11 Newbattle Terrace Edinburgh
11 Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh, was revealed as the secret location to which the BBC in Scotland would have fallen back to in the event that Britain had been invaded by Germany during World War II. Its purpose would have been to broadcast messages of defiance to organised resistance groups, and it would have been part of a secret radio network planned by the BBC and the Government.
The Scottish site would have been joined by another in a Methodist church in Newcastle upon Tyne (to cover the north of England), one in a bunker in a house in Kidderminster (to cover the Midlands), one in the Constitutional Club in Aberdare (to cover Wales), while Broadcasting House in London would initially have been abandoned for the basement of Selfridge’s department store at 200 Oxford Street before the broadcasters fell back to a private house in Maida Vale.
Known as Operation Stronghold, and described as a network of guerilla radio stations, a committee was established to set up these emergency studios, fully equipped and ready to begin operation at any time. Had Britain been invaded, the aim was to have recognisable voices on the radio, with well-known people such as Alvar Lidell and JB Priestley broadcasting instructions to the population with regard to resistance, sabotage, and other such subversive activities.
Television broadcasts had been suspended with the declaration of war, and Britain's first television producer, DH Munro, advised the BBC's studio equipment committee regarding Stronghold. Material from Munro's archive revealed how the secret studios were requisitioned, set up, and then restored to their original condition after the war ended, leaving no evidence of their existence.
The information came to light when Munro's archive was acquired by a collector of early television technology, Michael Bennett-Levy.
This story was featured in an article in The Independent of May 2, 2000.
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