Home About Location Gallery YouTube Washford Early Days Anchor Inn
Home About Location Gallery YouTube Washford Early Days Anchor Inn

Open: Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10.30 am to 5.00 pm.

(Closed: Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays)

These times may change at short notice so please phone or email to check before travelling.

Admission is free but donations are most welcome.


Neil Wilson, 5 Anchor Street, Watchet, TA23 0AZ


Mobile: 07544 620 621

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Website maintained by Geoff Newland

Home About Location Gallery YouTube Washford Early Days Anchor Inn

We are in the centre of Watchet on the West Somerset coast. There is a car park opposite.

Find us on Google Maps: Click here

Find us on Google Street View: Click here

Visit Watchet: https://www.visit-watchet.co.uk

The entrance   Home ↑

Transmitter unit from BBC Moorside Edge   Home ↑

Early 1920s   Home ↑

Late 1920s - Early 1930s   Home ↑

Early 1930s   Home ↑

Mid 1930s   Home ↑

Late 1930s   Home ↑

Early 1940s   Home ↑

Late 1940s - Early 1950s   Home ↑

BBC Midget disc recorders 1944   Home ↑

1950s   Home ↑

1960s   Home ↑

BBC 'Longden' Outside Broadcast desk and a selection of portable tape machines - Uher 4000 Report Monitor, Ficord 1A and EMI RD4-1   Home ↑

BBC DRT/2 Transportable Disc Player   Home ↑

BBC Local Radio MkIII desk from BBC Radio Brighton (the turntables were originally on the left)   Home ↑

BBC LSU/4A Loudspeaker c.1939   Home ↑

BBC Microphones   Home ↑

BBC OBA/8 Outside Broadcast Equipment 1938   Home ↑

BBC OBA/9 Outside Broadcast Equipment 1952   Home ↑

BBC Type A studio desk 1945   Home ↑

BBC Type C Mobile Disc Recorder, BBC LSU-7 Monitor Loudspeaker and BBC-Marconi AXBT microphone   Home ↑

BBC Type D Continuity Desk 1970s   Home ↑

EMI BTR/2 Tape Recorder   Home ↑

WWII Forces Equipment   Home ↑

Home About Location Gallery YouTube Washford Early Days Anchor Inn



This section of our website is still under construction.


More information: http://www.orbem.co.uk/misc/washford.htm



Home About Location Gallery YouTube Washford Early Days Anchor Inn



In this video, Paul Kerensa of The British Broadcasting Century Podcast chats to Neil and sees everything from early BBC microphones to vintage TVs, via transmitters and radio sets from every decade of the last 100 years. The first Radio Times rubs shoulders with WW2-era mobile recording devices. Plus literature, early BBC gramophone records, and the archive of announcer Stuart Hibberd.




7 Feb 2013 BBC's Antiques Roadtrip visited Washford Radio Museum at Tropiquaria Somerset.


Home About Location Gallery YouTube Washford Early Days Anchor Inn

The original Washford Radio Museum opened in May 1993 at Tropiquaria. My aim was to give some idea of the intriguing history of the Washford Transmitting Station and its masts, as well as its part in the development of radio broadcasting. The Washford Radio Museum told the story of the BBC's West Regional Station from its inauguration in 1933 to its present use by Arqiva to broadcast BBC Radio Wales, Absolute Radio and TalkSport to the South West of England and South Wales.

Once the museum had become established, its initial meagre collection of radio receivers was gradually augmented by donations as well as my personal acquisitions. One of the more important items in the museum was a major part of a BBC transmitter, identical to what would have been in use at the Washford Station.

By 2014, I decided to move the museum to its new home, the former Anchor Inn, which was purchased the following year. Inside the building I have created a time-line of radio and television history depicting its development through the exhibits. In addition, I have an extensive archive of literature, sound recordings and service data for old equipment. I often receive requests for help in researching BBC history, from the UK and other countries or in restoring vintage radios, and it is always gratifying that my acquisition of obsolete literature is able to help them!

Home About Location Gallery YouTube Washford Early Days Anchor Inn

Back in 2015, when considering purchasing the Anchor Inn as a museum for my collection of vintage radio equipment, I made an interesting discovery during an unofficial viewing of the property. In a shed behind the skittle alley was the former Whitbread pub sign which had once hung outside the Anchor.

When the purchase was completed in May 2015, I looked forward to displaying the old sign in a corner of the Radio Museum which I intended to devote to the history of the building. However, when I went in search of the sign I had seen only few weeks before, I was disappointed to find it had disappeared.

I had no idea where it had gone. Was it taken by Enterprise Inns when they removed all the pub signage (including the later hanging sign) and fittings shortly before the sale? Had somebody discovered its location and "liberated" it? Or had it been hidden there by a local person who had returned to collect it?

For a while afterwards, I searched Ebay in case it came up for sale but succeeded only in finding an example of a picture card depicting the Anchor sign:

For a few years I forgot about the sign, presuming it to be permanently lost, until I decided to search the internet again. This time, to my amazement, an image of the actual sign that I remembered seeing in the shed appeared on the screen.

Despite there being many pubs with similar names, I believe that every pub sign bears an image unique to that establishment, so I was in no doubt that this picture was of the sign that once hung outside the Anchor in Watchet

The sign can be dated to within a period of about forty years. I have a photograph from 1957 which shows no hanging sign except a small one inscribed simply The Anchor Hotel. In 1959, Whitbread started buying shares in the former owners of the Anchor, brewers Starkey, Knight & Ford, eventually taking over the company completely in December 1962 with 400 tied houses.

At this time, Starkey's had breweries in Tiverton and Bridgwater although the Northgate Brewery in Bridgwater was closed by Whitbreads shortly after the takeover. After 1962, bottled beers such as Tivyy Pale and Tivvy Brown continued to be brewed at Tiverton and sold under the Starkey, Knight & Ford name. Then the brand disappeared completely, when in 1970 the West Country division was renamed Whitbread Devon Ltd. An aerial photograph from 1966 shows some sort of hanging sign, but the fascia still bears the inscription "Starkey's Prize Medal Ales".

In 2001, Whitbread sold their breweries and brewing interests to Belgium-based Interbrew, then in the following year, all their pubs, including the Anchor, were sold to Enterprise Inns. It was presumably at around this time that the Whitbread sign was removed and replaced

Unfortunately, the image of the sign which I had found was on the website of an auctioneer situated in California, USA. The auction date was nearly two years earlier in October 2018 but, after signing up to the website, I was able to discover that the sign had not sold. This gave me renewed hope that it may still be for sale somewhere, but having emailed the auction house twice in the hope of getting further information, I have not received a reply. It seems that for now, at least, the trail has gone cold.

Later when recounting this story to a friend, she commented that it was unusual that the sign had made it all the way across the Atlantic when, most things that came out of the Anchor had difficulty making it across the street!

I would be very pleased to hear from anyone with pictures or information relating to the Anchor's history.