The Voice of Slough
First amongst these was journalist John Thompson, who together with business associate Robert Collier (a wholesale newsagent) and Peter Duffy (another journalist and News Director of the planned station) formed a company -
Thompson, Collier and Duffy were soon joined by another Canadian, Arnold Swanson, who was said to have provided substantial financial backing for the project and acted as its technical adviser.
Thompson originally came from Yorkshire but after the end of the Second World War he had emigrated to Canada becoming a reporter on a local newspaper and eventually an announcer and DJ on a Vancouver radio station. In the late 1950s he returned to England working as a journalist for the local newspaper in Slough.
A 70 ton former Admiralty vessel Ellen (previously known as Anti Cyclone)was said to have been purchased and fitted out at a secret location in Scotland (subsequently identified as Leith Harbour) with an on-
Keith Martin, an announcer who had worked with Paul Hollingdale and Doug Stanley at the short-
The 24 hour format was, according to the station's publicity material, to be "musical and directed mainly at the young, with regular news commentaries and current affairs programmes throughout the day." Six minutes per hour were to be devoted to commercial announcements. Thompson also hinted that broadcasting facilities could be used to provide a local community station directed at Southend and claimed to have support from the Mayor of the town for such a venture.
Despite initial press publicity in October 1961 the proposed starting date of 1st December 1961 came and went with nothing being heard on the airwaves. The project reportedly foundered when record companies refused to allow the station to infringe copyright restrictions by tape recording discs for later broadcast.
However, correspondence from John Thompson exists which indicates that as late as September 1962 he was still pursuing plans to launch his offshore station, under the call-
The Ellen did sail clandestinely in early October 1962 from Leith to Dunbar, despite a detention order placed on her by the Customs authorities due to the vessel being ‘unseaworthy’. It is rumoured that at this time the ship had been re-
However, in Dunbar she was abandoned by her crew who lacked essential equipment and finances to continue the voyage to the Thames Estuary.
This appeared to be the end of the Voice of Slough/ Ellen project. John Thompson did, however, go on to become involved with a British offshore radio station -
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State Monopolies and International Agreements
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Almost There ! (4)
Ellen in Leith Harbour
9th October 1961
00 December 1961
8th October 1962
29th August 1962
10th October 1962
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