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  Mike Todd

Broadcasting House
A potted history

BH-sketchThe British Broadcasting Corporation's headquarters are in the Portland-stone clad building at the top of Regent Street in central London. It is a magnificent building, built with Art Deco features in the 1930s, and the distinctive front view of the building is a worldwide icon for the BBC.

I joined the BBC in 1969, and have worked in BH since the mid 1970s. I was Broadcast Duty Manager when I retired in 2005, and the nature of the job was such that I and my immediate colleagues probably knew more about what goes on in the building than anyone else on site. Its history is something that we see every day, but perhaps know less about. These pages are my attempt at pulling together a view of the site from before BH was built - I'll leave others to document the history of the building from then until now.

Although time hasn't allowed me to fulfil my original ambition of getting a full description of the building as it was at the time of opening, I hope to add to this in the future - so this section of the site is definitely work in progress.

BBC historians (most notably in my view, Asa Briggs and Edward Pawley), have described many aspects of its construction and its use. I have used their material, plus anything else I can get my hands on - I just hope it proves interesting (the many emails I've had suggest that it has done, and please let me know if you have anything you can add).

Oh yes ... why, you may ask, do I start the BBC's history in 1214? Because the shape of the area, its streets and other buildings, are all in one way or another dependent on what went before.

And why stop at 1932? Because there's a lot more information elsewhere than I can put together here ... however, I have added a section about the BBC at war. It is very much a "work in progress", but it does have some information on the Stronghold at Broadcasting House.

Before Broadcasting House was built
  Long before radio was invented - 1214
From the mid 18th century - 1755
Langham Place takes shape - 1811
The BBC is born - 1922
The building is designed and built
  Broadcasting House is born - 1927
Broadcasting House is opened - 1932
Studios and Offices
The BBC at war (under construction)
  War and the BBC
The BH Stronghold