The Stort Navigation is the canalised section of the River Stort running 22 kilometres from the town of Bishop's Stortford, downstream to its confluence with the Lee Navigation at Feildes Weir near Rye House, Hertfordshire. With the growth of the malt trade in Bishop's Stortford in the early eighteenth century, attention turned to providing better transport facilities; the River Stort joined the River Lea, the malt trade at Ware had benefitted from improvements made on that river. A similar solution was therefore sought for the Stort, a public meeting was held on 11 December 1758; the chief promoter seems to have been Thomas Adderley. A bill was duly submitted to parliament, became an Act of Parliament in March 1759, it was entitled An Act for making the River Stort navigable, in the counties of Hertford and Essex, from the New Bridge, in the town of Bishop Stortford, into the River Lea, near a Place called the Rye, in the county of Hertford. Commissioners were appointed to raise the capital to fund the project.
They failed in this duty, the powers of the first act lapsed, as it imposed time limits during which the work had to be completed. A second Act of Parliament was sought after three men proposed to the Commissioners that they would fund the scheme in return for the tolls; this met with the Commissioners' approval, the new Act was obtained on 30 March 1766. It was entitled An Act for making and continuing navigable the River Stort, in the counties of Hertford and Essex, it empowered Charles Dingley, George Jackson and William Masterson to build the Navigation and to collect tolls, they had five years to complete the work, the powers of the first Act were repealed by the second. Work began on 24 September, under the direction of Thomas Yeoman, the surveyor for the Lee Navigation, was completed in autumn 1769; the navigation, which included fifteen locks, was opened on 24 October 1769. In 1796, Jackson issued a Stort halfpenny token for use on the Navigation; the reverse shows the course of the river with a horse-drawn barge in the foreground.
It was struck despite the date on the piece. Conrad Heinrich Küchler was the designer; because the navigation was funded, there is no record of the actual cost, but Jackson, speaking in 1812 and by named Sir George Duckett, stated that it had not been a good business proposition. The Lee Navigation paid the proprietors £105 in 1774, for improvements made to the junction between the two rivers. Trade increased rising from around 18,000 or 19,000 tons in 1791 to 40,000 tons in 1811; the tolls specified by the enabling Act of Parliament were. And so in proportion for any less Quantity. Boats returning with a back lading of Oil-cake, Malt-dust, Pigeon Dung or any other Kind of Manure, which have passed up or down the River before, paid the Tolls or Rates on their Cargoes, shall be exempted from Tonnage Rate on such Manure. Once the Stort was navigable to Bishop's Stortford, there was interest in making it part of a larger network; the City of London's Thames and Canal Committee appointed the engineer Robert Whitworth to survey a route for a canal between Bishop's Stortford and Cambridge.
He was to produce a report, including an estimate of the cost of construction, give his opinion on whether any other route to Cambridge might be better. Although he was asked to do this in November 1779, it was more than a year until he produced the report, published on 6 December 1780, his plan followed the obvious route, passing up the Stort valley, crossing into the Granta valley to reach Cambridge. However, this involved passing in front of Audley End, the home of Lord Howard de Walden, who vehemently opposed the scheme. A public meeting held in November 1781 ended in disarray, no further action was taken at the time. John Phillips was next to revive the plan in 1785, although it was a small part of a grand scheme to link London to Kings Lynn, he hoped to avoid the opposition experienced by routing his Bishop's Stortford to Cambridge link to the west of the Shotgrove and Audley End estates. He did not find favour. George Jackson proposed a route to the Thames and Canal Committee in 1788, which passed behind Audley End and through Saffron Walden.
This was surveyed by Samuel Weston. Lord Howard opposed this route, too. In 1789, a line proposed by John Rennie was considered, which would have passed through Saffron Walden to join the River Little Ouse near Wilton Ferry. A bill was withdrawn in the face of serious opposition; the next attempt was made in 1811, with Jackson, now called Sir George Duckett, driving the plan. A bill was defeated in committee. A second bill was introduced in January 1812, with some modifications, despite organised opposition, became an Act of Parliament on 9 June 1812, it authorised the raising of £870,000 for the project, which included 52 locks on the main line, 13 on a branch to Whaddon, three tunnels. Work could not be started. However, only £121,300 was subscribed, so a second Act was obtained in 1814, to authorise just the sections from the River Cam to Saffron Walden, the branch to Whaddon. Despite the authorisation, no work was done, the idea of the London and Cambridge Junction Canal faded away. A change of ownership occurred in 1832, when the bankers Duckett and Company failed, Sir George Duckett, one of the original three funders, became bankrupt.
