ITC Archive Papers on Broadcasting

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-628
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      8 folders typescript material Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location

Scope and Content

The papers consist of copies of minutes of the ITA, 1954-1965.

Administrative / Biographical History

Radio and then television broadcasting throughout the United Kingdom had been dominated and monopolised by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) since its foundation in the 1920s. In August 1954 however, Parliament created the Independent Television Authority (ITA) with the function of providing public television services of information, education and entertainment.

The ITA was composed of distinguished persons from different walks of life and were appointed by the Postmaster-General. They all served in a part-time capacity and three of the Members had as their special care the interests of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Members of the ITA in its first years included: the Chair, Sir Kenneth Clark, chairman of the Arts Council, formerly director of the National Gallery, and member of the BBC General Advisory Council until September 1955; the Deputy Chair, Sir Charles Colston, formerly chair and managing director of Hoover; Dr T J Honeyman, director the Glasgow Galleries, and representing Scotland on the ITA; Margaret Popham, the educationist, and future principal of Cheltenham Ladies College; Dilys Powell, film critic of the Sunday Times; and, trades union leader, G. B. Thorneycroft, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association.

In August 1957 came the programmes of Scottish Television (STV), the first commercial television company to be set up in Scotland under the 1954 Television Act and the under franchise offered by the ITA. STV, or Scottish as it was called, covered central Scotland, and was the baby of Canadian-born media mogul Roy Herbert Thomson (1894-1976), later Lord Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet . STV was followed in 1961 by Border Television covering Dumfries and Galloway and North-West England, and then by Grampian Television in 1962 covering Scotland from Fife to Shetland.

By the 1980s, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) had replaced the ITA, and the Cable Authority was made responsible both for promoting and regulating the new cable industry in the UK.

Throughout the life of the ITA and the IBA, UK television companies have included: Anglia, ATV, Border, Central, Grampian, Granada, Harlech or HTV Wales, LWT or London Weekend Television, STV, Southern, Thames, TSW and Westward serving south-west England, Tyne Tees TV, and Yorkshire.

In January 1991, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Radio Authority replaced the IBA and the Cable Authority. The ITC now licences and regulates commercial television in the UK, and the Radio Authority licences and regulates commercial radio.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance. Material deposited by ITC for the use of researchers.

Acquisition Information

Material received, July 1997, Accession no. E97.43.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Keay, John. and Keay, Julia (eds.). Collins encyclopaedia of Scotland. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994. Information from a large selection of online resources was also used.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Conditions Governing Use

ITC owns the copyright of this material. Prior permission of the ITC is to be sought for the reproduction of any papers. Permission to publish material deriving from the papers should be sought from the ITC, and relevant portions should also be submitted to the ITC before publication.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

For other unpublished papers: The Librarian, ITC, 33 Foley Street, London W1P 7LB