Pebble Mill Site – Tom Poole

PM site Tom Poole










Photo by Tom Poole, no reproduction without permission.

Tom got up around 5.30am to take this photo of the still vacant Pebble Mill site, 8 years after the BBC studios were demolished!

Memories of Wood Norton

The following memories of BBC technical training at Wood Norton were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

Pete Simpkin: ‘I was at Wood Norton in the mid 60s and our engineerng course TA16 was the first engineer group to be allowed to produce a show in the famous Gym studio.  It was relayed to the club in Evesham. I was Floor manager……we evn had to design our own captions!’

Take a look at the following 360 degree photo of Wood Norton, by Tom Poole:

Stuart Gandy: ‘As an engineer my first 3 months in the BBC were at Wood Norton on my A course in 1979. Part of the A course for us TV engineers was to make a programme in the studio at Wood Norton trying out the different roles. In those days there were always a lot of trainees there and for our course we could not use the studio there as it was fully booked, so we had to come up to Birmingham University studio for 3 days. Whilst there we had the chance to visit ‘a proper TV studio’, that was Pebble Mill of course, one of the BBC’s most iconic buildings. It was an interesting visit especially for those of us like me that would be starting there later on. Who would have ever thought back then that 25 years later it would be gone!’

Gordon Astley: ‘Wood Norton was my rite of passage.’

Demolition of Pebble Mill

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

This photo was taken in 2005, when BBC Pebble Mill was being demolished.

Thanks to Tom Poole for making the photo available.

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

Gary Hale: ‘Sacrilege! It breaks your heart.’

Tracy Crump: ‘so sad was the end of an era and so may memories.  Such a sad waste I finished working ther in 1992 but thought it would be there for a long time , BBC should hang there heads in shame !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

Tom Poole: ‘Not my shot, but a shot which some folk at the BBC should look hard at and ask the question whether they made a good decision when they destroyed the place. It wasnt just a building which was taken away. What was the cost of this decision? After many years as a pile of rubble they are replacing it with a dental hospital.’

Hilary Hughes: ‘Think they made a huge mistake with the whole thing x very sad and lost a whole load of talent in x that’s letting accountants run the business. The building did have asbestos but when I was speaking to the guys who looked after the building (can’t remember the company name but that was another ‘contracted out’ job) they said it would have been cheaper to stay and get rid of the asbestos, than knock it down, move location and not pay the peppercorn rent x like I said before, that’s what happens when the accountants take over. Beeb made a booboo and couldn’t go back on it without getting egg on their face and wasting licence payers money.’

Mike Eastman: ‘What a shambles ! Who made this ridiculous decision ? We are supposed to be the ‘Second City’ and should have large studios to represent the BBC in the Midlands.’

Helen Smith: ‘It is a sad picture. Many peoples life times were spent in that building. I just take the experience and happy memories.’

Peter Poole: ‘I remember contractors removing asbestos near Studio B. I can’t remember the year, but it was a very hot summer. The air con had to be switched off. The temperature in the gallery was almost unbearable. The studio was even worse, lights were turned off when running VT. Most people were dressed in t shirts and shorts. Even some presenters had shorts on behind the desk! One evening during a live Midlands Today the vision mixer started to switch randomly between cameras and VTs. This was traced to the electronics rack in TAR overheating. The engineers managed to cool it down by pointing fans at it. I think a CO2 fire extinguisher was also used. This seemed to work and the mixer was soon back in action.’

Caroline Parson: ‘Interesting that this photo provokes so much feeling about the loss of BBC Birmingham. I can’t imagine there’ll be anything like the same reaction to a semi-empty Mailbox photo, which is the real end of BBC Brum. I have felt bereft twice! It’s a horrible atmosphere in the mailbox now, much worse than you can imagine. What a sad, drawn out and totally un-necessary demise.’

Dawn Trotman: ‘It is truly awful.’

Pebble Mill Road – Tom Poole






Photo from Tom Poole, no reproduction without permission.

This 360 degree photo is of the front of the Pebble Mill building, including Pebble Mill Road.

Pebble Mill Roof – Tom Poole

Photo from Tom Poole, no reproduction without permission.

This 360 degree photo shows the roof of Pebble Mill, including satellite dish.

‘My view from 6th floor was kinda great, the trees of Edgbaston a view of the Uni clock tower and the cricket ground.

They destroyed a lot more than just a building when they made the expensive decision to move to Mailbox!’

Tom Poole