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History: Vintage Technology snippets in the South Wales area of the UK 1950 - 1962

Various bits of information about radio, TV, home electrical goods and events and companies in the South Wales area.   If you have any personal memories of these events or establishments - please let me know.

 

Winter Trading Opens new Branch in Cardiff (June 1950)
A branch office was opened by Winter Trading and was under the charge of V. Taylor.  The branch carried a comprehensive stock of radio and electrical merchandise, and a trade counter was established for the use of customers in the S. Wales area.

Winter Trading Co. Ltd.
31 Bridge Street
Cardiff, Glamorgan shire.

Hoover International Sales Conference, Factory Extensions Planned (November 1950)
Managers of Hoover, Ltd., arrived at the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate, on November 1, from all over the United Kingdom and from Eire, France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland for an international sales conference.
Their chairman, Sir Charles Colston, C.B.E., M.C., D.C.M., told them in his review that, although the company had faced increased costs of wages, materials and services, it had succeeded in keeping prices down to almost pre-war level.  In relation to the general price level ruling to-day in Britain, the price of the Hoover electric cleaner is substantially lower than it was in 1939.
Record Sales
In spite of economic difficulties, the total number of cleaners sold last year was more than double that of the company's record pre-war year, while the sale of the washing machine last year exceeded the total retail turnover of the company in the record year before the war.
In the national interest the company had located its washing machine factories in the South Wales development area of Merthyr Tydfil, Cyfarthfa and Aberdare, and that afternoon H.R.H. Princess Margaret had visited the factory at Merthyr Tydfil in the course of her tour of South Wales.
Demand for the Hoover washing machine at home and abroad was now so great that already important extensions were being made to the factory at Merthyr and the company was negotiating with the Board of Trade for the doubling of space there.
Philips Electrical Branch Expansion (November 1950)
Philips Electrical, Ltd., continuing their policy of improving the local service available for dealers throughout the country, announce the following additions and alterations to their provincial branch premises. "... Cardiff branch has moved to bigger and more convenient premises at 11-13 Penarth Road, Cardiff, and a well-fitted showroom will be shortly opened. ..."

Hoover Extend Welsh Factory (March 1951)
By early May the new extension to the Hoover  (Washing Machines), Ltd., factory at Merthyr Tydfil, will be in production and by the end of that month the whole works, including the office block, will be completed.  Employment is expected to increase from 1,200 people to 1,600 people.  Hover have added £200,000 worth of plant and tooling to make the extension of this important Welsh factory possible.
With the approval of the Wales & Monmouth Estates and Board of Trade, Hoover propose to make further extensions which would have the effect of trebling the size of the original factory and increasing the pay-roll from the original 1,200 to 2,300.  Into this extension the company would install £500,000 worth of further plant and tooling.  Government approval for this move is awaited.

People (March 1952)
Guy Brown O.B.E., a director of Scott & Watts, Ltd., radio and electrical dealers of Swansea, has been appointed Sheriff for Breconshire for 1952.
Installing TV sets (July 1952)
Members of the Cardiff Centre of the Radio and Television Retailers' Association discussed at their June meeting the safe installation of Television sets and the "Dangers lurking in the two-pin plug."  The dealer's responsibility for any accident which might occur perturbed the members.
A prolonged and heated discussion followed a suggestion that there should be a standard charge for television aerial installation, now varying widely with different dealers.  The general feeling, however, was against a set charge, and the matter was dropped.
On the suggestion of AH Barry, the secretary, who had previously dealt with Press queries, it was agreed to appoint a Press panel of four - Messrs. Ursell, Gerrish, Barry and A Davies.

