Our Old Radio


Frank Ferri wrote:

The Wireless

"Popular brands of the old acid battery powered wireless (radio) were Phillips, Baird and Bush  

The accumulator (battery) was made of thick glass, with a wire carrying handle, and itís internal components were much the same as that found in a car battery."

Bangor Road

"When the battery had run out of power, I was sent to carry this heavy acid-filled container, with the wire grip cutting into my fingers and awkwardly holding it away from my body so as not to burn myself with any acid leakage, to the wee cobbler's shop situated in a basement area at the top Bangor Road.

I think his name was Frame. He charged six pence for a half- charge and nine pence for a full charge. On many occasions, when you were listening to your favourite program, the accumulator would frustratingly go dead and always in the middle of your favourite programme."


"Favourite Radio Programmes in the late 40s/early 50s were:

Housewives Choice, 10.00am, broadcast daily.

-  American Services Network (AFN), broadcast from Germany

Family Favourites, on a Sunday

-  Radio Luxemburg .

These were the only sources of listening to the popular music of the time, such as Guy Mitchell, Johnny Ray, Frankie Laine, Joe Stafford, to name just a few, even then as a youngster you had to listen to a load of rubbish (to a teenagers mind) to hear something you liked. There were no 'Top Ten' charts then."


"Drama was provided by:

- 'Dragnet', an American police crime series, featuring Jack Webb, a brilliant thriller

'Dick Barton, Special Agent', with his 2 accomplices, Snowy and Jock

'Into Battle', a series of war stories, or the best of them all:

 - This is Your Story Teller, 'The Man in Black', narrated by Valentine Dyle, the man with the deep frightening voice who told stories of murder and mystery."

At Home

"I remember baby sitting my wee brother whilst my parents went off visiting relatives, banking up the fire with the precious coal, then turning out the lights for dramatic effect so that the shadows of the flickering fire made weird forms and shapes on the walls and ceiling, added to that was the noise of the draft coming from under the door as you  listened to these horror stories accompanied with the atmosphere of self inflicted fear that would make anybodyís flesh crawl let alone that of a child.

My parents would quietly return thinking we would be in bed and frighten us with their sudden entry. Then came a big rollicking for not being in our beds and having too much coal on the fire."

Parental punishment

"My father was a regular church-goer.  He would call me on a Sunday morning to go to 10.00am Mass.

If I failed to get up on time go with him, on his return from church, if I was listening to Family Favourites (the only source of radio popular music) he would switch the radio off in anger as my punishment."

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith:  May 5, 2008


Recollections  -  More Pages