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The 50th Anniversary of BBC Radio Leicester is on 8th November 2017.

This unofficial blog aims to tell the story of Britain's first UK mainland local radio station, and to celebrate its achievements with the help of former staff, their families and our listeners.

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Did it all begin here?

GalleryPosted by Stephen Sat, October 01, 2016 14:20:33

This is the former City Morgue in Leicester. Very few pictures of this building remain. As can be seen from the background, it was located on Freeman's Common. The clocktower marks the settling rooms for the cattle awaiting the auctions in Leicester's cattle market, and the livestock pens can be seen on the left. On the horizon are the chimneys and cooling towers of the Leicester Power Station. The King Power Stadium now stands on that site.


Before Radio Leicester opened, the BBC used the Morgue as a studio connected to its regional headquarters in Birmingham, and it is from here that final-score match reports for Leicester City and Leicester Tigers were filed. When Radio Leicester went on air, the building became its Education Studio. However, in the months leading up to the station's opening, local elections led to a change of political power in Leicester. The new council did not adopt its predecessor's support for BBC local radio including partial funding from local rates. It is said that Roland Orton, owner of the Leicester News Service and a frequent user of the Morgue (as a reporter! organised an evening 'summit meeting' in the building and managed to persuade the new leadership to change its mind.

The Morgue was linked to the main studios at Epic House by a GPO line. To economise on cost, the line could be switched away from the Morgue to the Welford Road rugby ground commentary box, using phantom power. This was commonly referred to as the 'morgue phantom'. The studio mixing desk was a rebuilt 'mobile' desk which could operate in stereo and used low level mixing (so each time you adjusted one fader, you needed to compensate by adjusting all the others at the same time!) After the BBC finally left the morgue, the desk was passed to the University of Lincoln for use in radio training courses.

The morgue was surrounded by a grass verge which was kept trimmed by a local couple using one of Radio Leicester's more unusual assets, a motorised BBC lawnmower. The morgue was demolished in the late 1980s to make way for access roads to the newly-constructed Freeman's Common shopping area.

One of the rare live programmes from the Morgue (if that is not an oxymoron) was with the late Sir Harold Wilson, then Prime Minister, in March 1981. For 'reasons of security' he chose not to visit Epic House.





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