THE CHORLEY HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Night the Welsh invaded Horwich. (4th March 1977)
It was 21.05 hours on a
typical Winter Hill early March evening (Fri 4th March 1977 to be exact)
when the assault was made. The night was clear and stars were shining.
|Bill Kay from Adlington used to be an Engineer working at the Winter Hill Transmitter Station above Horwich. Bill died in Nov 2018 at the age of 80 but some years ago I spoke to him about his time working on Winter Hill. He told me of a little known incident in 1977 when members of the Welsh Language Society invaded the control room and switched the transmitter off. Bill had written an account of the incident and gave me a copy. He said it was OK to put it on-line and recently his widow said she'd like to see it published. Read on for Bill’s story
|It was 21.05 hours on a typical Winter Hill early March evening (the 4 March 1977 to be exact) when the assault was made. The night was clear and stars were shining, however a thin ground mist wreathed the road and moor land. I was the senior shift engineer on duty that night along with two other shift engineers, Mike Ingram and Peter Dennis.
Bill Kay (1938-2018)
|At about 20.25 hrs the Police arrived, first the Horwich police, then those from Cborley and lastly the PC from Adlington. As the Winter Hill station is actually on the Chorley side of the boundary, and in the Adlington section of the Chorley Police area, then the privilege or pain of arresting the culprits fell to the Adlington PC.
Winter Hill Transmitter Station.
prisoners were searched, there was found in the handbag of one of the
women, a quantity of 6in nails. The idea had been to disrupt the
transmission and then to barricade themselves in the transmitter hall by
nailing all the doors shut, thus preventing early re-powering of the
transmitters. This part of the plan luckily was thwarted by our good
luck and Mike’s prompt actions. This was of course the reason the woman
was carrying the hammer. The Police questioned me closely as to whether
at any time they had threatened us with the hammer, but in all truth, I
had to say that the group behaved impeccably after being challenged. In
fact it seemed a major part of their policy was to get arrested and go
to court to extract the maximum publicity for their cause.
Winter Hill Base Station and Mast.
|Winter Hill mast replaced an earlier 140m (450 ft) high transmitter that was built in 1956. The current mast came into service in 1966 and is over double the height at 309.48m (1,015.4 ft) tall. It's not the tallest mast in the UK but as the base of the mast is 441m (1,446 ft) above sea level Winter Hill has the highest television transmitting antenna in the UK at 750.5m (2,462 ft) above sea level and also the highest point in Lancashire.