BAIRD, John Logie 1888-1946. Pioneer of television. Born in Scotland, Baird was driven south by ill-health. In 1924, from a Hastings attic, he made the world’s first practical television transmission, followed a year later by the first public broadcast (from Selfridge’s) and, in 1927, by transmission over the Atlantic. Attracted to the high towers of the Crystal Palace, in 1933 he moved to 3 Crescent Wood Road (where he stayed until 1941) and set up a studio in the South Tower, experimenting with ultra-short wave and colour transmissions.
In 1936 a government committee was set up to adjudicate between Baird’s part-mechanical 240-line system, and EMI’s rival all-electronic 405-line system. Unfortunately for Baird, the committee recommended the rival system, as it probably would have done even if Baird had not been unlucky enough to lose essential equipment in the fire which destroyed the Crystal Palace late that year, as his inferior system was at the limit of its potential achievement.
Mystery surrounds Baird’s work in his last few years, and he may have been engaged on secret work involving radar and the high-speed transmission of printed and filmed material.