BBC Collection

Select from the images below to find out more about the objects in the BBC Collection.


What's in the BBC Collection and what era does it cover?

The BBC Collection is a fascinating mixture of 946 objects including historic technology, props, and day to day artefacts from 1922 to 2002. The survival of these objects is largely down to the efforts of BBC staff who saved things for posterity.

Why did we acquire the collection?

This acquisition is an ideal opportunity to better document the history of Britain's largest broadcaster while enhancing our existing collections of television and radio equipment. Find out more about the acquisition in this short film.

Where can you see the BBC Collection?

A number of objects from the BBC Collection are stored in Insight, our collections and research centre here in Bradford. These include the 'Big Ben' microphone (1924), 'The Bomb' microphone (1933), an AXBT microphone (c. 1944), a 'Biscuit Tin' radio (1943) the 'Poo Cam' (c. 1965), the Blattnerphone (1930), and 2 Emitron television cameras (1936). The rest of the objects are stored at the Science Museum Group's main storage facility in Wroughton.

For more information about the BBC Collection and to enquire about viewing objects which are not on public display, contact our collections access assistant by emailing

About the BBC

The BBC was Britain's first official broadcaster, founded in 1922 by a private consortium of 6 radio manufacturers to stimulate the sales of radio sets. 

5 years later, John Reith's vision changed the BBC from the British Broadcasting Company into the British Broadcasting Corporation, with a royal charter that it is still governed by today and his famous public service vision - to 'inform, educate and entertain'. The first broadcast came from London on 14 November 1922, and over the next few years, 'listening-in' became a popular national pastime.

Today, the BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world, and a massive multi-media organisation. As well as having an enormous effect on British culture, it has been extremely influential on an international scale, acting as an exporter and ambassador of British culture.

Read more about the BBC Collection on our blog