I wasn’t at work today, so around lunchtime I visited The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum in West Dulwich. If you love life before i-Pods and 90″ flat screen TV’s, this one’s for you, a trip back in time for all wireless radio and TV fans.
The museum is a collection put together over many years by Gerry Wells an excellent radio and TV service engineer (now retired) who also designed and manufactured his own amplifiers (WADAR – Wells Amplifier Development and Rentals), PA systems and TV’s. Gerry, who’s a very handy chap (he made all the outbuildings himself as well as being an expert with a soldering iron) was one of the UK’s best in restoring and developing radio and television sets and PA’s I was told by my guide, and I didn’t doubt him one bit what with all the functioning old kit all around us!
Secretly I was dying to ask my guide jokingly, “Was banging tellys hard on the top, the best way to fix them when they played up in days of old?” as that’s what my old man used to do in the 1970’s! Above: A well posh all-in-on music centre from the 60’s; a telly, radio and even a turntable hidden away on the right hand side. All you need is a teasmade in the back for the ultimate 1960’s home entertainment station!
(Above) The brilliantly named Ever Ready Saucepan Special which was designed for shortwave listening in Africa, with insect proof outer casing and painted in the non-superstitious colour of Blue (or so the myth goes on the internet.)
One thing I learnt today, was in the era of horn record players (which had no volume control) one way to turn down the volume was “to put a sock in it” hence the well-known phrase. I found this out while in the front room hearing a classical piece at a ear splitting volume on a lovely old gramophone player with a massive horn (an EMG I think). Loud wasn’t the word and that was with no amplifier!
The museum is well worth a gander if you’re that way inclined. A fiver donation is the norm which goes towards running costs as everything is done on a voluntary basis. To arrange a visit please ring 020 8670 3667.
A great film about Gerry Well’s life called “Valveman” is available on preview here. P