West Dulwich, London
| The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum is an unrivalled collection of early radios, televisions, loudspeakers and radiograms that grew from one manís personal interest to become a source of information and delight for enthusiasts and experts from around the world.
Its home in south London, just up the road from the Crystal Palace transmitter, is appropriate given the UKís rich wireless heritage. Pioneers included Faraday, who first suggested that electrical vibrations could move through the air; James Clerk Maxwell, who formulated the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation; Guglielmo Marconi, who moved to the UK to develop his radio telegraph system; and, Sir John Ambrose Fleming who developed the Fleming diode for detecting wireless signals.
This field of science changed the world for ever, resulting in todayís global communications network, which is beyond anything that could have been imagined at the start of the 20th century. In the latter part of the 20th century, one manís obsession with this subject led to the formation of what has become a world-renowned museum of wireless and television - The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum. Gerald Wells (always known as Gerry) was born in the property in Rosendale Road, West Dulwich that originally housed the major part of the museum. From the age of four he was fascinated by anything electrical. This led to a passion for wireless and a sense of miracle and wonder that stayed with him all his life.
At the beginning of the 1970s Gerry saw many wireless and television sets being discarded Ė simply dumped in skips and sent to landfill. Starting with wireless, he began to collect as many sets as he could and created a private museum at his house in 1974. There is a wide range of radios, televisions, speakers and radiograms exhibited, from the dawn of wireless up to the last valve models ever made and early transistor models. These are of interest to academics, historians, manufacturers and collectors around the world. and the museum is consulted on all aspects of wireless and television, providing advice and guidance to all.
The BVWTM has inspired the formation of many wireless museums. It is, however, now the only viable and working wireless museum in the UK open to the public. Many radio and television programmes have been produced in and about the museum which have encouraged the preservation and understanding of this national heritage and gained worldwide recognition.
Following the death of Gerry in 2014, it was unclear if the museum could survive but efforts by a dedicated group of volunteers found a way to ensure the long-term survival of the major part of the collection. Originally contained in the lower part of the house plus some buildings at the rear, the museum has now moved out completely from the main property. Building work has expanded the museum buildings at the rear to a high standard and added toilet facilities and other amenities.
Chairman: Richard Stow
General Manager: Eileen Laffey (Trustee)
Treasurer: Mike Barker (Trustee)
Secretary: John Sully
Chairman Emeritus: John Thompson
Friends Group Secretary: Richard Stow
Buildings and maintenance: Kevin Lott (Trustee)
Curators of Television: Peter Sanders & John Wakely
Curators of Radio: Philip Moss & Derek Burgess
Dave Church (Trustee)