Watching the 'telly' via cable isn't quite such a new idea as you might think. In fact there were cable systems in the UK as far back as the early 1970's. Set up in areas that experienced poor reception, these early systems simply relayed the signals from BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. As far as I can remember the areas concerned were Sheffield, Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, Bristol, Swindon and part of the London Borough of Greenwich.
The system in Greenwich was initially set up by a consortium of local television retailers and was called 'Woolwich Relay' and later taken over and operated by a company called Greenwich Cablevision. Subscribers to this system could also receive signals from Anglia and Southern TV, along with BBC1, BBC2 and Thames Television.
Additionally the Government of the day authorised, what they described as, an experiment in local television. In Greenwich this led to the launch of Greenwich Television which was on the air for a couple of hours per day with programmes of local news etc (and all in black & white too!). Radio programmes, from the BBC national, local and commercial stations, could also be received through the cable, but the systems were not utilised to provide a local radio service until much later.
However, there was a completely unofficial 'experiment' on the Greenwich system in the mid 1970's when Radio Cabletown took to the air on Friday nights providing just music programmes. It was this that eventually led to the launch of Greenwich Sound on March 1st 1980.
This story will continue. In the meantime please enjoy the photo gallery.