Film ID: YFA 3667 Video of YFA_3667 Wakefield Museum - Mast Demo WAKEFIELD MUSEUM - MAST DEMO 1939 Visitor TabsDescription This film features a mast demolition in Wakefield. The film opens with a shot of the mast which is to be demolished. A few men with tools, similar to those used for welding, cut through the base of the mast. The mast can be seen falling from two different angles. The film closes with the workmen leaning against the fallen mast. Context This is a fascinating and mysterious short film of, not one, but several tall masts being demolished. Armed with blow torches and tea caddy, the workmen cut the steel cables that hold up, what must have been radio masts, and we see them fall as if in slow motion. The exact location in the Yorkshire countryside is unknown, presumably in the Wakefield area – perhaps at the site of the current Emley Moor Mast. But why were these being cut down in 1939? Was it war related, or was more power needed? Although the first radio broadcast in the UK began in 1920, in Writtle Essex, it wasn’t until the BBC was formed in 1922 that transmitters went up in large numbers across the country the following year, including one at Wakefield (2AW 2JG). In 1939 television transmitters would have been going up, rather than coming down; and in any case on September 1st the BBC stopped its television service from Alexandra Palace. Alongside this, regional and national radio programmes were also closed and replaced by a single Home Service. A possible, though unlikely, explanation for demolition is that, as with TV signals, it was feared that radio transmissions might be of help to the German air force for finding directions.