PEOPLE, businesses and community groups in Helensburgh have been urged to start making plans for the centenary of John Logie Baird’s demonstration of the world’s first working television system – even though it’s still five years away.

Helensburgh’s most famous son showed off his best-known invention for the first time at a lab in London on January 26, 1926.

The call to start making plans for the centenary comes from local historian and Helensburgh Heritage Trust member Stewart Noble, who was heavily involved in marking another Helensburgh milestone a few years ago – the 200th anniversary of the first commercial steamboat service in Europe, launched by Henry Bell and his paddle steamer, the Comet, between Glasgow, Greenock and Helensburgh in 1812.

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Mr Noble said: “I was very much involved in the organising of the Comet bicentenary, and tried starting several years before the anniversary itself, but I found it very difficult to get others interested in doing things.

“It taught me that the sooner you get started on something like this, the better.

“I don’t think it should be solely a Helensburgh Heritage Trust initiative – I would hope it could have the backing of other local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Argyll and Bute Council.”

Logie Baird, who was born in the family home, The Lodge, on the corner of West Argyle Street and Suffolk Street, on August 13, 1888, carried out many of his early experiments in television at the property, which was put up for sale last July for offers over £625,000 and is now under new ownership.

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That same month, the Advertiser reported the rediscovery of a promotional VHS tape for a proposed John Logie Baird Centre on the Helensburgh seafront – proposals which foundered after Dumbarton District Council refused planning permission in 1992.

The Royal Mint announced in November that he will also be commemorated on a new 50 pence coin, to be released later this year.

Since that landmark demonstration, for members of the Royal Institution and a reporter from The Times at Baird’s Soho laboratory 95 years ago, debate has raged over whether he can truly be regarded as the “inventor” of television, since his mechanical system bears little resemblance to the electro-magnetic equipment which developed into the technology now used around the world.

But there is no doubt about Baird’s pioneering role in the story of television – or, in Mr Noble’s view, about the need to start planning for a fitting way for Helensburgh to mark the centenary of that first broadcast.

READ MORE: Old VHS tape rekindles dream of 'John Logie Baird centre' in Helensburgh

“I would agree that we should be making more of him,” Mr Noble added, “because there is no doubt at all that he was the first person to transmit proper television pictures – and so to my mind he is the inventor of television.

“He knew the Americans were trying to do what he was doing, and he knew that they had well-equipped labs with workforces into the hundreds, whereas he was a one-man band.

“He very much deserves to be better recognised than he is.”

Anyone who would like to get involved in planning the celebration of the centenary in Helensburgh can contact Mr Noble by calling 01436 675484 or by emailing

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