Schedule:Summer 1931

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BBC Radio

National Programme

Schools radio broadcasts on BBC transmitters throughout the UK, including Belfast and Cardiff, but excluding the London and Midland Regional Programmes, and Scottish stations (see below for Scotland).

14:05 Nature StudyOut of Doors Week by Week 14:05 Tracing History Backwards
14:30 14:30 Children of Other Days1731-1931 14:30 MusicBeginners' Lesson 14:30 Biology and HygieneYour Body Every Day 14:30 English Speech 14:30 Rural ScienceThe School Garden / The Plant and the Soil
15:00 15:00 Music Miniature Concert 15:00 English LiteratureThinking and Writing 15:00 Travel TalksPeoples and Lands of the British Empire: Malaya, Ceylon, Burma, India
15:05 Stories from the Mythology and Folklore of the World
15:15 15:15 MusicAdvanced Lesson
15:30 15:30 Dramatic Reading 15:30 Concert to Schools(The Sybil Eaton Quartet)
15:35 Early Stages in French(M. Stéphan)
16:00 16:00 Specially Selected Gramophone Records
16:05 Talks for Older PupilsGreat Moments in Modern History

Scottish Regional Programmes

Schools radio broadcasts from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

14:15 14:15 Reading
14:20 GeographyThe Empire and Its Peoples
14:25 Reading
14:30 14:30 Music Making
14:35 Reading 14:35 Reading 14:35 Reading
14:40 AstronomyBehold the Heavens! 14:40 GeologyThe Face of Scotland 14:40 Elementary French(Jean-Jacques Oberlin) 14:40 Scottish HistoryThings Seen in Old Scotland
14:45 14:45 Concerts for Primary and Secondary Schools(Herbert Wiseman)
15:10 Reading 15:10 English LiteratureWhy We Like Poetry 15:10 Science Talks for Advanced DivisionsGreat Experiments in Science
15:15 15:15 Nature StudyNature and Her Ways

Notes & New Programmes

In England the main term of broadcasts ran from Monday 27th April to Friday 26th June 1931. There were no broadcasts in the week beginning 25th May 1931 due to the Whit week school holidays, so there were a total of 8 weeks of broadcasts.

There were also no schools broadcast on Wednesday 3rd June 1931, as the BBC was transmitting coverage of the Derby horse racing event. The Wednesday programmes were postponed by a week and finished on Wednesday 1st July 1931. In the final week of term the BBC provided commentary on Wimbledon tennis matches throughout the afternoon, but there were no interruptions to the schools broadcasts.

As noted above these broadcasts were carried on the BBC network of regional programmes (except in London and the Midlands) as well as the National Programme from Daventry. However the Thursday programmes were not transmitted from Manchester - as far as I can tell the Manchester transmitter simply did not broadcast anything at that time on Thursdays.

In Scotland the broadcasts ran from Monday 27th April to Friday 19th June 1931 with no days or weeks off (the Derby was not broadcast in Scotland, and Whit week not observed) for a total of 8 weeks. Each day's schools transmissions in Scotland were preceded by a three-minute long reading "to give teachers an opportunity to tune their sets, and to allow the children to settle down."

Astronomy & Geology were broadcast monthly - there were only two episodes of each this term. Nature Study was fortnightly in the intervening weeks, so there was only ever one schools programme broadcast on any particular Monday. The broadcast dates for the Astronomy talks were apparently timed so that Mars and Jupiter could be well observed by budding astronomers. The 2nd Astronomy broadcast on 1st June 1931 took an entirely hypothetical Trip to the Moon.

Seven pamphlets of programme notes were published to accompany this term's schools broadcasts from London (in addition to the termly syllabus documents, and the English Speech pamphlet which covered the whole academic year 1930-31 and was still available for sale). Four further programme pamphlets were published to accompany the Scottish broadcasts. Recordings of A. Lloyd James's English Speech talks were available to buy on record from Linguaphone - presumably these were special re-recordings rather than original broadcasts.

Tracing History Backwards was new this term, billed as "An Experimental Course", it took a different approach to history than Rhoda Power's more traditional storytelling in programmes such as Children of Other Days, and aimed for a much older audience. Tracing History Backwards was based on linking contemporary events with relevant historical episodes and sending pupils off to do their own research after the broadcast. The talks were given by Commander Stephen King-Hall and the series lasted until the BBC's schools history output was revised in 1935.

Sources & References

  • BBC (1931a) Broadcasts to Schools Programme and Syllabus 27 April - 26 June 1931. London: BBC
  • BBC (1931b) Broadcasts to Scottish Schools Programme and Syllabus 27 April - 19 June 1931. Edinburgh: BBC
  • Radio Times listings, 1931
  • The Times broadcasting listings, 1931, via The Times Digital Archive