Pre-Pebble Mill buildings – Broad Street – Dave Kirkwood

BBC Broad Street. This building stood near the canal next door to Gas Street on the Mailbox side of the road. The ground floor was used by a variety of retail outlets. There was one unit on the ground floor, which was used as a BBC Club Bar. TV switching was at the back on the Ground Floor, but unseen from the road. Upstairs on floor one you found the sound control room, telecine, film editing and sound recording suites. In 1965, when I first arrived, there was also a tiny TV studio from which ‘Midlands Today’ was broadcast, but this was soon replaced by a modern studio on the first floor, which also handled other programmes such as ‘Farming’ and programmes for the immigrant community. (Not PC today I know, but that was how they were known then). Also on this floor was the film processing lab, a radio drama studio (for ‘The Archers’) and production offices for ‘Midlands┬áToday’.

Dave Kirkwood

Gail Herbert adds the following comment: I thought the building had been knocked down and the Hyatt built in its place. There is a plaque I believe on the Hyatt Broad Street side saying this.  The staff used to use the Crown as the unofficial club.

6 comments on “Pre-Pebble Mill buildings – Broad Street – Dave Kirkwood
  1. I thought the building had been knocked down and the Hyatt built in it’s place. There is a plaque I believe on the Hyatt Broad St side saying this – might be wrong. The staff used to use the Crown as the unofficial club. You need to talk to Jim Dumighan for more info.

  2. Hi Gail, you’re probably right about this, and I’ll change the original post accordingly, and add in some of your comments. Other people have also mentioned that they thought the building had been demolished.

  3. I worked in the Newsroom at Broad Street from 1968 and then moved in 1971 to Pebble Mill. The Newsroom consisted of small connecting rooms so PM was real luxury. I have fond memories of my years there and the colleagues I worked with. I stand to be corrected but I think Roger Castles who went on to produce the Clothes Show, worked there.

  4. Hi Cathy

    Can you confirm if the Broad Street building was demolished, and if it stood where the Hyatt hotel now is?



  5. The BBC Birmingham Studio Centre was at 282 Broad Street if I recall correctly. When Pebble Mill opened it was left derelict until the 1980’s and then demolished along with the adjoining buildings to make way for the new night life developments along Broad Street. The building was not on the site of the Hyatt Hotel but somewhat further down towards Five Ways.

    One Saturday morning during the demolition I went along and asked the foreman if I could take a look and grab a souvenir. Despite the precarious nature of the site (as it was already being obliterated) he cheerfully let me go in – without a hard hat or high-vis jacket either!

    I went through the halft-timbered glass doors from Broad Street and up the staircase. The whole place was damp and musty and I explored various rooms and areas including what I believe was the former main control room. I managed to salvage a battered little wooden box with two studio warning lights which had presumably been above an entrance to one of the technical areas. It was sad to see the building in such a sorry state. I certainly never expected I would make a similar visit to its successor in the dying days of Pebble Mill.

  6. Hi Philip

    I don’t suppose you still have this wooden box with its studio warning lights? If you have it would be great to have a photo. I’d also like to post your comment as a blog in its own right. Is there anything else you’d like to add? I wonder if you have memories of visiting the building when it was still operational at all? Just email me any additional comments you’d like to add.



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