Plan of Pebble Mill Basement – John Madin

D0123_John Madin












Negative, Basement Plan, 1971. This digital resource is available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 3.0 license, with kind permission of the Birmingham & Five Counties Architectural Association Trust, thanks to the Architectus project (part of the Jisc Content Programme 2011-13).

Plan of Pebble Mill’s basement from 1971, by architect John Madin.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook group about the basement:

Stuart Gandy: ‘We had an engineering store room down there. It was right beneath studio A, and quite a trek to get to up some steps and down some others. It was quite an Aladdin’s cave of stuff that had been pensioned off never to be seen again. Every now and again attempts were made to sort it out and it was at it its best just before we moved out!’

Peter Poole: ‘The echo plate room was down there. Also two sub-stations to ensure mains power. If this failed batteries would give a limited supply until the generator started.’

Andrew Hewkin: ‘I went down, with permission, after most staff had left, to see if there was anything worth salvaging. There were literally thousands of sound effects discs, some 78s, many 7-inch. Enough to fill several skips, which is probably what happened.’

Diane Reid: ‘Used as a music location on more than one occasion’

Charles White: ‘it was always rumoured there was a nuclear bunker down there, and a shooting range, true or false ?’

Peter Poole: ‘I fully explored the basement and found no evidence of a nuclear bunker.’

Giles Herbert: ‘The range was not purpose built: It was the passage that ran under to corridor from the bottom of the goods lift by Studio A scene door and ended up near the steps up to the approach to the loading bay outside the security office.’

Children in Need, Confession – Giles Herbert

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission















If any of the readers ever wondered what we were doing in the back foyer by the lifts, this was a crucial part.  With aerials strung from the roof, members of the Ariel Radio Group would talk to the world (and Selly Oak) with the intention of involving others in the event.

Within Amateur Radio, special events can be commemorated by unique and short term individual Call Signs and GB0CIN was one such.  The picture is the front of a commemorative post card called a QSL Card.  These provided the person contacted with a connection to the event and were very popular!

If anyone involved in “On the House” can remember back that far, several years running the security lights added to the structure as part of the D.I.Y. second series mysteriously failed on over a weekend in late autumn:  I can now reveal that it was my fault!  Morse transmissions made via an overhead temporary aerial were the reason and I heard a rumour at the time, that the manufacturers came and could never trace the reason why a relay should have welded itself up in the on position!  We had removed the aerials over the weekend and when the investigation took place, no evidence of cause remained.

Giles Herbert

The following comments were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

Peter Poole: ‘I was introduced to the joys of amateur radio by one of the Technical Managers. I think it was Bob , can’t remember his surname. Anyone remember him?’

Giles Herbert: ‘Bob Stacey no relation to Gavin I hazard to guess! It could have been George too as both are licensed.’

Pebble Mill letterhead

BBC Letterhead GH







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

Here’s the ‘BBC in the Midlands’ letterhead for Pebble Mill, courtesy from Giles Herbert.

This version of the BBC logo dates from 1988, and was designed by Michael Peters. The BBC wanted a stronger corporate brand image, for use on and off air. The design harks back to earlier BBC logos, but with slanted boxes.  The three colours represent the phosphors of a colour television (the primary colours of light).

Allowance Rate Card

allowance rates GH












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

This is an allowance rate sheet from 1982. It shows the amount of expenses due to staff if using their own car on business mileage, as well as rates for meals taken away from base, and the rules around consecutive days off.

Thanks to Giles Herbert for making this allowance rate sheet available.


Attachment Allowance Claim Form

TandD claim form GH

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

Thanks to Giles Herbert for making this 1988 Transfer/Attachment Allowance Claim Form available.

Staff going on Attachment (when staff were transferred temporarily to another department, often in another building elsewhere in the country) would fill in these forms to claim the allowances they were due.

The Attachment scheme was a great way for staff to develop, and try out departments and jobs they might always have wanted to work in, but without either the member of staff or the new department having to commit permanently to the arrangement.  It allowed many members of staff to move from into more challenging positions.

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

Andrew Godsall: ‘I didn’t do attachments at Pebble Mill but did two when I was in London. It was just a great system that allowed you to broaden your horizons in all kinds of ways. It was really forward thinking and one of the best things about being a member of BBC staff.’

Steve Dellow: ‘Hmm…sounds like an good excuse to go in my loft and dig out some T&DE forms, and some of John Malby’s excellent Radio Links planning sheets! Sched A anyone?! My favourites were the Cash Advance forms! ‘

Fiona Barton: ‘What about leave forms – remember when we got bisque (sp?) days? And ERR forms…extra responsibility reward – when did they go?’

Bex Pitt: ‘I used to work for Relocation Unit in Cardiff when it transferred from London. It inspired me to move to Pebble Mill!!’

Stuart Gandy: ‘and remember the cash office on the 6th floor where we often used to collect the results of these forms.’

Andrew Godsall: ‘Oh there were disturbed meal break forms and short turn around between shift forms too….what were they called?’

Stuart Gandy: ‘It was an MHW, meal hour work-through.’

Peter Poole: ‘ERR is extra responsibility reward. It’s paid to staff working at a level above their job description.’

Dave Bushell: ‘As I remember, ERR was calculated by some esoteric formula which meant that even is you were a Technical Assistant standing in for the DG, you only got about an extra 45p a day.’

Pete Simpkin: ‘When I was an engineer I once was away from base for three days covering a cricket match and whilst there had to record the audition of a would-be commentator. In those days each recording had to be accompanied by a recording report . I duly filled this in including the mileage details base to OB site in miles etc.and including the details of the mileage. I missed a tiny box labelled ‘shared’ (with the OB) so when expenses received it my boss was reprimanded for letting me loose on exes for three days including two overnights for a twenty minute recording! Happy days!’

Gail Herbert: ‘Attachments – weren’t they wonderful! I had a terrific year in London at TVC in 1980 working for costume allocations. It was a great place to be then, so vibrant, & I met some lovely people who I sadly lost contact with over the years. Even got to visit the Top of the Pops stuido on a regular basis and stand next to the likes of Rod Stewart. TVC was under seige on those days but it was great fun. And yes, Jimmy Savile was creepy!!!’

Peter Poole: ‘I remember the “Stop Knocking” form. This was given to anyone doing noisy building work. They then had to stop work for the duration of the recording session.’
Susan Astle: ‘We, in make up and costume, had loads of disturbed meal break claims! Susie Bankers.’