Sunday, January 22, 2012

Crystal Radio Sets and Radio Luxembourg

Entrance to the Radio Luxembourg studios
Back in the mid 50's, long before I was at the city of Coventry school - maybe I was 5 or 6, my father made me a Crystal radio set. I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg on it. A favourite memory later on in 1965 was going with my family on holiday on the continent. We passed through and camped in Luxembourg and at night, in a huge continental tent, listened Radio Luxembourg not far from the Grand Duchy - I was 14 at the time - but earlier in the 1950's Michael Billing's and the Original M28 tell us -

Michael Billings who was at the school at that time recently sent me a message -
I think it is such a shame that more of the lads from my time at school are not sending anything to the blog. They would have other stories that we have not mentioned. How about when we used to listen to Radio Luxembourg on our crystal sets."

Today the Original M28 (House Number) commented (as if in response to Michael)

" Any visitor to the school must have looked in amazement at the array of different items sitting on the ridge tiles of the dormitories.

Many of the lucky lads had crystal sets, which were a lifeline in keeping in touch with what was going on in the outside world. For these to work you only needed two connections, an ariel and an earth (no batteries). The earth was no problem inasmuch as you ran a wire from the crystal set to the water pipes that ran along the length of the dormatory, having firstly scraped off some paint so as to get a good connection, the more tricky bit was to firstly find a long piece of wire and then find something heavy to which you attach the ariel wire then lob it up and over the roof and pull it carefully to the top so as to get a good reception. This is where for us as school lads it was the norm to see all strange items running along the top of the roof, old shoes, bits of wood, pipe or what have you - suppose to the uninitiated it seemed a strange sight but for us lads it was a necessity.

My Dad (long gone) made me a transistor set - this differed from a crystal set in that it was more powerful and needed batteries to operate - it was an awsome piece of kit and I remember the Thomas Bros, Ivan (waffle) and (forgotten his brothers name) together with Michael Edwicker stripping the set to pieces as soon as my Dad had returned to Cov to see what components where inside -

After lights out those of us who had crystal / transistor sets where able to put our earphone on and listen for a while to the light programme or the home service and on a good reception night could pick up Radio Luxembourg. I remember listening in to Friday Night is Music Night - what a load of cr*p that was, but it was an escape from the norm.

Recall one night must have fallen asleep with my earphones on and when Tanky Thorne came round to check we were ok, he took my headphones off my head (unbeknown to me) and in the morning at inspection he confiscated the transistor set and headphones for the rest of the term

Sadly I heard that Michael Edwicker who was affectionately known as Mist (as he liked to wear his glasses in the showers and they misted up) died in a house fire some time ago. I heard on the grapevine that he was well into music and sound and that he once did some sound control for Status Quo (Video above) and that due to the volumn of music involved his hearing had suffered."
Signed: The Original M28

1 comment:

  1. The reference to ex City of Coventry School pupil Michael Edwicker to which the above story relates can be found here