Fire in Thorn Factory (February 1953)
Thorn Electrical Industries state that the production of Ferguson radio and television receivers will not be affected by the fire which occurred at the Hirwaun (Glam) factory on January 10.
Output from this factory is largely connected with the production of Atlas fluorescent fittings, and although considerable damage was done to the property and machinery, it is hoped, says the firm, that by transfer of the production of some of the other factories in the Thorn group, very little inconvenience will be caused to customers of Atlas lighting products.
Elcordia Heavy Duty Electrical Lamps and Torches (February 1953)
This advert from the "Electrical and Radio Trading" magazine holds this advert from Elcordia - torch manufacturers that specialised in commercial lamps and torches.

Types:
Commercial - 2 and 3 cell
Mining - 2 and 3 cell
Anti-explosive - 3 cell

Elcordia Ltd., Luma Works, Sanatorium Road, Cardiff.  Telephone 32721, Telegrams Concordia, Cardiff

Caldicot Annual Exhibition ( November 1955)
  Caldicot's third annual radio, television and electrical appliance exhibition was held recently at the Labour Hall, Caldicot, Monthmouthshire.
Features of the three-day exhibition staged by D. A. Grimmer Ltd., were large screen television receivers and a "Television Avenue" comprising a row of 22 receivers.  Hoover demonstrators were on duty daily and a wide range of washing machines and other domestic equipment was exhibited in addition to a comprehensive display of radio and television receivers.

Santon Extension (February 1956)
A 12,000 sq ft extension to their post-war factory at Newport, Mon, has been built by Santon, Ltd., electrical equipment manufacturers.  By using the extra space for storage purposes, Santon will be able to establish a self-contained "works within the works" for the manufacture of electric water heaters for industrial users.
The new Santon factory was constructed after the war in Corporation Road, Newport, to replace an old works.  At that time production methods were replanned and all obsolete equipment was replaced.
Nine New Branches for Curry's This Year (April 1956)
Currys have announced their expansion plans for 1956.  These include the opening of nine new branches at Wimbledon, Dorchester, St. Austell, Fareham, Bletchley, Harrogate, Wishaw, Deal and Ludlow.
During the last twelve months branches have been opened at Liverpool, Penzance, Swansea, Cheltenham, East Grinstead, Preston, Bishop Auckland and Glasgow.  This further expansion will bring the total of Currys' branches to 274.
£20 'Fridges in £150 Pre-Fabs (July 1956)
The views of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government are to be obtained by the Abertillery (Mon) council, as to whether refrigerator replacement units, costing £20 each, should be placed in temporary prefabricated bungalows now valued at only £150 each.  Originally the units had only cost £8 but in the last six months they have risen to £20, including installation, the surveyor told the council's finance committee.
As the council could not dispense with the prefabs at present, from a public health standpoint they either had to provide the refrigerator units or build ventilated pantries in the dwellings, said Councillor S. Harris.
£20,000 Machine (July 1956)
At a cost of £20,000 a new jig-borer has been installed in the tool room of the Hoover (Washing Machines), Ltd., factory at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan.
Newport Showroom has TV Theatre (September 1956)
E. W. Jones (Electrical) Ltd., New Street Wellington, have opened a new double-fronted electrical, radio and TV showroom at 8 St. Mary Street, Newport.  There is an extensive display of electrical appliances and this new showroom gives customers every opportunity to see these appliances demonstrated.  The public can see the full length of this showroom from the street, while at the rear is a TV theatre where 30 or more TV receivers can be demonstrated.
Perforated peg boards are used to display smaller electrical appliances and are coloured primrose and navy blue and illuminated with spot lights.  The TV theatre is in maroon and gold.  This showroom is designed on similar lines to that of the new showroom in Wellington where more than 40 sets can be seen working.
With the opening of these new showrooms E. W. Jones Ltd. organised a window shopping competition and the prizes were presented to the winning competitors by Councillor Mrs. Stephens.  Miss Gwen Berryman (Mrs. Dan Archer of BBC radio fame) judged the entries.  Councillor Mrs. Stephens said the new premises were a fine achievement by the company, who had been established in Newport for over 25 year.
PMG Confirms I.T.A. S. Wales Site: Channel 10 Proposed (November 1956)
The Postmaster-General last week confirmed in a written Parliamentary reply that the St. Hilary site for I.T.A.'s South Wales station, forecast in last week's Trader, has been approved.  Furthermore, the station would probably operate on Channel 10.  This channel had been provisionally allocated but would be subject to final clearance with the Continental administrations concerned.
Pye Transmitters for South Wales ITA (December 1956)
The Independent Television Authority have placed a contract with Pye Ltd. for the transmitter for the south Wales and west of England TV station, which will start operating towards the end of next year.  It will be similar to the one at Lichfield and comprises a 20kW vision transmitter and associated 5kW sound transmitter.  5kW vision and 1¼kW sound transmitters are also being provided as stand-by equipment.
S. Wales E.T.C.T.A. Activities (December 1956)
Two smoking concerts have recently been held by the South Wales branch of the Electrical Trades' Commercial Travellers' Association, both being well supported by members.
The first concert was held at the British Legion Institute, Skewen, Glam, and the other at Llanrumney Hall Hotel, Cardiff.  A collection was made at both these functions, the proceeds being given to charity.  The branch's first annual luncheon was held on December 7.