At the time, the annual income from tolls was around £5,000, the whole concern was es
London King's Cross railway station
King's Cross railway station known as London King's Cross, is a passenger railway terminus in the London Borough of Camden, on the edge of Central London. It is in the London station group, one of the busiest stations in the United Kingdom and the southern terminus of the East Coast Main Line to North East England and Scotland. Adjacent to King's Cross station is St Pancras International, the London terminus for Eurostar services to continental Europe. Beneath both main line stations is King's Cross St. Pancras tube station on the London Underground; the station was opened in Kings Cross in 1852 by the Great Northern Railway on the northern edge of Central London to accommodate the East Coast Main Line. It grew to cater for suburban lines and was expanded several times in the 19th century, it came under the ownership of the London and North Eastern Railway as part of the Big Four grouping in 1923, who introduced famous services such as the Flying Scotsman and locomotives such as Mallard. The station complex was redeveloped in the 1970s, simplifying the layout and providing electric suburban services, it became a major terminus for the high-speed InterCity 125.
As of 2018, long-distance trains from King's Cross are run by London North Eastern Railway to Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central via York and Newcastle. In addition, Great Northern runs suburban commuter trains around north London. In the late 20th century, the area around the station became known for its seedy and downmarket character, was used as a backdrop for several films as a result. A major redevelopment was undertaken in the 21st century, including restoration of the original roof, the station became well known for its association with the Harry Potter books and films the fictional Platform 9¾; the station stands on the London Inner Ring Road at the eastern end of Euston Road, next to the junction with Pentonville Road, Gray's Inn Road and York Way, in what is now the London Borough of Camden. To the west, at the other side of Pancras Road, is St Pancras railway station. Several London bus routes, including 10, 30, 59, 73, 91, 205, 390, 476 pass in front of or to the side of the station.
King's Cross is spelled both without an apostrophe. King's Cross is used in signage at the Network Rail and London Underground stations, on the Tube map and on the official Network Rail webpage, it featured on early Underground maps, but has been used on them since 1951. Kings X, Kings + and London KX are abbreviations used in space-limited contexts; the National Rail station code is KGX. The area of King's Cross was a village known as Battle Bridge, an ancient crossing of the River Fleet known as Broad Ford Bradford Bridge; the river flowed along what is now the west side of Pancras Road until it was rerouted underground in 1825. The name "Battle Bridge" is linked to tradition that this was the site of a major battle between the Romans and the Celtic British Iceni tribe led by Boudica. According to folklore, King's Cross is the site of Boudica's final battle and some sources say she is buried under one of the platforms. Platforms 9 and 10 have been suggested as possible sites. Boudica's ghost is reported to haunt passages under the station, around platforms 8–10.
King's Cross station was built in 1851–52 as the London terminus of the Great Northern Railway, was the fifth London terminal to be constructed. It replaced a temporary station next to Maiden Lane, constructed with the line's arrival in London in 1850; the station took its name from the King's Cross building, a monument to King George IV that stood in the area and was demolished in 1845. Construction was on the site of a smallpox hospital and it replaced a temporary terminus at Maiden Lane that had opened on 7 August 1850. Plans for the station were made in December 1848 under the direction of George Turnbull, resident engineer for constructing the first 20 miles of the Great Northern Railway out of London; the station's detailed design was by Lewis Cubitt, the brother of Thomas Cubitt, Sir William Cubitt. The design comprised two great arched train sheds, with a brick structure at the south end designed to reflect the arches behind, its main feature was a 112-foot high clock tower that held treble and bass bells, the latter weighing 1 ton 9 cwt.
