M • I • N • I
M • E • M • O • R • I • E • S
These pages are devoted to special memories of Big L in the Sixties.
If you have a particular memory of something that happened while listening to Radio London, won a station competition, or have unearthed some rare memorabilia, please click on the mail button to the right and let us know!

"It WASN'T just about the music – everyone on the mv Galaxy became our friends"

Deryck High got a lot of 'stick' when he won a major prize from Silmos Lollies!

Although I have just turned 50, the days of Big L are still so, so clear to me.

I had my first transistor radio for Christmas in 1964. Radio London had just started and, from that day on, the dial never moved from 266 ("the place for kicks"). There seems to be no-one these days that I can reminisce with about those special years. People don't understand those pirate radio days and would laugh if they knew the importance that a radio station had on me during those teenage years. We all know that it WASN'T just about the music – everyone on the MV Galaxy became our "friends". Not one for going out (11 and 12 year olds didn't then – too much homework!) I used to listen at every minute that I could.

I have so many memories of those years and just the opening chords of songs like "Iko Iko", "River Deep", "Happy Jack", "Long Live Love", "Don't Sleep in the Subway", "Where Are You Now My Love?" or especially "Reach Out", can take me back. I actually can still get a feeling of a huge loss when I hear those, or other records from those years. I guess I was at a very vulnerable age then and it affected me quite deeply. Nothing ever replaced it.

Like many fans, I bought the Big L record with the final hour highlights. I also bought the 8mm film and separate record with narration by Mark Roman to synchronise with it. I have a Radio London postcard (picture of Galaxy) with about 8 autographs on the reverse. I really do worry about who I am going to leave this sort of memorabilia to.

One of my strongest memories is of coming second in the Silmos Lolly competition. I had never actually heard of Silmos lollies and certainly had never seen them in the shops. They were a kind of wrapped boiled sweet, like Fox's Glacier Fruits.

For the competition, Kenny Everett dropped a number of coins onto a table or tray or something one at a time and, just by listening to the sound of the coins dropping and spinning, we had to guess the total value of the coins. In those days there was a big difference between a half-crown, a sixpence or a penny.

I don't recall what the first prize was. Probably nothing very grand, as although I got the answer right (I think it was 3/6d) I must have been second out of the bag, and my prize was...... 4 bags of Silmos lollies!! How I wish I'd kept the letter that came with them. I didn't know at that stage that Big L wasn't going to be around for ever.

When Big L used to close down at 9pm
The Colgate-Palmolive request hour jingle (Sunday mornings with TW)
Dave Dennis (not one of my favourite DJs) saying "thank you v-e-r-y much indeed squire"
Keith Skues and his "shoes"
That awful Garner Ted Armstrong with "The W-o-r-l-d Tomorrow" (can STILL hear that voice!)
Those early "Sight and Sound" adverts (Dave Dennis' voice again!)
Being excited to see Mike Lennox as a Thal on Dr. Who
Mich, the steward
Big L having a new look from summer 1966 with lots of new jingles ("you get a positive... wheeee... charge out of... etc.")

Am I just one of THOUSANDS that have the Big L film with the synchronised disc or is it something that I should brag about?

Webmasters' Note: It does seem that a fair number of people, realising that Radio London would not be around for much longer, bought, and still have this 1967 package.

3/6d translates to 17.5 pence in today's money.

And the masses of correspondence to the Radio London website indicates, Deryck is far from being the only person who regarded Big L as an important part of his growing-up years.

"Big L was THE station – I bought the record (12/6d) and have still got the tee-shirt"

Mart O'Donnell has been delving in the bottom of his wardrobe.

Brilliant website, brought back happy memories. Big L was THE station – I bought the record (12/6d) and have still got the tee-shirt, (also costing a whole 12/6), but I can't get in it nowadays and it resides at the bottom of my wardrobe! It's the 1967 Kenny Everett design, the one that says 'Radio London' in that wobbly font that was in vogue at the time. I recall it was made in Portugal.

(Chris models that very design, right, while Mary sports the 1965 version)

Going through my collectibles, I also came across my old FRA badge, still in good nick! Upstairs there is correspondence from the Postmaster General who replied on behalf of Downing Street, when Big L asked listeners to write in.

Couldn't believe that there was another listener from Nuneaton who also taped the final hour on a Grundig; my dad's was a TK5. Again, I've still got the tape in the loft somewhere. Enough of this, I need to wash my anorak!!!!

Keep up the good work. Thanks for keeping the faith, Mart O'Donnell

"The North Sea was yellow. I felt violently sick; the chef served pea soup!"

Aldona Satterthwaite writes of her close friendship with engineer Russell Tollerfield.

We had a long history. My then boyfriend Jim, Russ and I, along with a number of others, shared a flat in Ealing on Maddeley Road – the scene of many parties. That was Russ's home when he wasn't on board Radio London. At that point, Jim was producing live radio shows for Curry's, so we often had a jukebox in the flat with all the latest hits.

Later, when that flat broke up, I briefly stayed in Kenny Everett's place in Bayswater before decamping with Jim for Canada in 1967.

Jim and I once came aboard Radio London. The weather was rough and the North Sea was yellow. I've always had good sea legs, yet felt violently sick; the chef served pea soup!

Russ followed us to Canada after Radio London's demise. Once again, Jim and Russ shared a place. Russ moved back to England in 1968 after Jim and I got married. Russ and I were very close – we could almost read each other's minds. He was very smart but a dreamer, and he wasn't tough or particularly practical. He seemed oblivious to the day-to-day domesticity that most of us thrive on.

"What pirate radio did for British pop music cannot be overstated!"

Patrick Betson lives in California, but misses Southend!

Just want to add my praise for a great site! The jingle "Wonderful Radio London" still rings in my head today! What pirate radio did for British pop music cannot be overstated!

Originally from Southend, I used to live 300 yards from the Cricketers Pub. Where all the best names in English Blues used to play on Fridays, i.e. Pete Green and Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, John Mayall, Chicken Shack, and where Gary Booker played as a member of the local band, the Paramounts. I used to see the more commercial groups play the Cliffs Pavillion on Saturday evenings.

I spent a year in South Africa between '74 and '75, so, I was really interested to read about the South African group "The Bats" at the bottom of Christmas '67's Fab Forty. I watched Paul, Eddy, Barry and Peter regularly at the Rotunda in Camps Bay (just outside Cape Town) on Sunday nights. They were a great act, a great mixture of good music and comedy! So, if you say hello to Paul Ditchfield's wife again, please say thanks to the group for those fun memories.

I have lived in California for the past twenty-two years. I miss old Southend, the Kursaal, the Pier, the Galleon, the Top Rank, the Sorrento Coffee Shop. Just like Radio London, sadly they are all gone now.

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