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Old 31st Jan 2021, 6:54 am   #1
Viewmaster
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Default Lisle St

This street of fond wireless memories is mentioned from time to time on this forum.
Here is a write up on it including how it all began.

It is part of my website. (says he modestly )

http://www.retinascope.co.uk/lislestreet.html
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Old 31st Jan 2021, 8:34 am   #2
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Default Re: LIsle St

Brings back memories of those days, I seem to remember that during the outings we (I went with a friend) used to get a cup of tea and a roll in the Metropolitan Café, Edgeware Road, which was named after the Music Hall that stood nearby.

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Old 31st Jan 2021, 8:06 pm   #3
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Default Re: Lisle St

I bought my first oscilloscope in Lisle Street, a Cossor 339. All these years later I can still remember lugging the beast back to my AC Petite three wheeler which I had parked about a mile away. I had to keep stopping and taking a rest sitting on the 339, the distance between stops got shorter and shorter until I eventually reached the Petite and drove home.
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Old 31st Jan 2021, 8:22 pm   #4
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Default Re: Lisle St

My Father took me Lisle Street to buy a no.19 set for my birthday. Just in case, he removed the RF output valve when we got it going! This would have been the mid 60's and the shops were still full of war surplus with B40's stacked high.
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Old 1st Feb 2021, 1:44 am   #5
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Default Re: Lisle St

Another blast from the past! I remember my father buying me my modified Pye PCR 2 (internal power supply and speaker?) from G W Smiths in Lisle Street, in about 1960.
During the early 1960's I regularly frequented Proops in Tottenham Court Road (near to Goodge St underground station I seem to remember), down the few steps into the back of the shop where all the 'interesting' bits of surplus were stacked up from floor to ceiling! I remember buying a No 18 backpack set there.
There used to be a non electronics surplus store, on a corner on the right a hundred yards or so the other side of the Euston Road, called 'Laurence Corner', that furnished such things as military surplus clothing, gas mask holders and fearsome looking machetes!
As a teenager, building transistor radios etc, I visited Henrys Radio, in Edgware Road regularly, and by the time I was 20 I was buying Hi Fi components at Laskys, just down the road (I still have the Leak Delta 70 amp, the Goldring Lenco deck and the Wharfedale Denton speakers on wall brackets in my lounge). Memories, memories
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Old 1st Feb 2021, 6:16 am   #6
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Default Re: Lisle St

I remember visiting Tottenham Court Road a couple of times, late sixties, early seventies. There was a magic about it, probably derived from all the adverts in PW, but I grew up in Sheffield, with Bardwells on my way home from school and they provided most of the parts I needed....
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Old 1st Feb 2021, 1:09 pm   #7
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Default Re: Lisle St

By 1980 I think there was only one surplus shop left in Lisle Street. I was working in Holborn at the time and sometimes walked there in my lunch hour as an alternative to visiting Proops. By that date I don't recall Proops having any radio equipment, although it did carry a useful range of things like audio connectors, switches, wire and indicators, but they always seemed to be acquiring all sorts of other stuff of interest to the home experimenter. They were still going as a mail order and model engineering etc. exhibition stall concern a few years ago.

In the 1970's there was a shop near Edgware Road tube station that sold nothing but transformers: I once bought one there with a 2kV secondary for a long-abandoned project. It must still be kicking around in the loft somewhere.

Last edited by emeritus; 1st Feb 2021 at 1:15 pm. Reason: Typos
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Old 1st Feb 2021, 1:28 pm   #8
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Default Re: Lisle St

The shop in Edgware Rd was Samsons.In the mid-80's I walked past at the time of Samsons closing down and there was a large skip outside stacked to the brim with all manner of transformers,many in original boxes.I was on my way to a job at the time and laden with a heavy toolbag otherwise I might have tried to acquire something of use.I guess I would have been spoilt for choice.Les.
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Old 1st Feb 2021, 3:52 pm   #9
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Quote:
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The shop in Edgware Rd was Samsons.In the mid-80's I walked past at the time of Samsons closing down and there was a large skip outside stacked to the brim with all manner of transformers,many in original boxes.
When Samsons closed down in the Edgware Rd they moved to a smaller shop in a small street next to the Underground Edgware Rd. Station.
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Old 1st Feb 2021, 4:31 pm   #10
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Default Re: Lisle St

By the time I was really into electronics the early-1970s - Lisle Street had largely gone; Tottenham Court Road - home of Henry's Radio and H.L.Smith [from whom I ordered quite a bit of chassiswork for amplifiers] was still going though.

