The Control Room

The Control Room

A well-lit ‘L’-shaped room on the eighth floor, the Control Room is divided functionally into two halves. Eight control desks are provided for rehearsals, together with their accompanying supervisory positions. The transmission section is equipped with six control desks, also with supervisory and simultaneous broadcasting positions. Along the length of the transmission section of the room are placed racks of amplifiers, each group of amplifiers fulfilling a definite function in the chain of transmission between the studios and the transmitters. 

The principles underlying the design of the Control Room have been: firstly, the provision of adequate stand-by equipment, with means of bringing it into circuit without delay should any of the equipment in use develop a fault during a transmission: secondly, switching by ‘relays’ has been exploited to enable the complete chain of transmission between any studio and any outgoing telephone to be set up in the least possible time. The room is well equipped with signalling devices to show the approximate positions of any faults which may develop.

The Control Room contains much subsidiary equipment, such as wireless check receivers, land-line testing equipment, amplifiers for distributing the outgoing programmes back to the Listening Rooms, or to various offices in the building, interval signal equipment, Greenwich Time Signal apparatus, etc. All the switching on and off of the actual microphones in the studios, with their accompanying signal lamps, amplifiers, and polarising circuits, is carried out from the Control Room. In this way one man seated at a control position is able to control all the studios in the building. The power supply is by means of batteries which are in duplicate throughout.

Aerial view of Langham Place
5 ❧ The Site from the air, showing All Souls' Church, and Queen's Hall beyond.

Eighth Floor

Looking down a long corridor with desks on the right and machinery lining the left
16 ❧ General view of the Control Room, of which the details are illustrated in the next few images. The apparatus is finished in 'battleship' grey, with stainless fittings.
4 knobs and 2 dials
17 ❧ CONTROL ROOM – Detail of a Control Position, showing a 4-channel Fade Unit.
Electric relays
18 ❧ CONTROL ROOM – Part of the Relay Bays, showing three types of relay used in amplifier switching.
Valves, dials and control knobs on a vertical bank of equipment
19 ❧ CONTROL ROOM – Two of the 'B' Amplifier Bays. The covers have been removed from a 'B' Amplifier near the top of the Bay, and from a Programme Meter Amplifier near the bottom of the Bay.
Dozens of thick cables emerge from vertical bays
20 ❧ CONTROL ROOM – Cables in the false floor, ending on terminal strips at the bottom of the 'A' Amplifier Bays and connecting them with the studios.
5 closely-spaced banks of relays
21 ❧ CONTROL ROOM – The 'B' Amplifier Input Switching Relays.
8 banks of fuses
22 ❧ CONTROL ROOM – One of the Fuse Bays.
Back view of the relays
23 ❧ CONTROL ROOM – Reverse of the 'B' Amplifier Input Switching Relays, showing the wiring.
2 banks of equipment with dials and control knobs
24 ❧ Two of the receivers used for checking the quality of transmissions.
Wiring in a large cabinet
25 ❧ The back of the Discharge Power Board, showing the massive Low Tension Busbars supported on the insulators.
A curved control panel desk with telephone and a bank of control knobs
26 ❧ One of the Dramatic Control Panels, which enables the producer of a play to mix the output of as many as eleven studios at the same time; this makes it possible, for instance, for a mixture of sounds such as shouts of a crowd, the noise of guns firing, a background of military music, and speech by individuals, to be broadcast simultaneously without the inconvenience of all the performers being in one studio.

27 ❧ The Corridor leading to Studio 8A, showing the closed doors of the studio and the mosaic floor.

28 ❧ A glimpse of the interior of Studio 8A through the open doors.

A microphone on a portable stand in the midst of a large empty space
29 ❧ General view of Studio 8A, used for the Wireless Military Band and other bands and orchestras. Note the new type of adjustable microphone-stand in the foreground, and the nest of steel chairs against the right-hand wall.
A control desk and a large speaker with an internal window to a studio; a door stands open with a single chair in the room beyond
30 ❧ Listening Room for Studio 8A: showing through the door, the Silence Room, where announcements can be made during an interval in the stduio.
Colour photograph of a desk, a chair, sofas and occasional tables
31 ❧ The Waiting Room: reproduced by courtesy of Carter & Co. Ltd., Tile Makers, Poole.
Sofas and a desk
32 ❧ The Band Room: accessory to Studio 8A.
Two armchairs, a standard lamp and flowers in a cozy room
33 ❧ Studio 8B, used for Debates and Discussions.
A small room with shelves, drawers, cupboards and a large illuminated mirror
34 ❧ The Ladies' Dressing Room.