BECG buys building to house its museum

The Broadcast Engineering Conservation Group (BECG), a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), is pleased to announce that we have bought a building at Hemswell Cliff near Lincoln to house our collection of historically significant broadcasting equipment.

This purchase will allow us to create the Broadcast Engineering Museum. As part of this great attraction we intend to build period TV studios to demonstrate our unique collection of broadcast equipment in a working environment. This ranges from the early days of TV through the pioneering decades of the 1950s and ‘60s up to the advent of the high-definition and digital era.

Our collection includes a large number of historic cameras, many of which are in working order. These range from a camera that televised Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation in 1953, through early 4 tube colour cameras right up to the 1990s and beyond, when solid-state sensors finally superseded camera tubes. Much other equipment will be shown working, including videotape recorders and telecine machines.

One of our EMI 2001 four-tube colour cameras. Part of a BECG display in Birmingham to mark 50 years of colour on BBC1 and ITV

We also have several operational outside broadcast vehicles from the 1950s to the 1980s that were originally owned by the BBC and ITV companies.

‘Big Bertha’, as she’s affectionately known, dates from 1967 and is the oldest surviving colour OB truck. Restored to full working order with up to four Marconi Mk VII cameras

This will be the first time in UK TV history that the public will have access to a collection of this calibre. It will have a special appeal to those just starting a career in TV who can see how things used to be done. TV professionals who were there at the time, as well as anybody with an interest in broadcasting, should also find this a fascinating insight into the golden days of TV broadcasting.

Our new building is also of historical significance. It was originally the Sergeants’ Mess at the former RAF Hemswell, built in the 1930s. We have almost 30,000 square feet of floor space set in 2 acres of grounds. Many of the other former RAF buildings are now the largest antiques centre in Europe.

BECG has come this far thanks to generous donations from people who are committed to the preservation of our behind-the-camera TV heritage.

Phil Nott, BECG marketing manager, said: “This is an exciting moment, however we face a massive challenge in the restoration of our building and the creation of the museum. Therefore we will be seeking funding from organisations and individuals who want to help us in our mission to show and expand the finest collection of TV broadcast equipment in the world”.