Our Old Radio
Frank Ferri wrote:
"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."
"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 Radio Programmes in the late
40s/early 50s were:
Housewives Choice, 10.00am, broadcast daily.
Services Network (AFN), broadcast from Germany
Family Favourites, on a Sunday
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:
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."
"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
"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
Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith: May 5, 2008