The up-and-down story of the TV mast at Emley Moor

For 64 years it has towered above the moors of the West Riding, an immovable beacon whose signal reaches two million TV aerials. Immovable, that is, but for the night it fell down.

1970:

One of the men with a head for heights at Emley Moor is Mr. Fred Price, who is in charge of site construction on the new TV mast.

This picture, taken at a height of 910ft. from the top of the tower, gives the impression of an aerial view.
1970: One of the men with a head for heights at Emley Moor is Mr. Fred Price, who is in charge of site construction on the new TV mast. This picture, taken at a height of 910ft. from the top of the tower, gives the impression of an aerial view.

There have been three towers at Emley Moor, and together they have taken Yorkshire from black-and-white to high-definition digital broadcasting.

The original lattice structure was replaced in the mid-1960s by a taller, tubular steel mast held in place by guy lines.

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It was that one which in March 1969, collapsed under the weight of the ice that had formed around it, and crashed to the ground. Yorkshire Television was forced off the air and almost out of business by the lost advertising revenue, yet within 28 days a temporary mast from Sweden had restored the signal. It has been seldom interrupted since.

6th March 1970 The new television mast which is being built at Emley Moor seen from the air. Also in the picture are the temporary masts which are in use at the present time.

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1970: The new TV mast at Emley Moor, near Huddersfield, soars up through low cloud as John Orton and Derek Miller, framed in the broken section of the old mast start work on cutting up copper and aluminium cable. Work on clearing the wreckage of the old mast, which was brought down by snow and ice, was delayed while the committee of inquiry completed investigations. Now 'operation Clear-Up' has been given the go ahead and work on clearing the wrecakge as started. The move has been welcomed by villagers who have had their peace and quiet disturbed, particularly at weekends when souvenir hunters and scrap metal scavengers searched through the ruins of the lattice type mast.

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Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson, Editor

31st March 1969: The temporary mast being winched off the ship from Sweden.
1978: In the transmitter hall, shift engineer Barrie Caffell checks over one of the spare klystrons. It is the klystron which amplifies the signal 50,000 times before passing it to the aerials for final transmission.
The view from the uppermost lift platform when descending by ladder inside the tower.
Engineer-in-Charge Mr Lamb showing photo of the Armchair Theatre set at Emley Moor mast on its open day in August 1956.
Emley Moor mast staff pictured in August 1956.
Thee wreckage of the Emley Moor mast in March 1969
The shadow of Emley Moor Mast pointing towards Dewsbury, from the viewing platform at 856ft
Monitoring all the country's TV channels at the Emley Moor site next to the mast.