In size, it was inspired by the 200 yards long Moscow Riding Academy of 1825, leading to its built length of 268 yards. The station, the biggest in England, opened on 14 October 1852, it had one arrival and one departure platform, the space between was used for carriage sidings. The platforms have been reconfigured several times, they have been numbered 1 to 8 since 1972. Suburban traffic grew with the opening of stations at Hornsey in 1850, Holloway Road in 1856, Wood Green in 1859 and Seven Sisters Road in 1861. Midland Railway services to Leicester via Hitchin and Bedford began running from King's Cross on 1 February 1858. More platforms were added in 1862. In 1866, a connection was made via the Metropolitan Railway to the London and Dover Railway at Farringdon, with goods and passenger services to South London via Herne Hill. A separate suburban station to the west of the main building, housing platforms 9–11 as of 1972 and known initi
Buntingford is a small market town and civil parish in the district of East Hertfordshire and county of Hertfordshire in England. It lies on the Roman road Ermine Street; as a result of its location, it grew as a staging post with many coaching inns and has an 18th-century one-cell prison known as The Cage, by the ford at the end of Church Street. It has a population of 4,820; the town has an annual firework display at The Bury, presented by Buntingford Town Football Club. It is Hertfordshire's smallest town; the Prime Meridian passes to the east of Buntingford. The town has a large number of Georgian and medieval buildings, such as Buntingford almshouses, Buntingford Manor House and the Red House. Buntingford was a stop-over on what was the main route between London and Cambridge, now the A10. Due to its desirability as a commuter town in recent years, the town has grown in the past few decades, the most noticeable recent addition being the "Bovis Estate", informally named after the housing firm that constructed there.
Other housing estates are: Freman Drive, Vicarage Road, Snells Mead, Downhall Ley, Monks Walk, Kingfisher Park. The town has grown further with further new developments, notably: The Village, Meadow Vale, Knights Walk & The Maples; the population of Buntingford is expected to rise by 1,500 to 6,500 inhabitants by 2021, marking the largest period of development since the 1960s when the former Sainsbury's depot site was constructed and housing estates to support new workers were constructed. Buntingford was traditionally located within the parish of Layston – St Bartholomew's Church is now derelict and lies about half a mile to the north-east of the town. St Peter's Church a relief chapel, is the Anglican church in Buntingford and is an unique brick building from the age of the 17th-century Puritans. St Richard's serves the Roman Catholic community. There is a United Reformed Church in Baldock Road. Queen Elizabeth I stayed at Buntingford in a building now called the Bell House Gallery, on a coach journey to Cambridge.
Just up the High Street, The Angel Inn, now a dental surgery, was a staging post for coaches travelling from London to Cambridge. The name of the town is believed to originate from tribe Bunta. Market day is Monday, early closing Wednesday; the Buntingford Carnival is held every other year. There is a classic car event held in the town each year in the early autumn; the town has a number of public houses – The Brambles, The Fox and Duck, The Black Bull, The Crown and The Jolly Sailors. The'World Sausage Tossing Championship' has taken place at The Countryman Inn, in Chipping near Buntingford, every August since 2014. Buntingford railway station, opened in 1863, was closed under the Beeching cuts; this was the terminus for the Buntingford Branch Line. It has been redeveloped into housing. Buntingford is home to various independent shops and pubs located in the town's high street. Buntingford has a Sainsbury's local. Just outside the town are two BP fuel stations at each end of the bypass; the town was home to the Sainsbury's Anglia Distribution Centre, but this was vacated and knocked down for housing in 2014.
The site had been used as a Royal Army Ordnance Corps munitions factory, known locally as "the Dump". Team BMR and Triple Eight Racing, two major UK auto racing teams, are based in the town. Buntingford uses a three-tier school system. There are four schools in Buntingford: Freman College, Bowling Green Lane, Buntingford, SG9 9BT. Known as Ward Freman Upper School. Edwinstree C of E Middle School, has some 450 pupils in four year-groups and 16 classes, Norfolk Road, Buntingford, SG9 9AW. Layston First School, has about 150 pupils in a small nursery. Milfield First School, has about 150 pupils in a small nursery. Luynes, France Ólvega, Spain The Hundred Parishes Buntingford Town Council
Hoddesdon is a town in the Broxbourne borough of the English county of Hertfordshire, situated in the Lea Valley. It grew up as a coaching stop on the route between London, it is located 3 miles West of Harlow 4 miles southeast of Hertford, 5 miles north of Waltham Cross and 11 miles southwest of Bishop's Stortford. At its height during the 18th century, more than 35 coaches a day passed through the town, it saw a boom in the mid 20th century as gravel was extracted from the area, but was exhausted by the 1970s. The lakes and water pits left behind have been used as leisure amenities. Today, Hoddesdon has a little light industry but is a London commuter belt town; the town hosted the eighth Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne in 1951. It is twinned with the Belgian city of Dinant; the Prime Meridian passes just to the east of Hoddesdon. The town is served by nearby Broxbourne railway station; the name "Hoddesdon" is believed to be derived from a Saxon or Danish personal name combined with the Old English suffix "don", meaning a down or hill.
