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Radio Sutch & City - Part 9

More Shivering Sand Radio & Whitstable History

Issue: 4 Updated: 5th May 2021

Radio City Rate Card Logo

Rate Card Logo (1965)

Don Witts at Pearsons Arms in late 1950's

Don Witts at the what was originally thought to be the 'Pearson's Arms' but now we believe 'The Guinea' 31 Island Wall, Whitstable in anticipation of his customary 'Worthington White Shield' being poured by Landlord Lou Jaffa with wife Flo' at the hand pump

The picture dates from the late 1950's before Dons time as Transmitter Engineer on Shivering Sands

Island Wall Whitstable in 2004

Island Wall Whitstable as it is today picture taken on 28th October 2004

15 & 17 Island Wall Whitstable in 2004

Numbers 17 & 15 Island Wall

Tony was the stations longest serving Electrical and General Engineer, Number 15 his home and 'Pine's General Stores' was mainly run by his then wife Susanne who provisioned most of the General Supplies

After the daily closedown at midnight, communication was made to the Fort from a Tranceiver at the Stores

On the Fort the old Radio Sutch Halifax transmitter was used, the call sign being Pigeon-Blackbird

By the way Reg Calvert spoke a number of us thought it was Pagen-Blackwell!

(Later the main 299 Transmitter was employed to relay 'shopping lists')

In a planned raid on Island Wall the GPO were unable to find the TX or its aerial

Daily Mail Daily Mail Daily Mail

Daily Mail Report (22nd April 1965)

With hard evidence Tony couldn't escape prosecution for use of an illegal transmitter. With the summons duly issued, tea was served and during the ensuing banter Tony revealed the Transceiver bricked up in a fire place, with aerial feed cemented into the chimney breast, probably still there to this day!

Alongside this when the Record Centre at 20a Oxford Street closed for the day, Station Manager Erik K Martin would drive his Jaguar up to Tankerton Slopes overlooking the Estuary Forts to use a handheld set to hail the Fort

The full story can be heard in the Tower of Power CD available in Offshore

Whitstable Harbour dredging in 2004

Whitstable Harbour mouth being dredged on 28th October 2004 was a hive of activity as small supply fishing boats bound for both Shivering & Red Sands left here in the mid-60's


Martin Stevens 1965, Phil Jay 1966 and Gary Stevens 1967

Martin Stevens became stranded on the Fort whilst on a Photo Journalist task, Phil Jay only ventured out to the Fort once, his 'Discomania' was recorded on shore, Gary Stevens provided a pre-recorded programme from New York

Martin Stevens with TiD 164 in 2004

Martin Stevens on the West Quay by one of his Tugs the TiD 164 at Whitstable Harbour on 6th August 2005 Harbour Day 2005

TiD 164 at Faversham Creek

Martin's TiD 164 moored at Faversham Creek by the Swing Bridge (Martin Stevens)

TiD 164 at Chatham

Martin's TiD 164 moored at Chatham (Martin Stevens)

Yet more tender tape recording

Early lash-up of gear late 1964 unbelievable but this set up produced tender tapes: Bush Radio with line input, Grampian DP4 Microphone, Garrard SP22 & 23 & Civic (Curry's) reel to reel which boasted three speeds and ultra fast rewind and pruduced high quality recordings

Before this the very first tapes were made in a stop-start fashion using an old Collaro record player plugged into the Civic, after the record was recorded an Acos Mic' was plugged in & so forth, sadly no pictures

This kit was built into a plinth & carted around to fill between live sets at the infamous Radio City Dance Party's Sutch & City - Part 7

Our CD Documentary Radio City 2 has recordings of bands made on the Civic!

