BFI Archive: Radio Servicing

A film on the BFI Achieve website offers a fascinating glimpse back to a time when radios and other electrical items were repaired, rather than just replaced

Filmed around the time of World War Two, when radios were extremely important both for obtaining information and for keeping up morale. Customers in Leeds bring in their heavy valve radios for repair, one in a pram, while the two children of the owner wreak havoc in the workshop.

This film is part of a collection of mainly family films. All that is known of the filmmaker is that his surname was Clarke, and that he had one son, Peter, born in the 1930s, and another, Michael Andrew, born in 1943. The Fred Reynolds electrical shop at 253 Dewsbury Road, looks now to be a Polish grocers, while 81 Lady Pit Lane is possibly now a small park area. The date for the film is unknown, although the notice that can be seen re. U boats and waste paper suggest that it was either wartime or soon after. All British radio manufacturers switched to wartime production in 1939, such as radar, although some basic models were still being produced, only without long wave so we couldn’t be influenced by German propaganda!

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