Hoover Suggestion Scheme Award (December 1958)
Elfyn Thomas Lewis, a floor inspector at the Hoover (Washing Machines) Ltd., factory at Merthyr Tydfil has just won £250 in his company's suggestion scheme for an idea of his leading to the saving of materials in the manufacture of the Hoover washing machine.
J. F. Paull, 81, Retires, But Only From Radio (January 1959)
One of the pioneer retailers in the radio industry, J. F. Paull, retired in December from his radio business, J. F. Paull & Sons Ltd., 43 Caroline Street, Cardiff, which he has handed over to his sons.
But at the age of 81 Mr. Paull still makes a weekly trip to the Bristol firm of canvas goods manufacturers, Yeo Bros. and Paull Ltd., of which he is a director and secretary.  He then goes on to visit Martock, near Yeovil, as director of the family business of hay and straw provision run by his elder (84 year old) brother.
Mr. Paull was in his early forties when he became interested in radio and started his Cardiff business with the Paullette 3 - a set of his own design.  He went in for the home construction market in a big way in the early days and became a friend f John Logie Baird.
His first job was in a builder's office.  Later he had a variety of occupations, spending sometime working in a surgical chemists, then in the Ministry of Food and Transport, where he was an authority on milk and dairy produce.  Another of his careers was as a wholesale fruiterer.
A busy man, Mr. Paull has ideas for occupying his spare time, particularly one for resurrecting a defunct Cardiff Society

Television Service for Wales Discussed (February 1960)
Mr. Henry Brooke, Minister for Welsh Affairs, Mr. J. R. Bevins, Postmaster-General, and Lord Brecon, Minister of State for Welsh Affairs, had a discussion last week with members of the Continuation Committee of the National Conference on Television for Wales which met in Cardiff last autumn.
The committee had sent to the Ministers a detailed memorandum on the practical possibilities of providing a television service, partly in Welsh and partly in English, designed particularly for Wales.  The Ministers assured the committee that they all fully appreciated the desire in Wales for a television service intended primarily for Welsh viewers.
The committee indicated that its aspiration was to see television provided in the Welsh language for Welsh-speaking viewers at peak viewing hours, while ensuring for English-speaking viewers the opportunity to watch English-language programmes with a Welsh outlook.
The various problems entailed in securing this were discussed, and the technical difficulties seen by the Post Office in the plans suggested in the committee's memorandum were explained.
The committee said that they would like to examine these technical arguments further, and the Ministers promised to furnish a technical memorandum.  The Postmaster-General repeated the assurance given last year that he would be glad to arrange a meeting between Welsh scientists and his technical experts.
Finally, the Ministers invited the committee to let them know if they would like a further meeting.
Wales & Mon Radio Social Club (June 1960)
The annual treasure hunt took place on June 16, 1960 when about 120 trade members, their wives and friends, in about 30 cars, followed a mystery route guided only by rhyming clues, through the Vale of Glamorgan to finish at the Duke Hotel, Cowbridge, for a ham and egg supper.  The team prize for the highest marks was taken by a team from Roath Radio & Television Co., of Cardiff and the Members Shield, competed for annually, was won by John Owen (Philips representative) who also received a silver tankard.  This highly successful event was organized by T.M. Black (Bush) and C.J. Howard (Thompson, Diamond & Butcher).

