No frills or furbelows

The Fenman II is definitely a no messing kind of man’s radio.  It’s big, solid and dependable.  Made by Pye, