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Postcards to friends of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Yatesburry radar school

Just walking distance west of Avebury is the neighbouring settlement of Yatesbury, a tiny village now home to less than 150 people. In the late 1940s Yatesbury was an RAF camp housing more than 5,000 men – one of them was Joe Meek, who spent his National Service working in radar. (Yatesbury Radar School is pictured above). Meek’’s training in electronics led him into the music business; in 1962 he wrote and produced ‘Telstar’, the world’s first electronic pop hit, selling 5 million copies around the world.

Stationed in Yatesbury around the same time was Brian Hodgson, a radio trainee who went on to work in, and eventually run, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Hodgson made the sound of the Tardis by scraping his mother’s front door key along the strings of a piano; he later formed ‘The White Noise’ with Delia Derbyshire and David Vorhaus, producing the 1968 cult album ‘An Electric Storm’. Daphne Oram, co-founder the Radiophonic Workshop, was from Devizes, not far from Yatesbury. She invented the extraordinary ‘Oramics Machine’, a partly-mechanical synthesiser that produced sounds from shapes drawn on film. The prototype was built by Graham Wrench, utilising techniques learned during his National Service in Wiltshire as an RAF radar technician….

The Oramics Machine can currently be seen in the London Science Museum’s exhibition ‘Oramics to Electronica’ which also highlights the pioneering work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Steve Marshall
www.stevemarshall.org.uk

(Many thanks to Gordon Chivers for assistance with the production of this postcard.)

See also the Science Museum  exhibition co-curated by Steve and his 2 articles online about the history of the Radiophonic Workshop  and Graham Wrench’s role in developing Oramics

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This is part of a series of short “postcards” that anyone with something to share is welcome to submit, whether that is a digital snap and a “wish you were here” or something more involved. Please do join in by sending your postcards to theheritagejournal@gmail.com

For others in the series put postcards in the search box.

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