A MOBILE television unit – a miniature version of ordinary Outside Broadcast units, and the first of its kind to be used in a university or college in the UK – came into being at Glasgow University in February 1966.

The £16,000 service began with broadcasts at a teaching hospital in the city. Medical teaching was viewed as providing some of its most extensive applications.

Other uses, it was reported, would include overflow lectures and pre-recorded experiments and demonstrations.

“It will”, noted the Glasgow Herald, “also enable travel to points far-flung from Gilmorehill to record teaching material otherwise unavailable – or permit lecturing on location – and, in general, make possible what is known as a ‘drive-in studio’.”

The mobile unit, compactly contained in a two-coned mini-bus, has four cameras, one of them built into a caption scanner (for the reproduction of maps and diagrams).

Its purchase, from the Marconi Company, was the second stage of the university’s three-stage plan to create its own television station.

The final stage was expected that autumn, with the opening of a fully-equipped permanent studio with cable distribution around the campus.

Also envisaged was a link-up with Glasgow Educational Television Service and, through this, with Jordanhill College of Education.

The service’s director, Roderick MacLean, said the uses would include the televising of consultations in psychiatric medicine.

“In time”, he added, “it could do away with the crowd of students round the hospital table.

Another advantage of the unit would be the “breaking down of artificial barriers between laboratory work and lecture work”, with experiments being relayed into the lecture room.

Read more: Herald Diary