My fourteen-year-old foster daughter asked me one day what kind of TV programs did you watch when you were my age. My answer was simple, ‘well dear when I was your age, we did not have a Television. “What do you mean you did not have Television what did you do then?” Came the incredulous reply.
I replied that we went out to the park and read books. Again, there was an incredulous response this time more a rhetorical question than a real question it was ‘Read books’ an almost high-pitched statement of what to her was an impossible incredible answer from me.
The reality is that although Television came to the UK in the 1920s see below: The first major experiments with television in the UK took place in the mid-1920s with John Logie Baird’s work on mechanical television. In March 1925 Baird demonstrated a basic 30 line transmission using a ventriloquist dummy named Stooky Bill in Selfridges shop window in London. (30 lines is the lowest resolution at which it is possible to make out a human face) Between 1929 and 1935 Baird worked with the BBC to produce and transmit
programs using his 30 line system. However, in November 1936 the BBC began to alternate Baird’s improved 240 line mechanical system with the Marconi-EMI electrical scanning system, which was capable of transmitting at 405 lines. (The first High Definition transmission). This continued until February 1937 when the Baird system was discontinued. The Marconi-EMI system continued in use until the outbreak of war in 1939 when transmissions were discontinued for the duration of the war.
Very few people had a television I
did not know of anyone who had one, apart from the fact that I did hear that the queen had a set. So Television was not an option, we got our news from newspapers, and the Radio and it was not unusual for a family to sit around and listen to a radio program, like a drama as a family, much as later people would do with Television.
As a younger child I can remember being sent to bed, but creeping back and sitting on the stairs of our house and listening to a drama called ‘journey into space’ the radio was just inside our kitchen so if the kitchen door was ajar I could hear well. For a youngster, the program was scary and probably gave me nightmares. Later as a teenager along with other of my age, we learned to tune our radio sets to Radio Luxembourg, which during the day broadcast from the country of Luxembourg in French but in the later evening it switched to a pop music station in English. It was our only connection in those days to pop music. Later for those who know about these things the push for music stations, particularly pop, created a new industry in the UK of Pirate Radio Stations. These were Radio stations that broadcast from ships, anchored just of the shore, that is beyond the legal limit of UK sea, which I think was the 12 miles, and broadcast back into the UK loads of the top pops, busting the record/music industry, and creating a great source of income from advertisers wanting to access the airwaves, which under BBC regulations was not allowed.
It should be remembered too, that when television did stat there was only one station, BBC and everything was in black and white, and the broadcast was only for a limited amount of hours per day.
For Indian Web site.