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My dad Peter Chapman was under the spell of Marconi's for much of his life, firstly as a child growing up barely 300 yards from the New Street HQ and factory in Chelmsford, and then working there for the majority of his career. In the 1960s and 70s he travelled extensively in Africa and Middle East doing sales for the Broadcasting Division, then he became the resident GEC-Marconi representative in Cairo, Egypt, and for Marconi Avionics in Nicosia, Cyprus. He died in 2018 but luckily in 2010 I asked him for his recollections about his involvement with television because I knew he was in on that in the early days. This is his reply. The [[brackets]] indicate notes I've added for context. "You asked about me and TV.  After fifty or so years it's not the sort of question you can just answer off the cuff and so I had to think about it; in so doing a number of memories came back that may or may not interest you. [[Dad, it all interested me!]]

My first contact with public broadcasting television came when I joined Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company's Broadcasting Division a few years or so before Mum and I married [[they married in June 1958]]. 

Peter Chapman and Joy Marden at the time he first worked at Marconi's, circa 1957. They married in 1958.

I was a Sales Assistant, a clerk.  It was an interesting and exciting time to be involved.  It was the birth years of the expansion of television; few countries in the world had it.  I was fortunate to be involved, in various ways, in the introduction of television in a number of countries, through them buying Marconi studio equipment.  In those days the technical equipment required to produce a television programme was extensive and needed a lot of people.  Nowadays it can be done with one person sitting in front of the camera and one behind it, or even with the one in front doing it all with a remote control. Some other time I can give you a history of TV cameras if you want it. [[Regrettably we never had that conversation.]]

Anyway my first significant contribution was to do a lot of the pricing for our offer, it was successful, for one of the first TV stations, it may have been the first, in Australia.  To get the bid in on time we worked through the night on a number of nights.  Around about this time too, independent television was introduced in Britain.  There were a number of franchises; the first being in London and Birmingham.  The contractors for these were Associated Rediffusion and Associated Television (ATV), this latter being the company for which I later worked.  Marconi supplied the equipment for AR and Pye of Cambridge for ATV.  AR had the franchise for the London area from Monday to Friday; ATV had the London weekend franchise and also the whole week for Birmingham (the Midlands). 

AR was run by an ex-RN officer called Capt. Brownrigg who thought it should be run like another BBC, whilst ATV was run by two impresarios, Prince Littler and Lew Grade who had different ideas.  It was said of AR that the Board may not all be gentlemen but, by God, they were all officers!  At the same time it was said of ATV that they were all 'luvies'!  Initially they both shared a building in Kingsway, the building had been an Air Ministry building, called I think Adastral House, but it was renamed Television House.  It was there that I started to work for ATV in 1959.

Before I left Marconi in 1959 I had studied for the National Certificate of Electrical Engineering in the evenings.  Because of this I was able to be more involved in the technical side of customer's requirements than just the 'clerking' bits.  Also, to give me experience, I spent time at a TV studio that Marconi owned and operated in Kensington, in St. Mary Abbots Place.  At this time there was a big shortage of television facilities and studio floor space - the BBC's Television Centre at Shepherd's Bush was still being built.  The BBC rented the studio for some of its programmes, in particular the daily programme "Tonight", presented by Cliff Michelmore.  It was a very popular programme and the whole thing was always live.  'St Mary Abbots' or 'Studio M' as it was referred to, was a compact operation and you could be involved in everything.  The chap, Dave Chopping, who had the cottage in Ingatestone before us, was the Studio Manager.  It was because I knew him that we got Mr. Gaymer's cottage. [[Greenfield Cottage, 1 Green Street, Ingatestone was the Chapman family home 1958-1969, Mr. Gaymer was the farmer-landlord.]]

So, back to ATV.  As mentioned I started at Kingsway.  Like the BBC, AR and ATV were building new centres; AR at Wembley and ATV at Borehamwood.  Both moved out from Television House whilst I was there but ITN continued to operate from there for a long time. Our head-office moved to Gt. Cumberland Place at Marble Arch and the centre of operations was in Foley St., off Tottenham Court Road.  My small place in all of this?.............To be continued." [[And again regrettably we never got around to continuing the topic, but I'm so glad he wrote the above.]].

Having left in 1959 for ATV, he returned to Marconi's after writing to his former boss Dougie Smee asking for a job there again.

He was offered the job and returned in 1961 at a salary of £825 per annum.