Alexandra Palace

Alexandra-PalaceThe Alexandra Palace television station in North London (grid reference TQ297901) is one of the oldest television transmission sites in the world. What was at the time called “high definition” (405-line) TV broadcasts on VHF were beamed from this mast from 1936 until the outbreak of World War II.

It then lay dormant until it was used very successfully to foil the German Y-Gerät radio navigation system during the last stages of the Battle of Britain. After the war, it was reused for television until 1956, when it was superseded by the opening of the BBC’s new main transmitting station for the London area at Crystal Palace. In 1982 Alexandra Palace became an active transmitting station again, with the opening of a relay transmitter to provide UHF television service to parts of North London poorly covered from Crystal Palace.
The transmitter is owned and maintained by Arqiva.

In 1935 the trustees leased part of the palace to the BBC for use as the production and transmission centre for their new BBC Television Service.
The antenna was designed by Charles Samuel Franklin of the Marconi Company.

The world’s first public broadcasts of (then) “high-definition” television were made from Alexandra Palace in 1936, an event which is alluded to by the rays in the modern coat of arms of the London Borough of Haringey.
Two competing systems, Marconi-EMI’s 405-line system and John Logie Baird’s 240-line system, were installed, each with its own broadcast studio, and were transmitted on alternate weeks until the 405-line system was chosen in 1937.

alexandraThe palace continued as the BBC’s main transmitting centre for London until 1956, interrupted only by the Second World War when the transmitter found an alternative use jamming German bombers’ navigation systems (it is said that only 25% of London raids were effective because of these transmissions). In 1944 a German doodlebug exploded just outside the organ end of the Great Hall and blew in the Rose Window, leaving the organ exposed to the elements.
Between 1947 and 1948 the Ministry of Works employed a team which included architect E. T. Spashett to facilitate repairs to the building, including replacing the rose window.

In the early 1960s an outside broadcast was made from the very top of the tower, in which the first passage of a satellite across the London sky was watched and described. It continued to be used for BBC News broadcasts until 1969, and for the Open University until the early 1980s. The antenna mast still stands and is used for local terrestrial television transmission, local commercial radio and DAB broadcasts. The main London television transmitter is now at Crystal Palace in south London.

Analogue television is no longer transmitted from Alexandra Palace. BBC Two was closed on UHF 64 on 4 April 2012, when ITV1 temporarily moved into its frequency.
The remaining three analogue services closed down on 18 April 2012.

Channels listed by frequency
Analogue Radio (FM)
103.3 MHz 0.05 kW – London Greek Radio
107.1 MHz 0.1kW – Choice FM

Digital Radio (DAB)
Frequency Block kW Operator
218.640 MHz 11B 0.2 DRG London
222.064 MHz 11D 2.0 Digital One
223.936 MHz 12A 0.1 Switch London
225.648 MHz 12B 3.2 BBC National DAB
227.360 MHz 12C 0.25 CE London

Digital Terrestrial Television (Freeview)
Frequency UHF kW  System
698.000 MHz (BBC A) 49 0.07 DVB-T
738.000 MHz (BBC B) 54 0.07 DVB-T2
770.000 MHz (Digital 3&4) 58 0.07 DVB-T
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