BBC Birmingham Studio Centre, Broad Street -Philip Morgan

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 half-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.

Philip Morgan












Brian Johnson adds the following comment on the Facebook page:  ‘I worked in the TV control room at Broad Street (then called Switching Centre) at the time that BBC 2 was just starting colour transmissions. At that time the Sound Control Room was separate and on a different floor. The two were combined into the Communications Centre when it was all moved to Pebble Mill.’

Jock Gallagher blog

Considering the glorious sound and fury the network radio team created at Pebble Mill down the years, I’m sorry that there are so few contributions from the wireless wonders.

I was editor and then Head of Network Radio for the best part of twenty years (1970-89), and I can recall an astonishing array of talent that passed through the radio studios both in front of and behind the mic. When I started with the Beeb in 1966 (pre Pebble Mill), I worked in the Broad Street newsroom for the fiercesome Glaswegian Jack Johnston and was regularly saved from his wrath by Roy Ronnie and Sam Shaw!  Despite Jack’s attempt to fire me, I survived and thrived well enough to climb the greasy pole and had a key part in the move into Pebble Mill in 1970. In fact, when Alan Rees (Head of the Centre at the time) became ill, I got lumbered with the whole fandango of the royal opening of the building.

So…I have a shedload of memories but is there anyone out there who wants to hear them?

It would be nice to hear from some of the old school but I warn you, I won’t need too much encouragement to shout my mouth off!

Jock Gallagher (Pebble Mill from the beginning until 1989)

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 Today’.

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.

Regional News Opt-Out – photos by Jim Knights

Photos by Jim Knights, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are of a regional news opt out programme recorded in Berlin, and presumably about the Berlin Wall.  Jim Knights was the cameraman, and appears in most of the programmes.  The programme was probably produced at Pebble Mill, although it may pre-date the Pebble Mill years, and be from when the Birmingham newsroom was in Broad Street.

Please add a comment if you can identify other people in the photos, can date it, or add more information.