Celebrating the town’s vital role in the invention of television

We’re all familiar with the signs on the outskirts of town that tell us Hastings was the ‘birthplace of television’ and any self-respecting general knowledge quiz will ask who invented television and where was he when he did it.

Inventor John Logie Baird lived in Linton Crescent and built the first television from items such as scissors, a hat box, bicycle lights and some wax. He then transmitted the first moving images in 1924 from above a shop in Queens Arcade.

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The new mural inside Queens Arcade.

Now the Love Hastings group has assembled a unique mural inside Queens Arcade. Working alongside Hastings Library and the Hastings Observer, they have recreated original newspaper articles from 1924, when John Logie Baird was carrying out his experiments.

Baird was a Scot brought up in a town called Helensburgh and in early 1923, suffering from poor health, he moved to 21 Linton Crescent and later rented a workshop in Queen’s Arcade.

He was described as “limited in resources but unlimited in ingenuity” so used what he had to hand including the famed hatbox. Scissors, darning needles, a few bicycle light lenses, a tea chest, sealing wax and glue were all employed too.

In February 1924, he demonstrated to the Radio Times that a semi-mechanical analogue television system was possible by transmitting moving silhouette images. In July of the same year, he received a 1,200-volt electric shock, but survived with only a burnt hand,  as a result, however, his landlord asked him to vacate the premises.

Baird gave the first public demonstration of moving silhouette images by television at Selfridges department store in London in a three-week series of demonstrations beginning on March 25th 1925.

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The first of the information panels.
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Baird was in poor health when he moved to Hastings. It was believed that the warmer climate on the south coast of England would be better for him than his native Helensburgh.
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Baird survived a 1,200 volt shock but the landlord of his workshop evicted him!
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Some of the newspaper adverts for early televisions.
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According to this report Baird’s wiring loom ‘of every conceivable colour’ made the ‘most complicated telephone exchange look simple.’
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He worked with a ‘night-mareish collection of impossible apparatus’ but got results nonetheless.

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