Nottingham (Bowman TE)

Page last updated: 26/5/2019

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Although located at the main exchange buiding, Bowman is ulikely to have carried telephony links - its first use as an SHF site was around 1981 to support Central televison. As part of the 1980 ITV franchise bids, ATV was required to provide separate local news for the East Midlands, using the Waltham transmitter. (This had previously carried the same programme as the Sutton Coldfield transmitter, which was now to provide a West Midlands local service).

BT installed an SHF link from Bowman to Waltham, initially for ITV use only, together with links from Birmingham via Copt Oak (two way) and local switching at Bowman which we understand was controlled from Birmingham. The planned studio for Central was still under construction and an alternative facility at Giltbrook was used for the first few years, this being provided with a temporary link via the Swingate Water Tower. It was thus possible for Waltham to continue to show Central's output from Birmingham, or that from the Nottingham studio. Sufficient circuits were provided to allow the local studio access to the wider ITV network, via Birmingham.

The BBC had a small studio at Nottingham but used their own links and did not offer a separate East Midlands service, however by 1984 additional BT links had been installed to provide access from the local studio access to the Waltham transmitter. (BBC2 and Channel 4 did not carry regional programming and continued to retransmit the services from Sutton Coldfield under these arrangements.)

Dishes to support the links between Birmingham, Nottingham and Waltham were installed on the roof of the exchange, at the eastern end of the building. Some of the supporting metalwork remains visible.

A planning application in 1991 sought approval for a further link between Bowman and Carlton Scroop for Channel 4 television - this was part of a new all-digital distribution network, mostly carried over fibre, but with some local SHF links. A 6 GHz digital system was installed to feed the Belmont transmitter, via Carlton Scroop. We understand this was operational until around 2006. (In the new Channel 4 scheme, Waltham was linked via fibre.)




Seen from Lower Parliament Street, south east of the building. The three large dishes, from left to right, face Copt Oak, Waltham and Carlton Scoop respectively. Google Street View shows all had been removed by 2008.


Bowman Telephone Exchange 2012

Copyright Stephen Richards (Geograph)

Viewed from the public park to the north: too close to the building to see what remains at roof level, but conveying the scale of the 13-storey (61 m) structure.