The BBC campus, Broadcasting House Bristol, is located on Whiteladies Road, Bristol. The first building to be occupied was 21/23 Whiteladies Road, which was built in 1852 and is a Grade II listed building, with four radio studios. It was formally opened by the Lord Mayor of Bristol on 18 September 1934. The BBC has been on the same site ever since.
Prior to the opening of Broadcasting House, the BBC had provided a more limited service. It began broadcasting on 13 February 1923 from Marconi House. Operating as its 5WA station (this being the fifth BBC station to go on air) the new station broadcast to people living within 25 miles of the city. The station's initial output was very limited and even in 1931 the programme centre employed a staff of just three people, operating from a small studio over the Midland Bank in Queen's Road.
It was made public in May 2021 that the BBC Studios production base, incorporating the Natural History Unit and Factual Entertainment, will be moving to a new site called Bridgewater House at Finzels Reach in Bristol city centre.
Since first opening, Broadcasting House has grown to incorporate 25, 27/29, 31/33, (all also Grade II listed) and 33A&B Whiteladies Road, as well as nos 1, 3, 5, 7/9, 11/13, 15/17 and 19 Tyndall's Park Road. It now provides offices and technical facilities for the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, BBC Radio & Music Production Bristol, BBC West and BBC Radio Bristol.
Network radio studios, a network television studio (Studio B -Green Screen Virtual Studio), a regional television studio (Studio A), local radio studios, a combined television and radio newsroom, and an outside broadcast base have all been built on the site.
In 1986 33A&B Whiteladies Road were demolished to make way for a new development providing post-production facilities, a restaurant, library and headquarters offices for the South and West Region, as well as a new reception for Broadcasting House. The new building was opened by Chris Patten on 19 January 1990.
Other Bristol facilities
At the time of World War II the BBC also had radio facilities at Redland Park Hall, All Saints Hall, the Chapter House, College Road, Clifton Parish Hall, the Cooperative Hall and the Clifton Rocks Railway.
In more recent times 15 Whiteladies Road, St Mary's Church in Belgrave Road, and Christchurch Hall have also provided accommodation and facilities. A radio control room was built in St George's Church, Brandon Hill.
From 1986, the BBC leased warehouses on the Kingsland Trading Estate, and also (from 2002) on the Lawrence Hill Industrial Park, to provide facilities for Casualty when it was produced in Bristol. However, the production moved to Cardiff in 2011.
- Historic England. "Nos.21 and 23 Broadcasting House (1202692)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- "The BBC in Bristol". BBC. 3 September 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- John Penny, On the Air: a short history of broadcasting to the Bristol area (Bristol Historical Association pamphlets, no. 102, 2001), p. 2
- John Penny, On the Air: a short history of broadcasting to the Bristol area (Bristol Historical Association pamphlets, no. 102, 2001), p. 4
- Gogarty, Conor (28 May 2021). "BBC Studios to leave historic Bristol HQ". BristolLive. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
- "Historic moment as BBC Studios in Bristol announces a new home". BBC Studios News. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
- Historic England. "No 25 (1202693)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- Historic England. "Nos 27 and 29 (1202694)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- Historic England. "Nos.31 and 33 (1202695)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- "Christchurch Studios". Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
Media related to Broadcasting House, Bristol at Wikimedia Commons