Pam Launch Big ITV Promotion on TWW (July 1960)
(Ninety 15-second Spots in 10 Weeks)
Pam (Radio & Television) Ltd., recently inaugurated a large-scale television advertising campaign in South Wales and the West of England from the TWW studios.
Using 15-second spots, the advertisement will appear 90 times during the next ten weeks.  The advertising is featuring the new super slim TV receivers recently released in the South Wales market.
To launch this campaign, Pam invited dealers in the area to a cocktail party in the TWW studios on July 3rd 1960 and attendance was extremely gratifying, as 103 dealers and their wives attended this function.
The meeting was addressed by N.A. Twemlow, MBE, managing Director of Pam, Stanley Leach, sales controller for TWW and also Leslie Parish, group sales manager for Granada.
During the cocktail party a preview of the 15-second film was shown the dealers on the studio monitors and afterwards dealers were taken round the studios on conducted tours. For many of them the novelty of being in the actual studios was considered the highlight of the party.

J.R. Whatley, advertising manager for Pam and (left) Leslie Parish, group sales manager for Granada, discussing on e of the new super slim TV models on display.
Rediffusion Acquire Mid-Glamorgan Relay Services Ltd (November 1960)
The directors announced that the interests of all their subscribers and staff will best be served by becoming part of the Rediffusion organization.  The companies involved in this transaction with the Rediffusion group, which has now acquired their share capital, are: Mid-Glamorgan Relay Services Ltd., Bridgend Relay Service Ltd., Ogmore & Garw Radio Ltd., The Merlin Radio & Television Relay Service Ltd., and Afan Valley Relay Service Ltd.
These companies operate wired television services, wired sound services, a vision aerial rental business, a record library department and also are agents for various companies including Philips, Ekco, Ferranti and Pye.

Prestcold Move to Swansea (January 1961)
Prestcold announced that as their new £5M refrigerator factory near Swansea is completed, when, it is claimed, it will be one of the largest and most highly mechanized in Europe, the company intends to develop its marketing organization in line with a policy of volume production.
During the next three years Prestcold intend to acquire the businesses of their distributors in England and, in their place, create regional marketing units which will, within limits, be autonomous in their operation.  A number of these businesses had already been purchased and negotiations were being carried out for others.
These marketing units will operate under the control of a regional manager and his staff who will undertake responsibility for the selling of commercial and industrial refrigeration equipment, together with the distribution to the retail trade of domestic refrigerators and other appliances which will be manufactured by Prestcold.  In addition, complete service facilities will be available in each region.

Flying Saucer? Spaceship from Mars? No, the unusual disc-shaped object shown in this picture is neither of these.  It is the ultra-modern showroom at Prestcold's giant new factory at Swansea, South Wales.
Welsh Dealer's Talking Dustbin "Stops 'Em and Actually Sells" (April 1961)
Dealer C.G. Barrett, of Barretts (Wales) Ltd., Penycraig, Rhondda, has though up an unorthodox way of tackling the replacement market.  His recipe for a selling stunt, devised in co-operation with Ferranti, is:-
First acquire a dustbin - preferably one that is clean, wholesome and bright looking.  Place this to one side of the main showroom doorway and twix lid and rim fix a vintage radio - draw one from retirement if necessary - but the speaker should still function, for this must be wired to a tape recorder concealed in the shop. Pre-record and pipe at regular intervals through the battered radio a message using the best male and female voices available.  The message dependant, of course, on one's own special attractions, should run something like this:

