Introduction and Brief History of the BVWS

The British Vintage Wireless Society (BVWS) is a society of approximately 1300 World-wide members sharing a common interest in the preservation and communication of technical and historical data, and the preservation and restoration of Vintage radio and related equipment.

Six enthusiasts seeking to explore the history, science and technology of Radio founded the BVWS on 25th April 1976. Approaches to Museums and the Academic community were made with the result of being largely unsuccessful. Undeterred this small dedicated group eventually formed the BVWS. The Society's first AGM was held at the Historic Writtle hut, which in 1922 had been home to the Marconi Scientific Company's first experimental wireless transmitter, call sign 2MT.


A Society publication for keeping all the members in touch was introduced. The first BVWS Bulletin was compiled with the aid of a manual duplicating machine in June 1976. Since then the Bulletin has greatly increased in size, quality and content. It is produced quarterly and remains the Journal of the Society.

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In recent years the BVWS has taken over the publication of 405 Alive (a Vintage Television related magazine) and incorporated it into the Bulletin giving an even wider ranging subject base.

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We hold regular meetings around the UK. Our main event takes place at Harpenden twice a year, with smaller meetings held in Wiltshire and Cheshire. These meetings have stalls selling vintage radio and related items, and often also include a bring-and-buy stall, working displays of vintage equipment, historical presentations and an auction. Refreshments are available at reasonable prices. Take a look at the events diary page for current details.

We also organise the highly successful National Vintage Communications Fair, with more than 300 stalls under one roof. The fair takes place annually at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre.



The Society regularly produces supplements for members, consisting of technical, historic and documentary interest. Over the past few years we have produced (with Copyright permission) two CD-ROMs of the Trader Service sheets 1 to 1900, a CD-ROM of all BVWS Bulletins no longer in print and a CD-ROM of all editions of 405 Alive magazine, several DVDs containing historic films, plus a number of other paper supplements and our own history book. These are all free to members.


A recent release to members is the autobiography of Mr Gerry Wells, the father of Vintage Radio Collecting, entitled Obsession. The book contains a huge number of interesting facts about the life of a boy fascinated initially by electricity and later radio. It is packed with information about set manufacturers and funny anecdotes of being in the radio and television trade.

We have also released the excellent Valveman film about the life of Gerry Wells on DVD, with all proceeds going to the British Vintage Wireless Museum.


Our Society relies on new membership, new Bulletin articles and new ideas to enable it to flourish and secure its future for generations to come. If you have an interest in collecting and restoring old equipment, or just looking at or listening to old radios, televisions or Hi-Fi, then why not consider becoming a BVWS member.

An application form can be found on the join the BVWS page. You could also contact the Membership Secretary who will be happy to send you a sample Bulletin and answer any questions about the Society.

Now, why not take a look around our website as it is always growing. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome.

Greg Hewitt,
BVWS Chairman.