The files contain miscellaneous clumps of papers relating to contributions towards radio Children’s Programmes before 1963. (The official dates for this Registry sequence were for papers created between 1922 and 1962, but Accession Books list files as dating from the 1930s onwards.) Many papers refer to the term ‘Children’s Hour’, which was the name given to the segment during which children’s programmes were broadcast. It was also the name given to the department responsible for these broadcasts before it became known as the Children’s Programmes (Sound) department in 1961.
These papers usually refer to contributors who had few or no bookings with the BBC Children’s Programmes (Sound) department before 1963 and were not considered to have enough paperwork to warrant their own personal file. If a contributor is not listed in the run of files for RCONT1 , they may have unlisted papers held within the RCONT5 files.
The papers mainly consist of correspondence between the BBC Children’s Hour department and external contributors. Correspondence was received from members of the public commenting on programmes that had been broadcast. Some correspondence was also received by children, asking for advice on writing and publishing for broadcast.
A majority of correspondence concerns requests made by contributors to feature their material in programmes for Children’s Hour. This material included music, poetry, talks, and stories. If a manuscript of such material was submitted, it would be passed on to a reading panel for review. The files contain ‘Manuscript submitted to Children’s Hour’ forms, which detail comments and opinions submitted by the reading panels. If the feedback was negative, a rejection letter would be sent to the author explaining the reason behind this decision. This could be due to a number of reasons such as the length of the work, the writing style or a general dislike of the subject the work covered. If the reading panel gave a positive review correspondence would continue with the author to improve the material and possibly arrange a booking. Booking requisition forms for this action can be found within the papers.
Contracts for these bookings are not generally found in this section. The material submitted for these programmes could incur copyright payments. Contracts were usually issued by the copyright section and are consequently held in the RCONT7 series (see ‘Related Units of Description’).