Celebrating 50 Years: ‘The Hut’

Radio Warneford started broadcasting from a small broom cupboard in the basement of the Warneford Hospital in Leamington Spa on 12 December 1973.

The station was initially set up to entertain patients over the Christmas period but when it became clear that Radio Warneford might be destined for a much longer life, it was quickly realised that larger accommodation would be required. Suitable space within the Warneford Hospital building itself couldn’t be found so the hunt began for a viable alternative.

The team discovered a large, disused storage hut at an electricity board power station site behind the Emscote Road in Warwick. Space at the back of the hospital grounds, next to the tennis court, was provided and Radio Warneford was able to negotiate to buy the hut for what was then a princely sum of £300. With the deal done, the team began to dismantle the hut in May 1975 ready to transport it to its new home at the Warneford Hospital.

Brick foundations were laid in the grounds to the rear of the Warneford Hospital site, close to the Clapham Terrace Primary School and the Leamington to Banbury railway line. The hut was then put back together before the team started work adding insulation and creating the internal layout to provide space for two studios, a record library and a restroom / engineering work area.

“The Hut” was officially opened on Wednesday 6 December 1978 by the Chairman of the Warwickshire Area Health Authority, Councillor Stanley Birch, who praised the work of the volunteers in creating the studio complex. He said the benefit to patients provided by Radio Warneford was “enormous”. Councillor Birch was accompanied by the Deputy Mayor of Leamington Spa, Peter Barton, and his wife.

“The Hut” opened with one small operational studio while a second, larger studio, complete with a stereo 10-channel mixing desk, opened in 1982.

“The Hut” remained at the heart of Radio Warneford’s broadcasting for fifteen years until the closure of the Warneford Hospital forced the station to move its operations to a new location at Warwick Hospital. The Hut broadcast its final programmes in October 1993.

Published: 5 Dec 2023

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