previous next 334 images

Radiophonic Workshop Gallery

Prior to the Workshop: in Broadcasting House, around 1957, Daphne Oram employs a tape loop, watched by Frederick Bradnum.

Announcement concerning the creation of the Radiophonic Workshop in the Times, dated 24 May 1958. From a picture held by Goldsmiths College.

A portrait of Desmond Briscoe, taken in 1965. He worked with Daphne Oram from the Workshop's very beginning and became the first head of the department.

The Maida Vale studios, as seen from the north. The structure is essentially of steel, set in the ground and with an Edwardian stucco frontage. The Workshop occupied several rooms at the front, to the left of the entrance, as well as others in the centre of the building.

An outside view of the Maida Vale stuidos in the early seventies. Originally a roller-skating rink, it was later adapted by the BBC as a studio complex.

The corridor in Maida Vale. Each studio had a blue light to indicate the area was powered, as well as a red light to warn that a recording was in progress. These lights can be seen by the doors on the left-hand side of this picture.

An early picture, taken on the 13th of May, 1958, looking through the window of Room 15 towards Rooms 13 and 14. The room on this side is the recording area, complete with microphone and actor. In the distance there's Desmond Briscoe with a tape loop, with a Motosacoche tape machine beyond him, 'Dickie' Bird the engineer, preparing to record the next sequence, and producer Donald McWhinnie, in charge, standing in front of a Ferrograph recorder. Daphne Oram is at the controls of the 'Albert Hall' mixer, on top of which there are a pair of Programme Effects Units (PEUs), which were very effectve top-cut/bottom-cut equalisers. Note the flowers on the loudspeaker.

Donald McWhinnie listens to a montage of electronic effects as Desmond Briscoe operates filter units, along with the wobbulator controlled by Daphne Oram. Artificial reverberation is being added by Richard Bird, who's adjusting the reverberation time.

Rooms 13 and 14 in 1961, with a pair of monstrous Motosacoche machines. The equipment in the bay to the left provided reverberation, whilst the tape recorder to the extreme right is an early Ferrograph.

Rooms 13 and 14, also known as Workshop 1, looking south towards the small studio in Room 15, which is behind the window to the right of centre. A Ferrograph tape machine and the Philips recorders in their trolleys can be seen in the distance on the left.

An early view looking north through Rooms 14 and 13 in May 1958, with work being overseen by Donald McWhinnie, who's making notes on his script. Daphne Oram is cueing up a disc on one of the turntables on a BBC TD/7 gramophone; note the parallel-tracking arms. To the right, Desmond Briscoe is editing a tape on a Ferrograph recorder, alongside 'Dickie' Bird, who's resetting a cue on a tape of prepared sounds. The equipment bays on the left remained in use until the late seventies. The turntables in the foreground don't appear to be a standard BBC variety.

The southern end of Room 12 in 1961. In the foreground there's an EMI TR/90 tape recorder, complete with monitoring loudspeaker. On the left, in front of the Type B amplifier bays and tape loops, there's an LSU/10 loudspeaker, with an EMI BTR/2 recorder to the right. The Jason oscillators and keying unit, along with the Muirhead Decade Oscillator, Muirhead sine-wave to square-wave converter, B&K wobbulator and oscilloscope, are on the bench at the back. The rear of the mixing desk, at that time angled across the corner of the room, can be seen to the extreme left.

Room 12, also known as Workshop 2, looking south, with Type B amplifiers in the rack to the left, BTR2 tape machine, with additional spool and motor, and Philips machines to the right. The mixing desk, in its original diagonal position, is on the left.

Daphne Oram at the controls of the "Albert Hall" mixer. The tape machine seen here is believed to be an Ampex model.

Daphne Oram, along with two unknowns at the Workshop, and 'Dickie' Bird on the left, seemingly bored by proceedings.

'Dickie' Bird and Daphne Oram.

Dick Mills, who joined the Workshop in 1958, sits in front of an EMI BTR/2 tape machine, as he keeps his eye on a tape loop running through a machine operated by John Harrison. This picture was taken in 1960.

In Room 14, standing by two Philips tape machines, Dick Mills and Brian Hodgson compare tape lengths, under the watchful gaze of Desmond Briscoe. The 'Albert Hall' mixer and Albis equaliser can be seen to the right.

Daphne Oram operating a trio of passive OB mixers, similar to those in the 'Albert Hall' mixer. This picture is believed to have been taken in her own studio.

Daphne Oram surrounded by equipment in her own studio, which includes Brenell tape machines and Jason oscillators.

Daphne Oram at the north-west end of Room 13. The equipment consists of a Muirhead Decade Oscillator, a Muirhead sine-wave to square-wave converter, B&K wobbulator, a PEU, an unknown box and a tape recorder. Note the slide rule and stopwatch on the desk. The prominent NO SMOKING sign is essential because of the flammability of the film that's viewed and edited in the area.

Daphne Oram at work in her own studio.

Room 13 in 1958. Daphne Oram plays the Mijwiz, an Arabic twin-reeded double shepherd's pipe, as 'Dickie' Bird operates one of the big Motosacoche recorders. The unit in the centre is a 'linking console', used to control levels when editing and copying tapes. The STC 4038 ribbon microphone, earlier known as the PGS, was first introduced in 1954.

The Oramics machine, devised by Daphne Oram at her own studio, where musical sounds were composed by writing onto clear film.

Daphne Oram, drawing waveforms on her Oramics machine.

The Oramics machine, which is now in the care of the Science Museum.

Daphne Oram demonstrating Radiophonic techniques on television by means of Brenell tape recorders and a Jason oscillator.

Another picture of Daphne Oram explaining Radiophonic techniques by usingtwo Brenell tape recorders.

Daphne Oram, apparently talking about Radiophonic techniques, accompanied by what looks like a Ferrograph tape machine.

Daphne Oram with her Oramics machine. Although she expanded the idea into computers in later years her ideas were usually way ahead of the available technology.