shirt and take a selfie.

Radio Caroline is an icon of the pirate radio days when you could listen to POP music on the radio. Alright, the reception was not brilliant on medium wave, but boy did we love it!
I remember listening to Radio Caroline on 199 with a tranny radio. If reception was bad you could stand it next to a mains power socket and the cables would act as an aerial and bring up the volume and less fading no end. At night it was difficult to receive with the interference from European stations so you just re-tuned to Radio Luxemburg.
There were two Radio Caroline stations...Radio Caroline North and Radio Caroline South. Caroline North was just off the the coast of Liverpool and Caroline South was close to London just off the coast in the North Sea.

In August 1967 the BBC launched Radio 1 and a law was passed to shut down the pirate stations. At midnight on that day Radio Caroline played 'We shall overcome' to fight the government and stay on the air. They eventually had to shut down.

Commercial radio was great back in 1967, but look at it now...what a mess! Hundreds of commercial radio stations playing one song followed by 10 minutes of crap talk and another 10 minutes of advertisments. Bring back the pirates...they got it right!

For the next month the Radio Caroline North ship is in Liverpool broadcasting live on the internet and FM.

Happy Birthday Radio Caroline...we shall overcome!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rivington Pike in Red!

Something quite unusual this week...Rivington Pike lit up in red along with a red Winter Hill TV mast.
This has caused a bit of a stir with Horwich and Chorley councillors. The Pike has been lit to promote business in Chorley (why??)  OK, so Chorley owns it, but really when you think of Rivington Pike you think of Horwich because it is so close.

Still, it is nice to look at if you have a good camera or binoculars. When I went to take some photos I was a bit disappointed, they should have lit up the whole hill as well along with lasers modulated by music!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Deane Grammar School

In April 1970 I moved to my new school, Deane Grammar School! I only had a term to complete my GCE's. The crazy thing was that Deane had a completely different uniform it was blue instead of Maroon. The Headmaster, Mr Atkinson insisted that everyone had the correct uniform, so had uniform inspections. During the exam period we only had to in for the exams, so it was pointless my mother buying a new uniform. Finally, after an assembly one day in June they had a uniform inspection, so my form got together and decided not to come in again apart from exams and that is what we did. A sad end really to my time at school. I missed some of my teachers Mr Eccles, (Spanish), Mr Worthington (Chemistry), Mr Worthington (English), Mr Bristow (Physics), Mr Fray (Metalwork) even Miss Barber!

This photo was taken after I left Deane, but some of my teachers are on the photo. 

I had some great fun with Mr Bristow in Physics. I started a Radio Club and at lunch times we came into the Physics lab to build stuff. I was building and oscilloscope (which I never finished) and brought some of my radio stuff in from home to solder. I remember one day playing with a green night viewer where we connected 800 volts onto it to make it work! Fun days!

Hayward Bilateral School

This is the only photo I have seen of my old school. It later became Bolton South Sixth Form College and both my children went there when they left school. lots of memories in the photo. The Sun Lounge on the ground floor where the entrance is, the Library on the top floor and Staff room on the first floor.
I remember playing 'knife stretch' on the lawn in front and getting caught and made to write an essay called 'Those who live by the sword will die by the sword'. I cycled to school sometimes (I can't believe I did that!) I left my bike on the right of the building where they had concrete blocks with groves to sit the wheel. On the left was the Tech Drawing Room (bottom), Miss Barber's English room (1st floor) and the Art room where this horrible woman teacher slapped me across the face for nothing at all! My form rooms where on the other side of the building. 

This photo is the other side of the building! Taken in the 1980's I only know one or two of the teachers. I can see Mr James and Mr Earp. I can see my first Form Room (B12) at the front on the first floor and B17 which is the top floor at the back. That was my Form Room for two years and also my Maths room.
In my 5th Year we moved to Deane Grammar School, there I took my GCE's. A crazy time, we had to walk between Hayward and Deane for different lessons because Deane was not finished.

A nice photo of Hayward Base in 1968, I am probably on this photo somewhere! 'B' Block is on the left along with the playground where we played football every dinner time.