Image: © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

The Science and Industry Museum has introduced a new display marking 100 years of the BBC in Manchester - showcasing the city as a centre of innovation in broadcasting from the early radio experiments in the 1920s, right up to the revolutionary ideas of today. 

The temporary display will feature 14 objects and photographs with their accompanying stories – taking visitors on a journey through the past, present and future of the iconic broadcaster’s time in Manchester. Combining the Science Museum Group’s collection of historic never-before-seen objects, with cutting-edge new technologies being developed today. 

Discover the history behind 2ZY, Manchester’s first radio station, created by Metropolitan Vickers, a major engineering business and one of the founders of the British Broadcasting Company, at their factory in Trafford Park. It was there that they ran experiments throughout 1922 – culminating in the first official broadcast from 2ZY on 15th November 1922, one day after the first broadcast from the BBC’s very first official broadcast, transmitted from 2LO in London. 

See photographs capturing what it was like to work and perform at the studio; including childrens presenters who were all known as ‘aunties and uncles,’ and concert singer Isobel Baille performing. Listen to original broadcasts and see one of the only surviving objects from this time – a radio transmission valve from the original Trafford Park station.  

Explore new technologies created by innovators at the BBC’s Research and Development labs over the past decade in nearby MediaCityUK, to transform how we watch and listen. Including the BBC Box which learns what you like from your viewing and listening habits to recommend new programmes you might like, and the BBC Perceptive Radio which listens to its environment to adjust the volume and make voices stand out against background noises. 

The display will launch the Science Museum Group’s Broadcast 100 season of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the BBC and the 40th anniversary of Channel 4. New temporary exhibitions, special displays and public events at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester and Science Museum in London will explore the way in which we connect with and consume entertainment is ever evolving. 

The Science Museum Group has also digitised 1,000 objects from the BBC Heritage Collection for the first time to make it easier for audiences across the globe to discover the innovations in broadcast technology that helped make the BBC the world’s biggest broadcaster. 

Lewis Pollard, Curator of Television and Broadcast at the Science and Industry Museum said: “We are delighted to be able to tell the amazing story of the BBC in Manchester and to celebrate the achievements of such an iconic organization through this small but important display. 

“The BBC has played such an integral role in making Manchester the creative and technologically innovative city it is today, so we can’t wait to be able to share its incredible history and what it is doing to make broadcast even more exciting for future generations.” 

The Broadcast 100 programme is supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery.  

For more information about the ‘Celebrating 100 years of the BBC’ display at the Science and Industry Museum visit:  

The Science and Industry Museum is currently going through a multi-million pound restoration programme, meaning some areas including the Power Hall remain closed to the public. However, there’s still plenty to do, see and enjoy.