Thursday, 26 February 2015

Digging Into the Archives

Last week I posted a photo taken of the Emley Moor Telecommunication tower. It’s pretty tall, over 380m or a 1260’, and can easily be seen from the M1 motorway as you pass through West Yorkshire. If we've been “down south” once we get the first sighting of the mast we know we are almost back home.
If you look carefully at the above photo you can make out Emley Moor mast. It’s about 8 miles away. It was a little bit murky when I took the picture so the mast is a little difficult to make out. The bridge on the right carries the M1 motorway.

It was cold up on Emley Moor as we drove past the tower last week but it did set me thinking that I once took some some photos -when I was nowt but a lad - of its predecessor. These photos were taken in 1969 using old 35mm colour slides, which have since been scanned, and were taken a few days after its predecessor collapsed.
Above is one of my archive pictures taken back in March 1969. On that day, 19 March 1969, the weather on the Moors was cold, wet and windy resulting in ice forming on the mast and its supports. The structure collapsed at 17:00 that evening. At the time it was thought that the weight of ice caused the mast and its supports to collapse. 
Some of the support cables cut through the local church roof but very fortunately no one was injured during the mast’s demise.
As a result of the collapse millions of TV viewers in Yorkshire and other parts of northern England lost their television pictures. Within a few days temporary arrangements had been made to erect smaller temporary masts to continue transmitting TV and radio signals.
It was later concluded that it wasn't the weight of ice which brought the structure down but a form of oscillation which occurred at a low but steady wind speed that resulted in a failure of the structure. Other similar masts at Belmont and Winter Hill had modifications made to them to prevent them from also suffering this type of collapse.    
Construction of the new reinforced concrete tower was started in 1969 and the first transmissions from the tower commenced on 21 June 1971.

1 comment:

  1. I was six months old when you took those photos. It's always so windy up there, they usually have one of the reporters from Calendar or Look North positioned there when it's really windy to demonstrate just how bad it is.


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