The earliest historical reference to the name is in the Domesday Book within the hundred of Hertford. Hoddesdon was situated about 20 miles north of London on the main road to Cambridge and to the north; the road forked in the centre of the town, with the present High Street dividing into Amwell Street and Burford Street, both leading north to Ware. From an early date there were a large number of inns lining the streets to serve the needs of travellers. A market charter was granted to Robert Boxe, lord of the manor, in 1253. By the 14th century the Hospital of St Laud and St Anthony had been established in the south of Hoddesdon; the institution survived the dissolution of the monasteries, but had ceased to exist by the mid 16th century, although it is commemorated in the name of Spital Brook which divides Hoddesdon from Broxbourne. In 1336 William de la Marche was licensed to build a chapel of ease in the town; the building, known as St Katharine's Chapel, survived until the 17th century, when it was demolished.
The tower survived until 1836. The chapel was used by pilgrims to the shrine at Walsingham; the town was enlarged in the reign of Elizabeth I, a number of inns in the High Street date from this time. The monarch granted a royal charter in 1559/60, placing the town government under a bailiff and eight assistants; the charter established a free grammar school based on the site of the former hospital, this was placed under the care of the corporation. Neither the borough nor the school flourished and both had ceased to exist by the end of the century. In 1567 Sir William Cecil acquired the manor of Hoddesdonsbury and two years Elizabeth granted him the neighbouring manor of Baas. From that date the Cecils maintained a connection with the town, recorded by the naming of The Salisbury Arms: the title Marquess of Salisbury was granted to James Cecil in 1789. In 1622 Sir Marmaduke Rawdon built Rawdon House, a red-brick mansion which still survives. Rawdon provided the town with its first public water supply, flowing from a statue known as the "Samaritan Woman".
In 1683 there was an alleged Whig conspiracy to assassinate or mount an insurrection against Charles II of England because of his pro-Roman Catholic policies. This plot was known as the Rye House Plot, named from Rye House at Hoddesdon, near which ran a narrow road where Charles was supposed to be killed as he travelled from a horse meeting at Newmarket. By chance, according to the official narrative, the king's unexpectedly early departure in March foiled the plot. Ten weeks on 1 June, an informer's allegations prompted a government investigation; the subsequent history of Rye House has been less dramatic. In 1870 the current owner, William Henry Teale, opened a pleasure garden, displaying the Great Bed of Ware, which he had acquired, it was such a popular destination for excursions from London that an extra station was built on the Liverpool Street to Hertford East line to serve it. By the early 20th century, the tourist trade had fallen off, Rye House was demolished, apart from the Gatehouse.
Rye House Gatehouse still stands today, is now a Grade 1 listed building, with high-quality diaper brickwork and a "barley sugar twist" chimney. It is open to the public at weekends and bank holidays during the summer, featuring displays about the Plot and the early history of brick-building; the rest of the grass-covered site has the floor-plan of the house marked out. A new chapel of ease, dedicated to St Paul, was built in 1762; this was subsequently rebuilt and enlarged, in 1844 become the parish church when Hoddesdon was created a separate ecclesiastical parish. The town had been divided between the two parishes of Broxbourne and Great Amwell; the boundary between the two parishes ran through an archway in the town's High Street. When this building was demolished in the 1960s, a specially inscribed stone was set into the pavement marking the historic boundary. In place of St Katharine's Chapel a new clock house was built. Brewing was first established in the town in about 1700. In 1803, William Christie established a brewery in the town, it became a major employer and one of the largest breweries in England.
