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Radio Sutch & City - Part 7

Shivering Sands from 1943 - 1967

Updated : 9th January 2020 Issue: 2

Cuttings with never before published photographs & audio from Radio City

Neptune EN58

Extracts follow from the Merchant Seaman News Paper E.N. 58

Shivering Sands in 1945

The publication from January 1945 shows Shivering Sands receiving supplies from the 'Margaret Hide' (1943)

Gun Tower on Shivering Sands in 1945

Smoke from coal burning ship alongside the Southern G1 Gun Tower that was to used by Radio Sutch (1943)

Margaret Hide

The 'Margaret Hide' at Shivering Sands (1943)

Servicing was from HMS Wildfire on the Isle-of-Sheppey

Defending the Thames

The editorial reported that since their construction the Forts had :

1. Guarded against magnetic-mine-laying in the navigable channels

2. Attacked German bombers approaching London up the estuary

3. Thrown up a barrage against flying bombs

4. Attacked enemy blockships endeavouring to close the channel

Whitstable Harbour in 1950

Whitstable Harbour the vessel that was to become a Radio Sutch/City Tender 'Harvester II' moored left on North Quay (1950's)

Whitstable Harbour in 1963

The tranquil harbour the two 'Harvesters I & II' centre (1963)

For Whitstable Harbour in modern times navigate from Harbour Days

Radio Sutch Car Sticker

By the end of May 1964 Radio Sutch had set up shop on Shivering Sands (1964)

Radio Sutch Studio

The 2nd Radio Sutch & later City studio (1964) ...

... did become a little more organised. We did though live with the horrible holed stool and headphones for ages

DJ's 7" record signature tunes normaly in space behind turntable plynth. Tapes piled on shelf; 3" spools to left were adverts, & right pre-recorded programmes & religion. Racks of singles Top 20 later City 60. This picture taken from record library corner, in reality a few shelves of singles which really was City's Cobweb Corner

For a studio equipment list go to Radio Sutch & City 1

Press cartoon of proposed marine raid

The government sent Marines but they were hastily recalled on the way to the Fort, it could easily have ended with forceful eviction (1964)

Radio City 1st Car Sticker

By September 1965 Radio Sutch became Radio City & for a short time Screaming Lord Sutch was still heard on the station (1964)

Catwalk towards G1

Catwalk from gun Tower G1 looking towards the Control Tower (1964)

Dangerous even in the early days it was committed to the deep & replaced by a "Jungle Walk" built by Tony Pine

See Radio Sutch City 2 for pictures & detail

Contol Tower from G1

Control Tower from roof of G1 Gun Tower (1964)

Radio City 2nd Car Sticker

Initially transmissions were for just 12 hours daily with a crew of just three keeping everything going was hard work

Johnny Evlin & Chris Cross in TX room

Johnny Evlin with Chris Cross in the transmitter room (1964)

Detail of clips below - Studio recordings now Radio City has two transmitters


Chris Cross, Paul Elvey and Radio City Commercials

1. Chris Cross gives the first trial wavelengths

2. Paul Elvey mentions Johnny above & pending storms

3. Commercials; Wheelers Oyster Bar - Barretts of Canterbury - Spanish Holidays

4. Then Tom Edwards at night in 1966

Record Centre record bag

These adverts were recorded at Radio City's South Thames Whitstable office (The Record Centre) Don't get any idea's of studio grandeur these were made in the shop on stock tape recorders, Grundig TK14's, Philips, & Echo machines

Alongside G1 towards Bofors Tower

Alongside Shivering Sands looking west towards the Bofors Gun Tower (1964) ...

... used later for storage inside always had a rather strange aroma and thought haunted

Bofors Tower Elevation

Elevation of Bofors Gun Tower (1941)

Bofors bottom floor fort plan Boforsintermediate floor fort plan

Bofors Gun Tower Bottom & Intermediate floor levels (1941)

Bofors top level fort plan

Top level (1941)

Bofors gun positions fort plan

Bofors, Lewis and 3.7" Gun positions (1941)

Drawings by J A Posford the fort builders from "The Construction of Britain's Sea Forts"

There's an interesting illustrated article on the dismantling of the mast on Shivering Sands in The Pirate Hall of Fame