Man: Hello.  Hello there.  Yes, it's me talking.  Over here.  I was a teenage radio and feeling my years.  (Effect: heavy interference.) Like that.
Man: Now I've been part exchanged for a brand new Ferranti TV set.  And if you have an old radio at home, you could do the same.
Woman: You'll find Barretts offer most generous terms.  Even 6d in the slot TV.
Man: And Barretts have other things to show.
Man and Woman go on to list some other attractions and round off the commentary -
Man: All on no deposit credit sale terms or easy hire purchase if you wish.  Come into Barretts right away.
Woman: Just a minute.  Is TV reception difficult where you live?  Ask about Barretts piped TV.
Man: Yes, there are so many good things at Barretts.  Come and look around.  We'll be glad to show you.  Step inside now.

It's the unorthodox that sells today - and this dealer / manufacturer tie-up proves that the salesman's brainwave or gimmick can and does succeed where traditional methods would little more than "interest".

The Dustbin Salesman.

The picture shows passers-by intrigued
by a sales commentary relayed through
an old radio...... ostensibly "dumped"
in a dustbin placed in the showroom
doorway at Barretts (Wales) Ltd.,
Penygraig, Rhondda.

By the end of 1961 Barretts had 20
branches and were later in the year using
the same idea with a cardboard cut out
newspaper boy.

 

BBC Welsh TV - Early Development Plans Not Accepted by PMG (September 1961)
Plans by the BBC for the early development of television in Wales have not been accepted by the Postmaster-General, the BBC governors announced on Tuesday of this week.
The scheme required the allocation of a Band III channel for a new transmitter to serve South Wales and another for a new transmitter at Llangollen.
The PO refusal rests on the desire not to prejudice and recommendations the Pilkington Committee might make for and long-term solution for a unified Welsh television service.  Reconsideration is promised when Pilkington reports. 
Truvox Local Exhibitions - at 18 Centres This Autumn (September 1961)
All bona-fide radio and electrical retailers are welcomed to a series of local exhibitions which Truvox Ltd., of Neasden Lane, London, NW10 have organized in order to shoe their new products to the trade.  At these exhibitions new Truvox two- or four- track tape recorders, tape decks and Hi-Fi tape decks with tape pre-amplifiers will be exhibited... In addition, the company's industrial floor-cleaning machines will be displayed.  The time-table and venues of these local shows, which will be open from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm, are as follows;
... Swansea, The Billingsley Room, The Dragon Hotel, September 18-19...
Old Sets as Full HP Deposits - Firm Fined (November 1961)
Following an advertisement in a local paper offering to accept old radio and television sets and other appliances as full hire purchase deposits for 1961 model television sets, Gwyn Davies & Sons (Furnishers) Ltd., of Newport, Mon., were fined a total of £80, for eight summonses, with £31 10s costs, by Newport magistrates court, for offences against credit sale regulations.
It was stated by the prosecution that accepting old appliances without inspecting them as deposits broke the Credit Sale Agreements (Control) Order, 1960, and was bad for other traders who complied with the law.  The firm did not bother to assess the value of goods accepted, it was stated, and some were in bad repair.
A submission by the defence that they had no case to answer was dismissed.  The firm pleaded not guilty.  It was asked that the openness of the firm's actions be taken into account.
Social Events: Hoover Staff Christmas Party (December 1961)
Part of Hoover Ltd.'s employee relations policy is to entertain their 15,500 UK employees and their wives and children at Christmas and New Year time, and these parties are being held this year as usual.  There will be socials for the employees at the various factories and Hoover establishments.  Parties for the children of employees were held December 9 and 16 at the Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, factory and a visit to the Circus was planned also for the older children.
Similar parties were held on the same dates at the Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, factory group and here the older children were taken to see Red Riding Hood.  Nearly 1,500 children of employees at the Perivale, Middlesex, factory will be taken to see the Wizard of Oz at the Empire Pool, Wembley, on February 3.  The High Wycombe factory held their children's party on December 2.
Traditional Christmas dinners will be served to employees at the factory groups in England, Scotland and Wales.  One of these will be in the middle of the night when between 2 and 2.30am on December 19 at Perivale, Middlesex, some 350 night shift workers will sit down to their Christmas dinner.

