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John Charles Walsham Reith


(1st Baron Reith of Stonehaven)

1889 - 1971

Engineer and Broadcasting Pioneer. Reith was born in Stonehaven, and educated at the Glasgow Academy and Gresham's School (Norfolk, England). He became an engineer, before being appointed the first general manager of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1922. He rose to become the BBC Director-General in 1927, and continued in this post until 1938. Reith built the BBC into the world-respected institution it remains today. He went on to serve as the Member of Parliament for Southampton, elected in 1940, and Minister of Works (1940-42).

In 1948 the BBC inaugurated the Reith Lectures to honour his contribution to public service broadcasting and invited speakers have included Bertrand Russell (1948), Robert Oppenheimer (1953), Sir Edward Appleton (1956), Lord McCluskey (1986) and HRH Prince of Wales (2000).


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