The property housing the museum has had a rich heritage of radio and electricity. Alfred Rickard-Taylor (an early wireless enthusiast) lived here from 1908 to 1914. In 1914 Mr. Frank Wells (Gerald's father) purchased the property.
Gerald was born here in 1929 and from the age of four expressed an interest and fascination for anything electrical. This led to a passion for wireless and this became his ultimate obsession. The sense of miracle and wonder has stayed with Gerald.
At the end of the Sixties drastic and dramatic changes occurred in his life. He was not able to continue the life of an electrical contractor. However, he could see wireless and television sets being discarded and felt there was a need for a "Vintage Wireless Museum".
This Country was a major contributor for wireless development; even Marconi came to the UK to further his ambition for communication without wires. There was a need to preserve early wireless sets and their history.
The Museum for vintage wireless has been in existence since 1974 and now includes televisions.
The "British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum" has inspired the start of many wireless museums. It is, however, now the only viable and working wireless museum in the UK. Many radio and television programmes have been produced about the Museum which have encouraged the history being preserved for the nation whilst gaining worldwide recognition.
The Museum has an ever-expanding range of radios, televisions, speakers and radiograms from the dawn of radio up to the last valve model ever made. Items of interest to academics, historians, manufacturers and collectors are on exhibition. The Museum consists of two buildings making thirteen rooms with 1300 wireless receivers on show, along with many display cabinets of components and wireless associated artefacts, also a period shop. There is a valve laboratory enabling the manufacture of early Triode valves (the three electrode valve) plus workshops to demonstrate the manufacture of chassis, cabinets and associated parts for wireless construction.
Several examples of BBC equipment are on display and in numerous cases are working, for example the 625 to 405 line standards converter. High-definition television started on the 405 line standard in 1936. The 405 line television service was phased out by 1985.
Those with memories of the black and white era are still able to see these fine sets on 405 line working.
The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum is now a trust
and a registered charity (number 1111516).
In 2013 we were delighted when David Dimbleby accepted our
invitation to become our Patron. More on this here.
The museum is not open to the general public, but guided tours are available by appointment. Admission is free but donations are greatly welcomed.
David Dimbleby (Patron)
Mr John Thompson (Chairman)
Mr John Sully (Secretary)
Mr Fred Watts (Treasurer & Trustee)
Mr Geoff Patrick
Mr Richard Stow (Membership Secretary)
Mr Mike Barker (Trustee)
Mrs Eileen Laffey (Trustee)
Mr Kevin Lott (Trustee)