Last year Roberts Radios celebrated their 80th Birthday. This British company has been producing radios since 1932 when Harry Roberts and Leslie Bismead set up their business raising the money for a deposit on a small workshop by selling Leslie’s motorbike. It was a good move.
In addition to their successful business association, Harry and Leslie became brothers in law. They married sisters Doris and Elsie Haywood and It’s said that the inspiration for the design of the iconic radio was drawn from Elsie’s 1950’s handbag.
Initially they sold only three radios a week but they set themselves high standards to make “a top-quality product and sell it to top-quality customers’’. Aiming high they carted a sample off to Harrods and came back with an order to make six more. A measure of their success was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother owning a Roberts Radio for her personal use and buying one for her daughter, the then Princess Elizabeth. Roberts was awarded a Royal Warrant in 1955.
Roberts radios in a myriad of colours are an iconic sight today. Back in 1961 one-off radios were made for a shop display including one in solid gold radio and one in mink. They were displayed in Whiteleys Department Store shop window in West London. Sadly they were both stolen and never seen again. Imagine how much the gold one would be worth today.
In the early 1980s the Roberts Radio declined in popularity as people were drawn to more hi-tech and sleek looking gadgets. All this changed in 1989 when a chance appearance of a red Roberts Radio in the background of a Martini advert sparked a nostalgic renewal of interest. A limited number of radios were made to meet this demand and Roberts Radios hasn’t looked back since. The red leather radio was put into full production and in the early 1990s the range was expanded and models created in partnership with a range of designers including, Mulberry, Paul Smith and Cath Kidston.
We have modified this wonderful looking Limited Edition pre-Dab Roberts Radio for a customer so that they can listen to the radio or their MP3 player.