Last time I went down TCR - something like 2 decades ago - it was largely shops selling 'off-brand' laptops computers and monitors.
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Old 1st Feb 2021, 8:47 pm   #11
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Default Re: Lisle St

I visited Lisle St with a friend in about 1975 or 1976. I only remember one surplus store on the south side of the street. One or two of the other places on the other side of the street were of even more interest to teenage boys but we had no chance of getting in.

Tottenham Court Road was full of hi-fi shops, including a large Lasky's. IIRC there was a surplus store up near Goodge St. underground station. Henry's Radio was at 404 Edgeware Road. They still exist as a disco and P.A. shop. H.L. Smith was at 287 Edgeware Road.
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Old 2nd Feb 2021, 11:48 am   #12
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Default Re: Lisle St

I was in London in the 70s but don't remember Lisle Street. Probably got distracted by the other attractions in the area. I was near Tottenham Court Road but even there there wasn't much of any use.

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IIRC there was a surplus store up near Goodge St. underground station.
I vaguely remember something which claimed to be army surplus. Otherwise there was Z&I Aero Services who had a load of Russian valves.

Edgeware road had a few more useful shops but serious stuff meant a trip either to Manor Supplies or Cricklewood Broadway.
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Old 2nd Feb 2021, 11:56 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepilot View Post
I was in London in the 70s but don't remember Lisle Street. Probably got distracted by the other attractions in the area. I was near Tottenham Court Road but even there there wasn't much of any use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John KC0G View Post
IIRC there was a surplus store up near Goodge St. underground station.
I vaguely remember something which claimed to be army surplus. Otherwise there was Z&I Aero Services who had a load of Russian valves.

Edgeware road had a few more useful shops but serious stuff meant a trip either to Manor Supplies or Cricklewood Broadway.
Z&I Aero Services also had a shop/offices in Westbourne Grove (Bayswater) in the 1970s, close to where I worked for Chubbs.

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Old 2nd Feb 2021, 3:34 pm   #14
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Default Re: Lisle St

Albert, that is very interesting. I sometimes think there might be an outlet for a small book about the history of all the surplus dealers from say WW2 until present day? Latter years would be fewer to write about.

Lisle St, Tottenham Court Rd, Edgware Rd, Little Newport St. All favourite haunts. My friend and I sometimes went by train from Peterborough on a Saturday. I remember buying an APN1 altimeter for 10 bob.. Another time, we both went to Mullard House, Torrington Place to see if we could get free valve data books. There was a doorman, wouldn't let us in. Tried moving us on. But we hung around and he came out with a couple of the Industrial valve books. One about A4, or larger, the other A5 approx. Red and black covers, I still have them somewhere. We then left, happy.
Sometimes, I travelled on my own. Used to know all the tube lines andstations I needed off by heart. Could you imagine that happening today with a 14 year old?!
Rob
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Old 3rd Feb 2021, 7:18 pm   #15
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Default Re: Lisle St

Like so many others, I too have very fond memories of Lisle St. in the late 50's & early 60's. I bought far too much stuff from there. Like a good young man, when I eventually got married, I disposed of it all... However, in the last 50 plus years, I've got most of it back again!

I once lugged a 19 set back from Lisle St. on the underground, not to be recommended.

There was another very interesting used electronic equipment dealer, round the back of King's Cross station, also long since sadly gone. I bought a military Avo 2 - panel valve tester from there for £15.00, and a BC221 for £5.00, both of which I still have.


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Old 12th Apr 2021, 8:46 am   #16
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Default Re: Lisle St

My Dad and I about 1956 when I was 11yo with a Marconi R1475 from Proops in Totty Court Road - I believe it was £10 and delivered to our home out in the middle of Essex in a tea chest. Dad's friend Fred Turner found the Jones plugs to make the lead from the power unit to the radio and it worked really well in the cold war days with all the activity on the 49m band at night!
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 9:33 am   #17
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The shop mentioned in post 1, Will Day, no 19,Lisle St, was almost certainly opened in the earliest days of broadcasting. It is likely the place where my grandfather bought parts for his home made wireless. He unfortunately died whilst listening on headphones one evening in 1926,my father was only ten at the time. Lisle St was only a cheap bus ride from where I lived so I made many trips there in the 60's. Maybe the best part was a treat in Forte's in the Strand on the way home. Les.
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 10:32 am   #18
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Default Re: Lisle St

G W Smith & Co, 3-34 Lisle Street.

