Monday, 2 November 2009

P. F. Butcherd, eletrical, radio and television engineers, Seaford

Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the BBC Television Service (which has since then become BBC One). The BBC had broadcasted the first ever television programme on September 30, 1929, but for a few years did so irregularly and using the signals normally used for its radio programmes. Then on November 2, 1936 the Television Service, which broadcasted from Monday to Saturday from 15:00 to 16:00, and from 21:00 to 22:00, was launched. As the Beeb writes on its website:
1936 World’s first ever TV service launched
The world's first public broadcasts of high-definition television are made by the BBC from Alexandra Palace in 1936. Two competing systems, Marconi-EMI's 405-line system and Baird's 240-line system, are installed, each with its own broadcast studio, and are transmitted on alternate weeks until the 405-line system is chosen in 1937.
With such systems the absolutely amazing images of Life, the nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough, would have looked... less spectacular; but at the time the few people who had access to a TV set certainly found this technological development quite astonishing! The number of viewers would have been extremely limited indeed. Just under 19,000 TV sets were manufactured between 1936 and the beginning of the Second World War, when production was interrupted (in any case, the television service was taken off the air until June 1946 ). It was only in the 1950s and 1960s that the number households equiped with a TV set increased dramatically: from 15,000 in 1947, to 1.4 million in 1952, and 15.1 million by 1968.
By then almost every single town in the country had at least one shop selling and repairing radio and TV sets, as well as record players and other electrical equipments. One of them was Butcherd's in Seaford.

P. F. Butcherd
Electrical, Radio
Television Engineers
Estabd 1925 Phone 2383 [?]
HMV Brunswick
Columbia Decca
Parlophone Regal

Unfortunately this sign is well-hidden in a dark corner, and it was quite late when I spotted it. After walking along the coast from Eastbourne, we stopped on Seaford Head to enjoy the view over the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters in the late afternoon light and only made it to Seaford just as the sun disappeared. Not the ideal condition for a good picture! I'll have to try again next time we'll be there.

Location: Clinton Place, Seaford / Picture taken on: 25/07/2009

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