Turners Hill

Page last updated: 13/12/2018

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YTHL19491961SO968887Google Maps Bing MapsPhotos

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Turners Hill (also known as Rowley Regis) may never have been a "microwave" site using the strict meaning of the term. The site was selected around 1946 to be the penultimate repeater station on the 1949 900 MHz London to Birmingham television link . This provided an alternative to the coaxial cable which linked both cities. When the 900 MHz link was first specified there was concern of possible interference to a radio link in a built-up area and the section between Turners Hill and Birmingham was planned as a cable connection. In practice the issues did not arise and it was found cost effective to use radio for the final section.

Later development over the route linked directly from Charwelton to Birmingham and it is likely Turners Hill would have been out-of-use by the mid-1960s if not before. The site, however, at the highest point in the West Midlands County, appears to have been retained in PO/BT ownership and may have been used for the VHF Radiophone system. Early plans for the 1960s expansion of the SHF network included the option of cable links to a site outside central Birmingham and Turners Hill was one of a number of locations considered - in effect a return to the originally planned use for the site. Subsequently it was decided to build a tall tower in the city centre, close to Telephone House. A 1964 OS map shows a compound containing two buildings and what would appear to be the square tower in the 1950 photos, with access via a track from Portway Hill, to the north. Subsequently this "Phase 2" tower was replaced by another of more conventional form, but it is possible one of the original buildings has survived. The water tower is just to the west of the compound on the 1964 map.

Detailed OS maps in the period from 1964 to the 1980s are not available on-line however during this period the water tower was demolished and a second tower with a concrete base erected for Euromasts in the 1980s. This is in a separate compound accessed from Turners Hill and encloses the site of the water tower. Both structures are used for broadcasting and other communications.

Due to the location there are few modern photos of the BT site - it is usually the "Euromasts" tower which has been the focus, perhaps because of the more "interesting" structure.



Turners Hill 1950

Copyright BT Heritage [TCB473/P 4775] "CCIR Delegates at GPO Television Link, Rowley Regis"

The tower on the left was added for the "Stage 2" two-way link but has not yet been equipped. Similar structures were added to all the intermediate sites on the London - Birmingham route, with the equipment housed in the cabin at the top of the tower. The buildings and short guyed masts are from the "Stage 1" reversible link. At other sites both dishes were carried on one mast.

Turners Hill 1950

Copyright BT Heritage [TCB473/P 4772] "CCIR Delegates Leaving GPO Television Link, Rowley Regis"


Turners Hill 2007

Copyright Gordon Griffiths (Geograph)

It is not known whether the brick building to the left of the BT (steel) tower is a survivor from the original TV link. The water tower was in the space between the BT and "Euromasts" (concrete base) tower.