Licence fees

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Slow rate of growth

In the early days of broadcasting the number of wireless users in Scotland was relatively low compared with some other parts of the country. In 1930 the BBC stated that while only 7,500 licences were issued monthly in Scotland, Ireland (a smaller country) took out 10,000 a month. The totals for August 1930 showed that England took 121,191 licences; Ireland, 9995; Scotland, 7377; Wales, 4991.[1]

Throughout the 1920s a stigma had been attached to Glasgow due to the relatively low number of licences taken out in the city. As a result of visits paid to various districts by the General Post Office, there had been a remarkable increase in the number of licences issued in 1931 and 1932, but the Postmaster-Surveyor, Colonel F. N. Westbury, said he was still not convinced that all the people of Glasgow with wireless sets had paid for licences.[2]

Table of figures

Date Scotland Glasgow Edinburgh Dundee Comments
Jan 1923 9,000[3] Curiously, it was estimated that there were only 3,000 sets in use.[4]
Oct 1923 25,000[5] This figure included all types of licence.
31 Oct 1923 31,000[6] Increase as a result of the deadline for purchasing an 'interim' licence.
Jan 1924 50,000 800 This was an estimate of the number of listeners, and therefore not reliable.[7]
Jun 1924 10,000-15,000 This was an estimate of the number of listeners, and therefore not reliable.[8]
Nov 1924 <1,000[9] Figures at the opening of the Dundee relay station on 12 Nov 1924.
Jan 1925 8,000[10] Dramatic increase since opening of Dundee relay.
Feb 1925 10,000 Estimated at least one unlicensed set for every licensed one.[11]
1 Nov 1925 10,200[12]
1928 57,000[13]
1929 58,000[14] Thought that around 70,000 actually using sets in Glasgow.
1930 61,000[15]
1931 Approx 260,000? 79,000[16] Scotland-wide yearly increase of 50,000.
1932 354,000 100,000[17] (12% of population) 10% of population) Yearly increase of nearly 100,000.[18] But still just 6% of Scottish population compared with 11% for England.[19]
19 July 1933 386,000 Melville Dinwiddie set target of reaching 500k by 1 Jan 1935.[20]
Sep 1936 651,140 17.54% 17.63% Greatest density: Selkirkshire, then Edinburgh, then Lanarkshire (inc Glasgow)[21]
31 Oct 1937 709,203[22] 190,000[23] Glasgow compares very unfavourably with figure for other large UK cities.
30 Jan 1946 981,000 268,000 125,000 Average of every 1 in 5 of the population. Greatest density: Stirling, Peebles, Kelso and Hawick.[24]
1947 1,030,000[25]
March 1948 1,056,000[26] This was 20.9% of the Scottish population (5,060,000), compared with a GB average of 22.9%.
30 April 1949 1,097,745[27]

TV licences

Year-ending Scotland Glasgow Edinburgh Comments
12 March 1952 1,641 211 514[28]
13 March 1952 2,730 440 654[29]
14 March 1952 4,330 936 973[30] Day of official arrival of TV in Scotland.
15 March 1952 5,585 1,316 1,140[31]
18 March 1952 7,000 (approx)[32]
31 March 1952 12,560[33]
30 April 1952 12,618[34]
30 June 1952 21,000 (approx)[35]
30 Sep 1952 26,738[36] 8,815[37] 4,370[38] An increase in Glasgow from 8,237 as a result of a two-week tour by the TV detector van.
31 Oct 1952 31,128[39]
21 Jan 1953 36,390 12,280 5,723 Scotland now has more viewers than Wales.[40]
6 Feb 1953 41,699? 14,195 6,390[41]

References

  1. 'Scots and wireless', Daily Record, 15 November 1930.
  2. 'Glasgow's 100,000th licence', Glasgow Herald, 21 December 1932, 18.
  3. 'Scotland's First Broadcasting Station', Courier, 25 January 1923, 4.
  4. 'The Wireless World', Evening Times, 6 March 1923, 3.
  5. '31,000 licences issued in Glasgow in October', Glasgow Herald, 3 November 1923, 6.
  6. '31,000 licences issued in Glasgow in October', Glasgow Herald, 3 November 1923, 6.
  7. 'Edinburgh Broadcasting Station', Scotsman, 15 Jan 1924, 4.
  8. 'Edinburgh Wireless: Dangerous Aerials', Edinburgh Evening News, 6 June 1924.
  9. 'Dundee's Wireless Boom', Evening Telegraph, 8 January 1925, 1.
  10. 'Dundee's Wireless Boom', Evening Telegraph, 8 January 1925, 1.
  11. 'Dundee Views on Wireless Bill', Evening Telegraph, 16 February 1925, 4.
  12. 'Year of Dundee Broadcast', Evening Telegraph, 5 November 1925, 6.
  13. 'Glasgow's 100,000th licence', Glasgow Herald, 21 December 1932, 18.
  14. 'Glasgow's 100,000th licence', Glasgow Herald, 21 December 1932, 18. Glasgow Herald of 8 October 1929 suggested it was 60,000.
  15. 'Glasgow's 100,000th licence', Glasgow Herald, 21 December 1932, 18.
  16. 'Glasgow's 100,000th licence', Glasgow Herald, 21 December 1932, 18.
  17. 'Glasgow's 100,000th licence', Glasgow Herald, 21 December 1932, 18.
  18. 'Scottish listeners: big increase in licences', Scotsman, 17 February 1933, 11.
  19. Reith to Dinwiddie, 28 July 1933, BBC WAC R13/369/2.
  20. 'Publicity campaign: Scottish Region', DIA to Controller, 19 July 1933, BBC WAC R13/369/2.
  21. 'Wireless licence-holders in Scotland', Glasgow Herald, 17 December 1936, 6.
  22. 'Regional Director's talk', Glasgow Herald, 31 December 1937, 7.
  23. 'Wireless licences in Glasgow', Glasgow Herald, 11 November 1937, 6.
  24. 'Wireless licences in Scotland', Glasgow Herald, 30 January 1946, 6.
  25. Notes for Scottish Advisory Council meeting, 27 January 1947, BBC WAC R6/187.
  26. 'Listener research and analysis of Scottish broadcasting', paper for Scottish Advisory Council meeting, 1948, BBC WAC R6/188.
  27. 'BBC relations with the press', Scottish Advisory Council paper, 1949, BBC WAC R6/188.
  28. 'Licences issued to 1641 applicants', Glasgow Herald, 14 March 1952, 5.
  29. 'Rush For Licences', Glasgow Herald, 15 March 1952, 5.
  30. 'More Licences Issued', Glasgow Herald, 17 March 1952, 3.
  31. 'More Scots TV Licences', Glasgow Herald, 18 March 1952, 4.
  32. 'TV Licences Warning', Glasgow Herald, 20 March 1952, 9.
  33. 'House of Commons: Scottish Licences', Glasgow Herald, 10 April 1952, 6.
  34. 'Glasgow Demand for TV Sets', Glasgow Herald, 19 December 1952, 6.
  35. 'Television in Scotland', Glasgow Herald, 31 July 1952, 2.
  36. 'Licences Issued', Glasgow Herald, 22 November 1952, 6.
  37. 'Television licences', Glasgow Herald, 26 September 1952, 7.
  38. 'Television Van', Glasgow Herald, 2 October 1952, 7.
  39. 'Glasgow Demand for TV Sets', Glasgow Herald, 19 December 1952, 6.
  40. '36,390 Scots TV Licences', Glasgow Herald, 12 January 1953, 4.
  41. '36,390 More TV Licences', Glasgow Herald, 7 February 1953, 7.