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Setting up home in late 1930s
England: the radio/wireless

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1938 receipt showing cost of a radio and its installation, thumbnail

Receipt for radio.

Click for a larger, legible version.

In November 1938 my parents decided that they wanted a radio, then known by everyone as a 'wireless'. The bill, dated November 15th 1938, was dated four months after they moved in and as it includes installing an aerial, I can only conclude that my parents were without a radio for these four months. Portable radios were years into the future. Incidentally the receipt called the radio a 'receiver'.

My parents went to a local Edgware supplier who charged them £9.10.0 for the radio itself, 7/6 for the work of installing it and aerial, and 5/- for the various bits and pieces.

Like most pre-war radios, this was a good quality piece of furniture in a large polished wood case and although we only ever used the two channels of the home service and the light programme, its dial showed that it was capable of receiving from much further afield. It was of course based on valves which frequently blew, so perhaps it is not surprising that it cost more then in the 1930s than a cheap radio today.

The receipt is in the old £-s-d currency. There are conversions to today's currency on the internet, but money has devalued so much that only the pounds are really significant today. The number of shillings indicate the fraction of a pound, where there were 20 shillings to a pound.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

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