Pop Pirates of the 1960s

Update Monday 2nd March: Unfortunately, due to unforeseen personal circumstances, the speaker is unable to give this talk on Saturday and therefore the society has had to regrettably cancel the talk. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Ticket sales are therefore now closed and a full refund will be given to everyone who had already booked. Emails will be sent to all booked attendees to confirm these arrangements, please check your email SPAM box if you have not heard from the society by 12pm Tuesday 3rd March. Any queries please email

Discover, or perhaps rediscover, the story of the offshore pirate radio stations of the 1960s, including ‘Big L’ and Radio Caroline. Tony Hadland will explain how restrictions on broadcasting light entertainment existed in the UK from the earliest days of public broadcasting and show how, between the two world wars, the first generation of offshore stations were land-based, in Normandy, Luxembourg and elsewhere.

Offshore ship-based broadcasting developed first in Scandinavia in the 1950s, then in Belgium and the Netherlands, before the first British stations went live in the 1960s. The talk is brought to life with numerous audio clips.

This is the last in a series of five talks on the theme of “A Potpourri of History”. The other talks take place on: 9th January, 23rd January, 6th February and 20th February. You may purchase tickets for individual events or for all five talks in the series for the reduced price of four. Most talks are on a Thursday afternoon, this final talk in the series is on a Saturday and starts at the slightly earlier time of 12 noon. 

The ticket price includes tea/coffee and cake after the talk. Advance booking is recommended but you can pay on the door (subject to availability).

Please note that free parking at Davidson House is no longer available for attendees of events at The Centre on Saturdays.

Image – copyright Creative Commons


07 Mar 2020


12:00 - 14:00


The Centre for Heritage & Family History


The Centre for Heritage & Family History
2nd Floor, Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 3BQ


  • Tony Hadland
    Tony Hadland

    Born 1949 in Reading, Tony Hadland is a retired chartered building surveyor, information scientist, operational risk manager and museum administrator, who has also been a freelance broadcaster. Today he is a historian specialising in bicycle history, recusancy and family history. He has been chairman of the Oxfordshire Local History Association and vice-chairman of the Oxfordshire Family History Society and editor of its journal. He is currently working on books for the Veteran-Cycle Club and the Oxfordshire Records Society.

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