I still have the address in my head from the sixties and a memory of scurrying on to the post office in our village to buy postal orders with my accumulated pocket money.

3-to 34 I interpreted it as, and thought their business must be HUGE. But they printed it that way in PW, shortwave mag, etc. 3 & 34 would have been more honest, I later found.

It must have been the late '80s. I'd been down to Dover, visiting G3ROO. On my way back North, Ian and Dick G0BPS (The founders of Kanga Kits) were with me. They were going to show me Proops where it then was in a repurposed multistorey car park off Old Kent Road. They were going to buy some odds and ends and go back to Dover and Folkestone by train. My small car was packed with the three of us and a load of shelving from Ian destined for George Dobbs who had recently suffered a bit of a collapse in the radio area of his vicarage study. If you look on the inside page of Sprat, from 1990 onwards, it's there in the background in the photo of George.

So I met Sid Proops. I bought a big bag of assorted tags and terminals. I spent about an hour getting quizzed, identifying things! Great times, but it was far past the end of an era.

I never did get to see the famous places I'd bought things from by post in the sixties. Never got to Shudehill in Manchester. I'd heard of it, so I have an eldorado-esque view of it.

David
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 10:37 am   #19
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Default Re: Lisle St

I'm about 5 mins from G3ROO
Very helpful ...Nice bloke .. lots of aerials


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G W Smith & Co, 3-34 Lisle Street.

I still have the address in my head from the sixties and a memory of scurrying on to the post office in our village to buy postal orders with my accumulated pocket money.

3-to 34 I interpreted it as, and thought their business must be HUGE. But they printed it that way in PW, shortwave mag, etc. 3 & 34 would have been more honest, I later found.

It must have been the late '80s. I'd been down to Dover, visiting G3ROO. On my way back North, Ian and Dick G0BPS (The founders of Kanga Kits) were with me. They were going to show me Proops where it then was in a repurposed multistorey car park off Old Kent Road. They were going to buy some odds and ends and go back to Dover and Folkestone by train. My small car was packed with the three of us and a load of shelving from Ian destined for George Dobbs who had recently suffered a bit of a collapse in the radio area of his vicarage study. If you look on the inside page of Sprat, from 1990 onwards, it's there in the background in the photo of George.

So I met Sid Proops. I bought a big bag of assorted tags and terminals. I spent about an hour getting quizzed, identifying things! Great times, but it was far past the end of an era.

I never did get to see the famous places I'd bought things from by post in the sixties. Never got to Shudehill in Manchester. I'd heard of it, so I have an eldorado-esque view of it.

David
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 11:56 am   #20
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Default Re: Lisle St

In 1969 we moved from London to Liverpool. The day before we moved, having finished at my old school, I went up to Lisle St for what I thought was possibly the last time. Not having much money at 12 years old I think I just bought some wire ended neons. Working my way back to Leicester Square tube I took a parallel street thinking it might contain more interesting shops. Being Soho this was not the case and in fact Gerrard St was mainly strip clubs at the time. Oddly enough no one questioned the presence of a young boy wandering around alone during term time. I am certainly felt no issues travelling all around London at that age. My parents also thought there was nothing wrong with it.
Despite no longer living in London I did return a few times over the next 20 years, even dragging my future wife there in 1980. Each time they were fewer radio related shops each replaced by a Chinese restaurant or supermarket it appeared. There were some left even in 1980. However the very last to close was Gee Brothers in 1988, I have not bothered to return to that street since.
Tottenham Court Road was always visited at the same time and also slowly changed over the years. From radio and electronic shops in the 60s, Hi-Fi shops in the 70s and then computer shops in the 80 it seems to be a place following “fashion” trends.
I was very interested in photography at the time and took many pictures of the London famous places I thought I might never see again. If only I had realised at the time that it was the transitory things I should have photographed..... then again at the time I thought the shops would be there forever!
Peter
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