Everybody Out (13 January 1962)
When Miriam Karlin, star of the BBC's "Rag Trade" show, opened the latest branch of Barretts at 9 Market Street, Pontypridd, one thousand shop stewards' whistles each engraved with Miss Karlin's name were presented to members of the public visiting the shop.
Barretts featured the opening arrangements in a half-page advertisement in the South Wales Echo.
Pilkington Report from the Committee on Broadcasting (27 June 1962)
It is recommended that a local sound broadcasting service should be introduced by the B.B.C. and that the licence fee should be increased to cover the increased cost of the B.B.C.  services, the cost suggested being £6, which might be exclusive of the tax (at present £1).  Relay services should be obliged to relay all national sound radio services, including the Third Programme, before they could relay a foreign one, such as Radio Luxembourg.
Something should be done, it is suggested, to provide a separate Welsh TV programme, and the proposal is made that the uncommitted channels on Band III would enable this to be done almost at once.  Otherwise it would have to wait some years until a 625-line service on U.H.F. was available.  It was easier technically to provide specifically Scottish programmes within the limits of a single programme than it is to provide specifically Welsh programmes.
Murphy Factory to Close in South Wales (July 1962)
At the end of this year Murphy Radio Ltd. are closing their factory at Hirwaun, the industrial estate at Aberdare, Glamorgan, where 600 people are employed.  A statement from the company said "There are now more production facilities than can be used at the present time and it is essential to achieve economies."  The factory, which once employed 1,000, was set up 15 years ago when new industrial firms were being introduced into South Wales.
Commons Questions (July 1962)
Mr. Ness Edwards asked the Postmaster General if he will estimate the cost of adapting television receivers now geared to Band I transmission to reception of Band III transmissions including the cost of new aerials.
Mr. Bevins:  Most viewers have sets and aerials able to receive programmes on Band I and Band III.  This is especially so in areas such as South Wales and West of England which have had B.B.C and I.T.A television for a number of years.  When the new Welsh service begins, many people will need a new coil unit which, with the cost of installation, could perhaps cost up to £2.  Many people may also need a new Band III aerial: this might cost about £7.
Mr. Ness Edwards asked the Postmaster General which television channel is to be made available in Band III for the separation of the West of England from Wales and if he has considered the relative advantage of keeping Wales on the present Band I channel, and using the Band III channel for the West of England.
Mr. Bevins:  The Band III channel to be used is at present under consideration.  To use a Band III channel for the West of England instead of for Wales would mean that many people in the West of England would need new aerials, while some would lose service altogether.  I think the balance of advantage lies in using a Band III channel for Wales.
Hoover's five millionth Washing Machine (August 1962)
The 5,000,000th Hoover washing machine is shown coming off the line at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, and being appropriately marked by S. Williams. a superintendent inspector.  Behind him are seen standing from left to right:- Councillor Mrs Gwyneth Williams, Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil, Lord Brecon, Minister of State for Welsh Affairs and Arthur F. Earle, deputy chairman, Hoover Ltd.

Commons Questions (August 1962)
Mr. Ness Edwards asked the Postmaster General, in view of his decision to use Band III for the All-Wales television service, if he will require the B.B.C. to retain the technical form of the present Wenvoe Band I transmission so that the non-Welsh-speaking population of South Wales will continue to receive the United Kingdom network without alteration to the receiving sets.
Mr. Bevins: No change will be made to the technical form of the B.B.C.'s Band I transmissions from Wenvoe.