The brewery continued in operation until 1928. Most of the brewery buildings was demolished in 1930, although part was converted into a cinema itself since demolished; some remnants of the establishment remain in Brewery Road. By the mid-19th century the town still consisted principally of one street, had a population of 1,743. Malt was being produced and transported to London via the R
Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, London to the south-west; the county town is the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region. Essex occupies the eastern part of the ancient Kingdom of Essex, which united with the other Anglian and Saxon kingdoms to make England a single nation state; as well as rural areas, the county includes London Stansted Airport, the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, Lakeside Shopping Centre, the port of Tilbury and the borough of Southend-on-Sea. The name Essex originates in the Anglo-Saxon period of the Early Middle Ages and has its root in the Anglo-Saxon name Ēastseaxe, the eastern kingdom of the Saxons who had come from the continent and settled in Britain during the Heptarchy. Recorded in AD 527, Essex occupied territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating all of what became Middlesex and most of what became Hertfordshire.
Its territory was restricted to lands east of the River Lea. Colchester in the north-east of the county is Britain's oldest recorded town, dating from before the Roman conquest, when it was known as Camulodunum and was sufficiently well-developed to have its own mint. In AD 824, following the Battle of Ellandun, the kingdoms of the East Saxons, the South Saxons and the Jutes of Kent were absorbed into the kingdom of the West Saxons, uniting Saxland under King Alfred's grandfather Ecgberht. Before the Norman conquest the East Saxons were subsumed into the Kingdom of England. After the Norman conquest, Essex became a county. During the medieval period, much of the area was designated a Royal forest, including the entire county in a period to 1204, when the area "north of the Stanestreet" was disafforested; the areas subject to forest law diminished, but at various times they included the forests of Becontree, Epping, Hatfield and Waltham. Essex County Council was formed in 1889. However, County Boroughs of West Ham, Southend-on-Sea and East Ham formed part of the county but were unitary authorities.
12 boroughs and districts provide more localised services such as rubbish and recycling collections and planning, as shown in the map on the right. A few Essex parishes have been transferred to other counties. Before 1889, small areas were transferred to Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. At the time of the main changes around 1900, parts of Helions Bumpstead, Sturmer and Ballingdon-with-Brundon were transferred to Suffolk. Part of Hadstock, part of Ashton and part of Chrishall were transferred to Cambridgeshire and part of Great Horkesley went to Suffolk; the boundary with Greater London was established in 1965, when East Ham and West Ham county boroughs and the Barking, Dagenham, Ilford, Romford and Wanstead and Woodford districts were transferred to form the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Waltham Forest. Essex became part of the East of England Government Office Region in 1994 and was statistically counted as part of that region from 1999, having been part of the South East England region.
In 1998, the boroughs of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock were granted autonomy from the administrative county of Essex after successful requests to become unitary authorities. Essex Police covers the two unitary authorities; the county council chamber and main headquarters is at the County Hall in Chelmsford. Before 1938, the council met in London near Moorgate, which with significant parts of the county close to that point and the dominance of railway travel had been more convenient than any place in the county, it has 75 elected councillors. Before 1965, the number of councillors reached over 100; the County Hall, made a listed building in 2007, dates from the mid-1930s and is decorated with fine artworks of that period the gift of the family who owned the textile firm Courtaulds. The highest point of the county of Essex is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, which reaches 482 feet; the ceremonial county of Essex is bounded to the south by its estuary.
The pattern of settlement in the county is diverse. The Metropolitan Green Belt has prevented the further sprawl of London into the county, although it contains the new towns of Basildon and Harlow developed to resettle Londoners after the destruction of London housing in the Second World War, since which they have been developed and expanded. Epping Forest prevents the further spread of the Greater London Urban Area; as it is not far from London with its economic magnetism, many of Essex's settlements those near or within short driving distance of railway stations, function as dormitory towns or villages where London workers raise their families. Part of the s
The M11 motorway is a 55-mile motorway that runs north from the North Circular Road in South Woodford in northeast London to the A14, northwest of Cambridge, England. Proposed as early as 1915, various plans were considered throughout the 1960s, with final construction being undertaken between 1975 and 1980; the motorway was opened in stages, with the first stage opening in June 1975, the completed motorway becoming operational in February 1980. Running from South Woodford to Girton, the motorway provides direct access to Harlow, a large new town, as well as the city of Cambridge and since 2002, the motorway has improved access to London Stansted Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the United Kingdom; the M11 starts in South Woodford in northeast London at Junction 4, with the North Circular, it heads NNE, passing east of Loughton and Theydon Bois as well as Epping Forest, meeting the M25 motorway at Junction 6, veering north, passing to the east of Harlow. The M11 gives access to Bishop's Stortford and the motorway's only service station via Junction 8.