Letter found on fort in 1969 Letter found on fort in 1969

Extract of letter left behind on the Fort

Letter 2 found on fort in 1969

Contol Tower overlooking Catwalk from G1

Control Tower from the roof of G1 Gun Tower overlooking the Jungle Walk

Letter 2 found on fort in 1969

G1 Tower from roof of Bofors Tower

View from G1 Gun Tower roof to Bofors Tower

Letter 2 found on fort in 1969

Above notes discovered on the fort in 1969 believed to have been written by Penny Townsend-Jones see Radio Sutch City Part 6

27/06/08 - My names Abe, I'm Dennis & Penelope Swinnertons son. Yes they are definatly my mums letters, thats her writing. Its really nice to see the memory of my father living on in this site as he sadly passed away some time ago as you may or may not know.

I just happened to type in my mothers name on google & was amazed to find these letters she wrote, very fascinating to me of course.

Thanks for sharing the photos & letters on your site, I had never seen any of these of my Father as a DJ before so again this was fascinating! I hope to one day visit the Forts.

The site is great, keep it up! Thanks again. - Abe

Shivering Sands Fort in late 1967

Shivering Sands pictures in early 1970's

Vic Davies & Bob Le-Roi

Vic Davies gets the point on a trip out to Shivering Sands

Landbased station rig in Canterbury in 1968

After the Offshore Stations were closed & Caroline silenced in 1968, many land based pirates appeared. Part of a studio set up pictured above at SERED (Soveriegn Studios), Stour Street, Canterbury during the 1970's

Custom built valve mixer & Vortexion PA 25 & 50 power amplifiers of the type used by Radio Essex

Quad off air tuner on top with monitor amplifier to right. Phillips & Grundig tape machines

This equipment was used for recording & relaying the Diocesan Conferences at Canterbury Cathedral but was pressed into action for clandestine broadcasting. Programmes were pre-recorded & put out in the evenings & weekends

On one occasion the splatter from the hand made transmitter caused interference to BBC TV channel 5 local transmitter on the water tower at St Thomas' Hill

Shivering Sands from Balmoral in 2003

Shivering Sands from the SS Balmoral in August 2003

Balmoral by Clifton Suspesion Bridge

Painting of the SS Balmoral off the Avon with Clifton Suspension Bridge background

Tom Edwards 60th birthday bash in 2005

Standing Mark Sloan, Radio City's Tom Edwards, Dave Lee-Travis, Duncan Johnson, Carolyn Bristow of Caroline House now with Coty, Keith Hampshire & Johnny Walker

Tom celebrated his 60th in 2005, the boys pictured above at his birthday party on 17th April 2005

Tom Edwards - Duncan reminded me of the day he came on board Radio City when there were plan's for it to become UKGM. Apparently I greeted him when he reached that platform 90 feet above sea level with the words "Hi I'm Tom Edwards but everyone calls me Mother on here!"

Tom's Minders in Gran Canaria 2005

Tom & "Mothers Minders" in Gran Canaria 20th March 2005

SB Greta motors into Whitstable 2004

SB Greta passes the Dolphin at Whitstable Harbour on 28th August 2004 retuning from one of our Thames Estuary Sailings often taking in the Forts, for more details see Boat Trips

The story continues in Sutch & City Part 10

Grateful thanks to Tom Edwards for his party pictures & Terry Vacani for the notes & letters  

Web Site Message from: Mike Craig (aka Mike Watts, Herr Vont's Kutting, The Castaway on Radio City)

Excellent stuff on Radio City a station I fondly remember, being my first experience of offshore radio at the age of 15. Having nicked a boat from Whitstable's Tankerton beach & getting stranded on the fort for three days. Somewhere there's a recording of me on-air having been put on during a test transmission after the 'gods'. Tony Pine may remember this it was my very first broadcast on radio, the bug bit - Best Regards, Mike

For all the Radio Sutch & City features navigate from Sutch & City Part 1

For all the Red Sands Army Fort & it's Radio Stations navigate from Red Sands Rendezvous

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

For a brief history of 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

Trips to the Maunsell Sea Forts are arranged throughout the summer from Herne Bay & Whitstable in Kent

For details of cruises to see the sights of the Thames Estuary & North Kent Coast see Boat Trips

[HOME] (c)Bob Le-Roi 2006