Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Draycott Street

Shortly after I was born my parents moved into a flat at Draycott Street on Halliwell Rd. I have a lot of vivid memories of this house. I remember the old record player in the corner with the green velvet around the record deck and the needles that had to be put into the arm head. We listened to my dads 78's.

In the other corner was our first television set, black and white! I loved to watch Popeye, Sparky the Battery Boy and Four Feather Falls. My bedroom had a fireplace and my Dad had a workshop in a small room upstairs, with a 'Wolf' drill that made a lot of noise and scared me. There was a shop joined on to the building and an old lady lived upstairs in the flats. Across the road was another shop that sold fishing stuff, I went there to buy some little fishing nets to play games like fishing in the mop bucket!

My Dad had a motorbike and sidecar, he would spend a lot of time in the yard tinkering with the motorbike, I remember riding in it with my Mum. When I was old enough, I went to Nursery school up the road at Wolfeden Street, on a Friday my Dad would buy me a Matchbox car from the shop on Halliwell Rd. Also just round the corner was my Aunt Gladys who lived on Halliwell Road. When I took this photo I felt strange because although everything has changed now, I can still see the old slate walls around the house and the motorbike. Happy memories!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bullough's TV Shops

Bullough's Radio and Television had their Head Office and service department on Manchester Rd in Bolton. When I was at college some of my friends were apprentices there. At the back was a 'dump' where they would throw away panels from old televisions and radios. It was a goldmine for components when I wanted to build something when I was about 13. I remember once carrying a huge bag of old panels and bits from there into town then crossing the Johnson St footbridge over the railway station. I got stopped by two 'big lads' who promptly beat me up for no reason at all, probably because I was helpless with my big bag of bits. I still carried them home on the bus even though I was bleeding after my encounter.

Later in the 70's Bullough's changed it's name to Rumbelows and then later still was taken over by Focus Ltd. Now all these television companies have gone. Only Curry's remain...
The Bullough's Head Office building still remains, but for other purposes!

Back in the 60's Bullough's was one of the major television rental stores in Bolton. The store was on Knowsley Street and it also had a great record shop inside the store where you could listen to music in one of the small sound booths. I used to like going there when I was young, even though I didn't have enough money to buy a single record which cost 7/6p at the time. If you were really lucky, the girl behind the counter would play a record for you, even if you were only 11 years old. (as long as the boss wasn't around) The record shop was featured in the film 'The Family Way' Hayley Mills as Jenny, worked in the shop and some scenes show the inside of shop as well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Harlow Electronics

My first company car in 1975

In 1975 I was 21 and had just finished my apprenticeship in electronics, I decided to move on from my job at Telefusion. I got a job at a small company in Bolton called Harlow Electronics. The name 'Harlow' was derived from the companies original directors - Ken Harris and Kevin Ludlow. They had two shops, one on Halliwell Road in Bolton and the other on Market Street in Farnworth. Both shops sold and rented televisions, mainly Thorn televisions (Ferguson, HMV) Ken Harris later became service rep for Thorn based at Chetham Hill in Manchester. I met him a few times when I worked at Telefusion.

On the roof is a home made mag mount 1/4 wave for 144Mhz inside the car was my Pye Cambridge transceiver.

The job came with a company car, which was a green Ford Escort. At first I had a second hand car, but later was given a new one. It was great having my own car, I had only passed my driving test a few months before. The workshop was at the Farnworth shop. Most of the time I worked on field service repairing televisions in the home and also delivering and setting up new colour televisions.
I remember that my service manager was called Kevin, Aziz was the other engineer and the driver was (I think) called Dave.
I worked there for a year. At first I really enjoyed being out on the road in my car, but later I found it quite hard working with a small company. Prospects looked gloomy and didn't want to stay. In the end I returned to Telefusion and later TAM Techserve where I got a company car again. I guess I felt claustrophobic working at Harlow, not for me.

Some years after I left, Harlow set up as an electronics company in an old mill on Chorley Old Road. They did close circuit television systems. After a few years the company seemed to disappear in the turmoil of the electronics industry in the 80s and 90's.

Granny's Garden

When I was born my grandmother (who I called 'Mam') lived in this house. For a time I lived there in Aldersyde Street during my first months before moving to a flat in Draycott Street. I loved coming to this house when I was a bit older. I used to spend weekends her when I was little and remember watching television on Saturday nights. When I was 8 years old I caught two buses and went to my Mam's house one Sunday afternoon on my own without my Mum and Dad knowing. I can remember the shock on my Mam's face when she realised that I had come alone!

When I was 11 I wanted to go to Hayward School because it was so close to my Mam's house and I could go there before and after school. When I passed my 11+ tests I was able to go to Hayward Bilateral and got my dream to go this house every day and even dinner times for a cup of tea and a cake.
At the side of the house was a coal shed and a cupboard, in the cupboard there was a pile of car bits that my Dad put there. Later my Uncle Bill lived there and started to make a drive for his car, but never completed it. You can see the gap in the privet fence.
Just up the street was a radio amateur at number 19, his callsign was G3ITK and his name was Percy, he had a brilliant long wire antenna which stretched across to a house at the back.

This photo taken about 1968 with my Mam and Dad (Grandmother and Grandfather) along with my brother. The poles at the sides of the door have gone now, but I enjoyed climbing up them.

I have a lot of good memories of this house!

Friday, October 04, 2013

My shack in 1983

I found this old photo tonight of my shack around 1983. A lot of constructed equipment here...
My VHF / UHF Receiver  and 144Mhz transverter (which I still use) and my first SWR bridge. Above on the shelf is a nearly completed Z-Match (still use it) 432Mhz varacter tripler and power meter. On the right was my digital frequency counter which worked up to 450Mhz, my first digital project! It came second in a construction competition.

I borrowed it to someone and I can't remember who??? If you still have it will you let me have it back please!

My Yaesu FT101E of course and rotator controller. On the top shelf is a 12 volt power supply which I got cheap and added a meter. I later built a front panel and made into a variable power supply which still works well today.

The amazing thing is that I still use some of this equipment 30 years on!