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Mystery cable on outside of house - can anyone identify?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Namtip, 1 Sep 2021.

  1. Namtip

    Namtip

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    Hi all, I'm looking to do something about an ugly black cable on the rear of my ~1958 semi-detached house.

    It starts from a black disc-shaped box on the corner of my neighbour's house, runs along under the eaves all the way to the corner of my house where it drops down a foot or so, begins to run horizontally again, but has been cut after a few inches. Best to explain with a diagram:

    [​IMG]

    The cable has been clipped to the wall using thin galvanised metal clips nailed into a row of mortar using what look like nails with washers on. The nails are rusty, and the galvanised clips are weathered - but all still completely solid.

    Looking around the cut end, I couldn't see any onward clips or old holes anywhere. The cable just seems to end...

    The round box is black, 6 to 9 inches in diameter at a guess, sticks out 3 or 4 inches, and looks like its made of cast metal (but could be a thick plastic). It looks hardy.

    I tested the cut end for any voltages, and satisfied it was dead I cut a section off (with insulated snips just in case!). The cable is ~12mm diameter, black, with a copper-tape inner sheath (i.e. not braided), then a yellowy-clear inner sheath, then 4 pairs of solid conductor; blue, yellow, grey, green. They don't seem to be twisted:

    Here is a photo of a section:

    [​IMG]

    On the outer sheath I can make out the following writing:

    "British Insulated Callender's Cables Ltd-------Helsby-------England-----TRH-029-----1963"

    My neighbours don't know what it is, and aren't inclined to investigate. Ultimately I would like to cut and remove the cable up to the dividing line.

    So, any ideas anyone?

    I might add it was council-owned between being built in 1958 up until the 70s (or so we think) when it was bought by the previous owners to us (we moved in last year or so).
     
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  3. AdrianUK

    AdrianUK

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    That looks to me like a Rediffusion Cable TV distribution cable.

    Rediffusion was a cable TV distribution system that existed long before the likes of VirginMedia. It started as a cable radio service in the 1920s and then TV in the 30s.

    I think the system ceased operation in the 1980s

    The cable you have would have distributed 4 channels of TV, with the cable being strung from house to house. Inside each house was a switch which allowed you to select which channel you wanted to watch. This was then connected to your (rented) TV (which couldn't be used with an aerial)
     
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  4. Namtip

    Namtip

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    Thanks AdrianUK - I'd never heard of this and have been reading up on it. Presumably the cable continued and was strung over to my other neighbour.

    I'll keep an eye out for some old Rediffusion street furniture...
     
  5. mattylad

    mattylad

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    I had that on my house when I was in Burnley.
    If it's a cut end then you can cut it all away if you want.

    Although it was taken over by NTL I think.
     
  6. Namtip

    Namtip

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  7. AdrianUK

    AdrianUK

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    Yes. In some Nottinghamshire Estates it was strung between the chimney stacks of the semi's. zig-zagging its way down the street.

    I think the majority of the street furniture is long gone & those sections of cable that remain are falling into disrepair - just like the section on your house.
     
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  8. Tricky-Dicky

    Tricky-Dicky

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    Hi, I worked at one time in a Nottingham School (I'm not a teacher) and one day a 'gent' came to remove the old Rediffusion cables, only problem he didn't work for Rediffusion or the local authority .......
     
  9. mattylad

    mattylad

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    I once had them walk on my roof and cut the cables.

    Although I did not have an account with them at the time.
     
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  11. crystal ball

    crystal ball

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    My parents ran a pub in the 60s we had Rediffusion TV & radio, could never get R1 though much to my dismay
     
  12. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    Not necessarily. I recall that one of my grandmothers moved into a flat maaaany years ago (I'm guessing, in the 70s) that only had the Redifusion system - they modified her existing TV to work on it.
     
  13. john4703

    john4703

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    My parents did not have a Redifusion TV but they did have a Redifusion cable across the back of their house. They got paid to allow it, I think it was 2/6 per year (twelve and a half pence in today's money)
     
  14. winston1

    winston1

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    Doubt it. They most probably supplied a set top box.
     
  15. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    No, they MODIFIED her telly. This was decades before STBs, and before tellies had anything but an aerial connection on the back.
    I assume they disconnected the tuner and IF stage, and added a new IF card to receive the cable signal. Since back then there were few TV chassis designs, no fancy electronics, and plenty of space - it would have been easy to do.
     
  16. sparkymarka

    sparkymarka

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    I believe that as I’ve seen some of the modified TVs they had a large multi pin connector ….a bit like a square scart connector bolted to the TV back plate
     
  17. winston1

    winston1

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    OK but set top boxes did exist. I scrapped a couple a few years ago. Cable input from the wall switch was via an octal round free socket. Output was BNC and phono. Perhaps later than your experience as a TV with AV inputs would be required.
     
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