For more details on all the Thames Estuary Forts see Fort Fax

For a range of books on the building of the Army & Navel Forts go to Offshore

Fishing boat below G1 platform

Unknown local boat below viewed from the G1 Gun Tower balcony bringing out engineers (1964)

Don Witts in TX room

Don Witts Radio City's first engineer in the transmitter room (1964)

Johnny Evlin in TX room

Johnny Evlin contemplates beating the transmitter an hourly tuning check (1964)

The ritual was at the insistence of Reg Calvert who was worried about the stability of 299 & to keep in check any drift

This before any complaint from the PLA see Radio Sutch City 6

School Cartoon

Cartoon impression of the City Studio from the pupils of Beauchamps School, who ask what's wrong with above? Sleep on that for a minute (1965)

Sleeping arrangements

In our luxury sleeping area behind the lounge, on old camp & metal framed beds left behind by the Army (1965)

Cartoon question answer

The Answer!

Recording tender tapes at Downbury

1965 vintage set up Recording Radio City "Crew Change" Programmes (1965)

Philips transister radio, Eagle mixer, Grampian DB4 microphone, Garrard SP22 turntables, Clock from 1934 Austin 10, Civic tape recorder based on Collaro deck, Echo Radio, out of view under desk a Vortexion PA 50 amplifier similar to that on Knock John and a Brennell tape deck

School request

Beauchamps School request (1965)

Dick Dixon douses the generator fire

Tony Pine had connected a rubber exhaust hose to the Lister generator which swiftly caught fire. Dick Dixon does his best to smother the flames (1965)

Shivering Sands & South Buoy in 1965

Superb picture of the Shivering Sands Forts & Southern Buoy (1965)

Picture by Photo Journalist Martin Stevens for a time a DJ on Radio City

Grateful thanks to Terry Vacani, Dick Dixon, & Martin Stevens for their contribution to this feature

The story will continue in Sutch & City - Part 8


Oh how the memories came flooding back whilst browsing your pages! I started listening to offshore radio from approx 1965 (when I was 15). Lived in Bristol at that time, and was able to get Caroline N and S, Big "L", and Radio England very well, and then I discovered Radio City in 1966 when I believe the transmitter power was increased to 50Kw. City became my favourite station, I found it more even personal than the others, and I thoroughly enjoyed the antics of Ian Mcrae. I can remember a time when someone on the station caught a lobster, and supposedly let it loose in the studio when Ian was "on air", so many fun things happened and we, the listeners, shared it. I can still sing the Silexine (sp?) paint advert ! Those were the days! Such a shame radio isn't so exciting now. Thanks to the offshore broadcasters & Radio City in particular, I realised what I wanted to do for a living and at the age of 16½ I wrote to the Denmark Street office asking for a job on the station, a few days later Radio City ceased broadcasting after the government finally succeeded in deeming it inside territorial waters :-( What a tragic year 1967 was, all the pirate stations except Caroline closed down and life seemed very empty. With the ambition to get into radio, I started as a DJ in discoteques, which led to my meeting three of the DJ's I had heard on the pirates, Roger Day, Johnny Walker, Dave Cash and a few from Radio One, at a venue in Taunton where I was resident DJ. I was offered the chance to work for an agency in Europe and eventually ended up in Denmark in 1975. The radio situation there was very much like the UK before offshore radio, the state radio and nothing else ! In the mid 80's the Danish government decided to allow local radio stations, and I witnessed a situation a bit like the early UK pirate days, lots of little stations popping up, some good, some terrible. At last I was able to achieve my ambition, and managed to get a station started in our area in 1987. I bet, in those early days of offshore broadcasting, none of you guys realised the long lasting effect you would have on some peoples lives! Once again, thanks for providing such a superb & informative website. John J.

For all the Shivering Sands features navigate from Sutch & City Part 1

For Red Sands Forts and Radio Stations navigate from Red Sands Rendezvous

For the Navy Forts their Radio Stations navigate from Radio Essex 222 & Sealand One

For details on all the Thames Estuary Forts see Fort Fax

Make sure you also see the NAB "Mystery Tower" the forerunner to Maunsell Forts in Sailing the Solent

For the range of documentary CD's in the Offshore Radio "Roaring 60's" collection, the Sealand VCD, books, a video on the Army & Navy Forts go to Offshore Shop

[HOME] (c)Bob Le-Roi 2004