John Logie Baird (13th August 1888 to 14th June 1946)


Here I am on Frith Street in Soho in London looking for an anonymous room above an Italian-themed cafe. Here on Friday 30th October 1925 John Logie Baird became the first person to demonstrate a working television. He was a pioneering Scottish engineer - Mr Television, inventing the mechanical television, the first publicly demonstrated colour television and the first electronic colour television. Iím sure youíve seen the famous grainy footage of him demonstrating a working television using a ventriloquists dummy's head.


It was good to see there's a plaque on the wall to remember the historic occasion (some house/premise-owners refuse to have them) but I didn't see one person stop to read it. I can remember the poor footage of the first transmission of a moving object and made sure I looked up at the top windows where it happened. The premises accommodate an Italian cafe now but in 1925 there was a laboratory. How many people who eat here know that in a room above something happened that we now take for granted - live transmission of moving images and its reception elsewhere. John first transmitted the image of a ventriloquist's dummy and then asked office boy William Taynton to appear - I suppose this made him the first person ever to appear on television in the UK. It all started up on this street in Soho and the room is now probably used to store pasta and sauces.

In his later years John lived (and died of a stroke aged just 57) in Sussex and now lies forevermore with his mum, dad, wife and daughter in Helesburgh Cemetery in Scotland (heís on my list.) I did a salute and left.