WHO remembers the Rediffusion Company in Exeter? Ken Ward certainly does.
Ken, who attended Ladysmith School and Exeter Technical School, started to work for Rediffusion in 1944 and remained with them, with the exception of National Service, until he was made redundant in 1988.
The company started life in the early 1930s as Exeter Radio Exchange, which relayed the two BBC radio programmes, the Home (now Radio 4) and Light (now Radio 2) over a cable network, direct to homes.
This system was licensed by the Exeter City Council and the distribution cable went from house to house along the eaves or between chimney stacks.
To use the system all that was required by the subscriber in the home was a simple selection switch, loudspeaker and volume control; no mains electricity was required.
Mr Ward said: "I believe the Radio Exchange Company was formed by Mr F D Newcombe who had a electrical components sales business from premises situated towards the top of North Street.
"In the early days of radio reception a relay system was a much simpler method of receiving radio programmes than a radio set.
"No outdoor aerial was required, nor the purchase of occasional HT (high tension) battery or the LT (low tension) accumulator which also had to be taken to a radio dealer or a garage for its weekly overnight charge.
"The relay company expanded its network through the city from a radio receiving and sound amplifying station situated in premises in Albert Street, Newtown, near its junction with Belmont Road.
"Payments were made to property owners for the attachment of cable, a rental of one shilling (5p) per year.
"In the Exeter Blitz these premises were lost in the bombing, together with all of the relay equipment.
"Not only was the sending equipment lost, but the overhead cable network was damaged because of the loss of properties in the bombing.
"At that time the main trunk cable feeding the St Thomas area of the city used the old poles which remained from the old tram route along High Street.
"The blitz damage to the whole of the system came at a tough difficult time and, with shortage of skilled labour, meant it would be a mammoth task to make good.
"The Exeter Relay Exchange was bought out by Broadcast Relay Service Ltd the parent company of Rediffusion.
"This company had a very extensive relay network on Tyneside and a number of skilled wiring gangs were quickly transferred to Exeter to get the cable up and working.
"At the same time a disused garage on the bomb site in Albert Street was used to house temporary receivers and amplifiers to get the system on the air.
"While this temporary work was being carried out, a permanent building was being erected on the same site, and constructed to the same standard as a surface air raid shelter.
"This building would house the latest receiving and amplifying equipment, and was brought into use in about 1942, and commenced trading as Rediffusion.
"To improve the quality of the radio programmes, post office direct lines were used between the BBC studio and the Rediffusion Control room.
A new showroom and offices were opened in Sidwell Street, next to Hammett's Dairies on the opposite side of the road to Force & Sons Estate Agents. At the rear of the property was a wiring store.
"Over the next few years the number of subscribers using the network greatly increased, and the company moved to larger premises at the top of Fore Street.
"As TV developed through the country the cable network was adapted to carry two TV channels in addition to the existing two radio programmes.
"Television aerials were attached to the old radar masts from the war years at the top of Pennsylvania and receiving equipment was set up there.
It was ideally situated to receive distant television channels that were otherwise out of range in with a normal aerial in the city.
"This receiving advantage continued for some years. Some satellite reception of TV was introduced in later years.
"The company moved its showroom to a more central position in Sidwell Street and had a substantial workshop and offices were specially built for them in Stover Court, Bampfylde Sreet.
"The distribution system proved to be very successful over many years.
"In more recent years the numbers of TV channels it was possible to receive with a normal aerial increased greatly in number, this had an adverse effect on the popularity of the company's cable system.
"Eventually BET, which was then the parent company of Rediffusion, was bought out.
"With the reduction of the number of subscribers using the cable network, the company concentrated on the sales and rental of television receivers.
"With the ageing cable network in decline it was decided that the company be split into two parts and offered for sale.
"The larger of the two sections, TV sales and rental, was bought out by Granada TV which moved to a showroom in the Guildhall Precinct where it successfully traded for many years.
"The cable network was taken over by Robert Maxwell, but did not remain in business very long after that."
In more recent years Ken has spent a considerable amount of time compiling two web sites from diaries, letters, and postcards his father wrote during the First World War while serving as a stretcher bearer on the Western Front.
They are: www.great-war-postcards.blogspot.com and www.staffs-soldiers-great war.blogspot.com