From 30-32 Westgate Street
Des Pawson (see Links
for his Museum of Knots & Sailors Ropework) writes:"I first
here [Ipswich] in 1976 when I took over managing the Rymans
that at the time was on the corner of Westgate Street and High Street;
I think it is Moss Bros now. In the roof I found a
that had been left there from one of the previous businesses (Radio
Rentals or Redifusion or some such, possibly local Radio and
company). I have forgotten if I ever really knew. It stands
about 15 inch high and would have had light bulbs in it."
This is a unique example of Ipswich historic lettering on this site, we
think and - thanks to Des - Ipswich Historic Lettering is now the proud
owner of this venerable consonant. His anecdotal history of it and
the fact that it's a piece of lettering detached from its original
site are intriguing. You could tuck it under your arm and take it round
the world. The body is made of metal with seven screw-in light
bulb sockets which would illuminate a coloured glazed front
face. The old, brown, cloth-covered wiring is still in place at the
back. If anyone has more information on the previous ownership of this
shop, we'd be pleased to hear it. Perhaps the shop will show up in one
of the books of period photographs of Ipswich which abound. Otherwise
it will take someone going through the Kelly's Directories for this
It could be Radio Rentals by the letter form. However web research
reveals no font similarity to earlier logos. Similarly for
Rentals Ltd was started
by Percy Perring-Thoms a radio dealer in Brighton in August 1930 and by
1936 had become a Public Company with about 50,000 rental customers and
by the firms Silver Jubilee in 1955 had over 280,000 radio
subscribers. Its radios were made usually by E.K. Cole Ltd
made "Ekco" radios) or Mains Radios and Gramophones Ltd, a Yorkshire
firm, which it acquired in 1945. Radio Rentals was one of the first
companies to concentrate on the rental of television sets after WW2 and
Mains Radios and Gramophones started television manufacture in 1948.
Radio Rentals Ltd ceased renting radios in 1965 to concentrate on
televisions. Mains Radios and Gramophones Ltd was established in 1929
had Works in Manchester Road Bradford. During WW2 the firm was one of
those that manufactured the "utility" radio (U31) and changed its name
to Baird Television Ltd in 1961 when Radio Rentals acquired the name
from Hartley Baird Ltd. The Bradford factory, which by then was at
Beckside Works, Lidget Green, Bradford closed in 1978.
In 1928 the Broadcast Relay Service became one of the first companies
to relay Radio Programmes by wire in Clacton Essex. This service was
was a business which distributed radio and later TV signals through
wired relay networks. The business gave rise to a number of other
companies, including Associated-Rediffusion, later known as Rediffusion
London, one of the first companies to win a terrestrial ITV (commercial
television) franchise in the UK. Shops handling radio and television
rentals were a feature of many high streets until the companies
break-up in the 1980s.
Of course, the company Des worked for also begins with an 'R', so we
looked at Ryman
as a company
namestyle, too. Once Ryman Conran, when it was owned by design guru
Terence Conran, Ryman actually dates back to a stationery business
established in Great Portland Street, London by Henry Ryman in 1893.
However, there's no evidence that they ever used a font with this
flared serif capital. For many years 'Ryman' has favoured a flattened
Until we get more information on the 'R', this will have to suffice.
See also The Big Query for a much bigger,
much more public character at the Wet Dock.
[UPDATE 27.2.2014: "Hi Borin, I
was at the record office a couple of days ago and checked out the
street directories for 32 Westgate Street, which in my time was Rymans.
Prior to Rymans 30-32 Westgate Street was the home of The International
Tea Co. Stores Ltd right back to 1925 (see Wikipedia, as they were
later known as International Stores). Before which it was Goffin
Brothers going back at least until the late 1800s Could the
R be from International Stores? All the fun of the research. Cheers,
DES"] Many thanks to Des Pawson for
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