February 5th 2008

From Cliff White via John Vigar comes this picture of PTA1 – it’s their 50th Anniversary this year.


Back Row, Left to Right

Osborne J.F.V.P., James F.A.F., Lock R.C., Pulford R.C., Howse D.J., Cranefield D.H., Williams M.B., Brindley A.J., Bird P.

Middle Row, Left to Right

Dunmall D.R., Mount D.J., Hiscox R.E., Lewis R., Lawson J.L., Bartlett M.J., Wynne J.W., Vigar A.J. Palmer J.A

Front Row, Left to Right

Thomas D.P., Tristem D.J., Gittins R.W., Hussey A.G., White C.J., Mead P.E.J.

I am attaching a photograph of a group of young men who joined the BBC back in 1958. We were among the first ever school-leavers in this country who did not have to do National Service.
Until then, the BBC always took on engineering staff who had a Services or University background, so we were the very first eighteen-year-olds to be employed by BBC Television.

This happened on Monday 13th October 1958, when what became known as “Junior PTA Course Number One” were given a weeks introductory tour of all the engineering departments in London, then dispersed to London and the Regions to become pioneers (and guinea-pigs!) in the task of educating youngsters to the highest levels of BBC Engineering standards.

Half a century later, of course, a very special anniversary is looming, and some of us were wondering if the BBC itself would be interested in helping us to celebrate this momentous occasion by organising a grand reunion. We would obviously need a lot of assistance from the BBC and the BBC Pensioners Association to track down the whereabouts of all the (surviving) members of
this very first intake, and perhaps a little bit of sponsorship in arranging a date and a venue would be nice, too!

In the first instance I would be grateful if you could publish this letter and photo in Ariel, Prospero, and on the Heritage website and then, depending on the response we get, we will take the project up to the next level.

January 14th 2008

Keith Graham (see entry for December 16th) has sent me a couple of pictures of the Ampex sign from ground level. You can find a link to them from Beginnings, Ampex, and click on AMPEX sign at the bottom of the page, or go direct from here!

December 20th 2007

May I wish all Oldboys and visitors a very “Merry Christmas, VT!”, and put on record my thanks to Howard Dell & Geoff Higgs for their stirling work in checking (and finding) errors and typos on the website. Also, a big thanks to all of you, worldwide, who have sent me stories, pictures, clips and reminiscences – without you there would be no oldboys website.

Those of you who are already members of the BBC Pensioners Association may have seen the reference to this website in the latest Newsletter. Nick Whines, who is the Association’s Secretary, has asked if I can point out the advantages of being a member, and to this end I have added a link to their website on the Links page.


December 16th 2007

Apologies to any visitor getting strange Search results (see also December 14th). The deletion of the old website files didn’t totally solve this problem, but I think/hope that it has now been fixed. The odd results appear to have also been caused by the failure of the search facility to erase old cached data. I’ve had a serious word with it and things should be improved – but it may take a few days to sort itself out.

ampexIn the Guest Book, Keith Graham mentioned the original Ampex factory in Redwood City and the sign. I have asked Keith to get a ground level photo of it in the New Year for the record, but, for the time being, here it is courtesy of Microsoft Virtual Earth. Its actual location is at 1228 Douglas, Redwood City, California.

December 14th 2007

Today marks the end of the link to the original Oldboys website, and all its files have been removed from the server. This has been causing problems with our search engine and producing rather weird results.
The old link button had been renamed Happenings, and I hope to provide a, sort of, diary here recording the odd contacts and information that has no specific place on the website. So do check in regularly! New information will be added at the top so there shouldn’t be too much scrolling. Everything will be kept.

sydHoward (Dell) reports that, on Thursday, he had a very good lunch with, amongst others, Syd Lotterby (right)

On the subject of lunches, the next A40 Faction lunch has been set for Thursday, March 13th 2008 at the usual venue, The Stag at Chorleywood.

At the recent Christmas Lunch at Surbiton, John Martin asked me to promote the next 40s & 50s (and others!) lunch at Glenmore House on May 22nd 2008. More details when we get them. Nick Martin is hoping to produce some pages for this website detailing future events.  You can find full details in Future Events.