This is followed by the constructed Junction 8A, which provides a free-flow link to the improved A120 that links to Stansted Airport. The M11 traverses part of Cambridgeshire, meeting a spur for the A11 at Junction 9, finally ends at Junction 14, the busy Girton Interchange, with the road continuing through the junction and becoming the A14, which continues the route on to Huntingdon and the north; the motorway starts with three northbound. From Junction 8 the motorway has two lanes in both directions all the way to Junction 14 where the motorway terminates; the motorway is illuminated at the southern terminus near Junction 4, at Junction 6, at the approach to Junction 8/8A, at the northern terminus at Junction 14, for the A14. All four of these sections use modern high pressure sodium lighting; the older, low-pressure sodium lighting used at junctions 4 and 6 was replaced in 2005. The numbering of the M11 junctions is unusual, as 1–3 are neither used nor shared with another road; this means that southbound drivers reaching the end of the M11 have to use the A12 & A11 to reach central London.
Plans for an'Eastern Avenue' in London had been proposed as early as 1915, the Eastern Avenue Extension was causing local concern in Leyton and Hackney during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was opposed by a number of groups, including the Hackney Society and local residents as represented by their member of parliament in 1962. By 1966,the Ministry of Transport was planning a longer road and for it to be motorway; the first version had a mid-south section, to follow a River Lea route, starting at Angel southwest of Dalston, heading northeast north, taking land by the river in Walthamstow and Waltham Cross, meeting the built road alignment of today north of Harlow. The road from South Woodford to Islington would have been designated as the M12; the route was in planning stages with several options, with differences between the plans preferred by the Greater London Council and the Ministry of Transport – a different version called for this'Eastern Avenue' to run more east–west alongside the Regent's Canal and the north side of Victoria Park, Hackney Wick, where it would have connected to the North Cross and East Cross Routes at the northeast corner of an inner ringway identified by the London Ringways plan.
There were three proposed routes from the inner to outer ringway at the base of the current M11 and it is unclear which one was favoured. Under one scheme, south of South Woodford a connection would have been made with the western end of a proposed "M12" towards Colchester; these proposals made the case for an M15 motorway for the Ringway 2, a major upgrade of the North Circular Road to typical motorway standard. When the southern end of the current M11 ended here, space was provided between the two carriageways to enable an offshoot of'the M12' to merge from the southwest: junctions 1, 2 and 3 were reserved for this additional inner London section. Part of the unbuilt route of a southern section of the M11 is seen from a sliproad from the North Circular to the M11 which travels over a bridge over bare land, it was announced in March 1975 that from Junction 8 to the northern terminus, would not be "constructed to M1 standard". This was another way of stating that, following a change in government policy, this section would comprise two rather than three lanes in each direction.
The M11 Link Road, or more formally'A12 Hackney to M11 link road' was constructed during the 1990s from Hackney Wick by Victoria Park to the Redbridge Roundabout—the Wanstead interchange of the North Circular—and was opened in 1999. The route of this road, which followed a similar route to one of the initial proposals resulted in the protracted M11 link road protest between 1993 and 1995, one of a spate of major UK road protests under the Major ministry. An official plan to add north-facing connections at Junction 5 in Debden, Loughton was abandoned in 1998; the Highways Agency tabled proposals to upgrade the M11, between junction 6 and 8, from three lanes plus hard shoulder to four each way with an estimated cost of £698 million given in 2007. A number of public consultations were made throughout 2007 and although efforts were
Channel 4 is a British public-service free-to-air television network that began transmission on 2 November 1982. Although commercially-self-funded, it is publicly-owned. With the conversion of the Wenvoe transmitter group in Wales to digital terrestrial broadcasting on 31 March 2010, Channel 4 became a UK-wide TV channel for the first time; the channel was established to provide a fourth television service to the United Kingdom in addition to the licence-funded BBC One and BBC Two, the single commercial broadcasting network ITV. Before Channel 4 and S4C, Britain had three terrestrial television services: BBC1, BBC2, ITV; the Broadcasting Act 1980 began the process of adding a fourth, Channel 4, along with its Welsh counterpart, was formally created by an Act of Parliament in 1982. After some months of test broadcasts, it began scheduled transmissions on 2 November 1982; the notion of a second commercial broadcaster in the United Kingdom had been around since the inception of ITV in 1954 and its subsequent launch in 1955.
