Tony Newbury

Photo of Tony Newbury and the late Geoff Watts, by Ian Collins, circa 1972. No reproduction without permission.

Photo by John Williams, circa 1974. No reproduction without permission.



































Tony Newbury died 20thDec 2018 at the Q.E. Hospital.

The following information about Tony is from John Duckmanton, who was a friend of Tony’s since the early 1970s.

Tony was an electronics engineer, he was in the armed forces before he joined the BBC. He worked at the BBC in the 1960s at Carpenter Rd and Broad St, and then at Pebble Mill. He was an inventive and very practical man who built a house in Evesham with Geoff Watts. This gave him a taste for building, and so he left the BBC and became a builder, building bungalows and houses in West Midlands. Tony was a very strong man. There was a fireplace in the Evesham house which needed to be taken upstairs, about 6 of his friends, including John came round and carried it upstairs, when it was up there Tony just put it under one arm and carried it into the bedroom, as if it weighed almost nothing. He was also famous for his tables. He felt that the legs were always in the wrong place, and therefore designed a table with no legs, which was cantilevered from the wall –and incredibly strong.

John remembers an occasion when Tony built a talkback box in the early days of wireless talkback. He was given a talkback in a flimsy plastic box with batteries that lasted around 30mins and asked to rebuild it. As with many things he over specced the modification, ending up with a much bigger box about the size of a house brick, but it was much more robust and with very long-lasting batteries. On another occasion the problem was an insufficiently bright programme countdown clock, when Tony had finished with it, there were complaints that it was too bright and causing reflections on everything!

When Tony worked at the studios in Broad Street he had an old mini whose sliding windows made it very easy to break into. Tony’s solution was to install a fuel switch under the front seat, so that if it wasn’t pressed the fuel supply would cut out after a few hundred yards. He would regularly go searching for it close to Broad Street, if it wasn’t where he’d parked it, as the thieves never found the fuel switch. Once he couldn’t find it, but the police found it a few days later, but said to him that they couldn’t get it started!

Tony had a kidney removed about 20yrs ago but carried on as strong as ever. Several years back, he had problems with the other kidney and needed regular dialysis, however he didn’t get on very well with dialysis and did not have as much as the hospital thought he should. He died from complications with his kidney condition just before Christmas.

Becky Harris

Photo of Becky Harris circa 1985. Thanks to Rani Randhawa for sharing the photo.

Becky Harris sadly died in December 2017, aged 83.

Becky joined the BBC when she was only 14, and worked for the Corporation for over 40 years. Even after she retired, she went back to work for the BBC part time! She worked in different departments over the years, starting in the post room at Carpenter Road, and including working for a Miss Bastipol (sp?) in Personnel, who was apparently very strict. She also worked in the Cash Office at Pebble Mill, as a clerk in Personnel, as secretary to the canteen manager, who I think was Stephen Davies, and for Children in Need. She was never reluctant to pick up new skills – Rani Randhawa in personnel ‘got her on the computer’. Becky knew everyone, and loved working for the Corporation, she would go to work even when she was ill, and regarded the BBC as her second home. She was particularly proud when photographed for the local paper with Ross King, to celebrate her service of 40 years.

Thanks to her daughter, Mandy Scholes, for sharing Becky’s story. Mandy herself worked for the BBC, because of Becky, who introduced her to the right people!

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Rani Randhawa: ‘Kind, hard-working and a very funny lady – I worked with her for many many years and what she didn’t know about filing – wasn’t worth knowing.’

Marie Phillips: ‘Becky was quite simply not A Gem but THE GEM and a friend. She was unusual in loving filing and establishing systems. An absolute Master of the filing cabinet ! My Children in Need paperwork was immaculate in her hands;. she could lay her hands immediately on what was wanted. Becky and I had such fun. A loyal BBC stalwart dearly loved and missed.’

Stephen Davies: ‘I’ll remember Becky for the enormous pride and pleasure she took from her work, which she did brilliantly; and for being a wonderful friend and colleague to everyone she worked with at Pebble Mill.’

BBC Landrover and Eagle Tower













Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

The photograph shows two men working on a Marconi Mk3 camera belonging to MCR 15 or 16. Is anyone able to identify them? In the background are two Midlands Eagle Tower radio links vehicles. The Landrover was registered in 1967, so the photo might have been taken at Carpenter Road. If you can add any more information, please add a comment.

Thanks to Robin Stonestreet to letting me know about this photograph.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Malcolm Hickman: ‘It’s certainly a Midland tower in front, but I don’t recognise the location or the two guys. There were 3 land rovers in Brum in the early 70s. Two on links, one long and one short wheelbase with no side windows and a sound OB with windows. All had BBC Midland logos on. Plus there is a white building in the background, Carpenter Road was red brick. Kendal Avenue was white painted.’

David Kirkwood: ‘Fond memories of the Marconi Mk3. Not sure it’s Birmingham though equally not sure where else they still used that camera in 1967?

Glynne Dummett: ‘Operated the Eagle Tower many times, was a bitch to drive with the cage forever banging on the cab roof.’

Keith Brook (aka Scouse): ‘ Remember the Marconi from my Ally Pally days. Such fun when I sent the turret the ‘long way’ round!






John Cheshire

Midlands Today studio at Broad Street. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.












I have heard from Annie Gumbley Williams that John Cheshire died last Friday, 5th May 2017. This news was given to her by John Pierce. Both the Johns joined the BBC at Broad Street, and then moved to Pebble Mill in 1971, when the new building opened. John was a mechanical and electrical engineer, which is an unusual and very useful combination in broadcasting.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Malcolm Hickman: ‘John Cheshire was in Carpenter Road Mech workshop when I started in Services in 1971, before we moved to the Mill. He was always very obliging, nothing was too much trouble. A real gent. It is a sad loss.’

Colin Pierpoint: ‘The studio shown is Studio 4, which was a Radio Studio (and I remember that Charles Parker recorded Peggy Seeger and Ewan McGregor for some of his Radio Ballads – some of which I edited). Studio 4 was converted to television with instructions that we must look after the equipment (Black and white vidicon cameras) which will be moved to Pebble Mill. Needless to say they weren’t. The previous television studio at Broad Street was Studio 1 which was EVEN SMALLER!