Indeed, television sets sold throughout the 1970s and early 1980s had a spare tuning button labelled "ITV/IBA 2". Throughout ITV's history and until Channel 4 became a reality, a perennial dialogue existed between the GPO, the government, the ITV companies and other interested parties, concerning the form such an expansion of commercial broadcasting would take, it was most politics which had the biggest impact in leading to a delay of three decades before the second commercial channel became a reality. One clear benefit of the "late arrival" of the channel was that its frequency allocations at each transmitter had been arranged in the early 1960s, when the launch of an ITV2 was anticipated; this led to good coverage across most of the country and few problems of interference with other UK-based transmissions. At the time the fourth service was being considered, a movement in Wales lobbied for the creation of dedicated service that would air Welsh-language programmes only catered for at "off peak" times on BBC Wales and HTV.
The campaign was taken so by Gwynfor Evans, former president of Plaid Cymru, that he threatened the government with a hunger strike were it not to honour the plans. The result was that Channel 4 as seen by the rest of the United Kingdom would be replaced in Wales by Sianel Pedwar Cymru. Operated by a specially created authority, S4C would air programmes in Welsh made by HTV, the BBC and independent companies. Limited frequency space meant that Channel 4 could not be broadcast alongside S4C, though some Channel 4 programmes would be aired at less popular times on the Welsh variant, a practice that carried on up until the closure of S4C's analogue transmissions in 2010 when S4C became a Welsh channel. Since carriage on digital cable and digital terrestrial has introduced Channel 4 to Welsh homes where it is now universally available; the first voice heard on Channel 4's opening day of Tuesday 2 November 1982 was that of continuity announcer Paul Coia who said: Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be able to say to you, welcome to Channel Four.
Following the announcement, the channel headed into a montage of clips from its programmes set to the station's signature tune, "Fourscore", written by David Dundas, which would form the basis of the station's jingles for its first decade. The first programme to air on the channel was the teatime game show Countdown, at 16:45 produced by Yorkshire Television; the first person to be seen on Channel 4 was Richard Whiteley with Ted Moult being the second. The first woman on the channel, contrary to popular belief, was not Whiteley's Countdown co-host Carol Vorderman but a lexicographer only identified as Mary. Whiteley opened the show with the words: As the countdown to a brand new channel ends, a brand new countdown begins. On its first day, Channel 4 broadcast controversial soap opera Brookside, which ran until 2003. On its launch, Channel 4 committed itself to providing an alternative to the existing channels, an agenda in part set out by its remit which required the provision of programming to minority groups.
In step with its remit, the channel became well received both by minority groups and the arts and cultural worlds during this period under founding chief executive Jeremy Isaacs, where the channel gained a reputation for programmes on the contemporary arts. Channel 4 co-commissioned Robert Ashley's ground-breaking television opera Perfect Lives, which it premiered over several episodes in 1984; the channel did not receive mass audiences for much of this period, however, as might be expected for a station focusing on minority interest. Channel 4 began the funding of independent films, such as the Merchant-Ivory docudrama The Courtesans of Bombay, during this time. In 1992, Channel 4 faced its first libel case by Jani Allan, a South African journalist, who objected to her representation in Nick Broomfield's documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife. In September 1993, the channel broadcast the direct-to-TV documentary film Beyond Citizen Kane, in which it displayed the dominant position of the Rede Globo television network, discussed its influence and political connections in Brazil.
After control of the station passed from the Channel Four Television Co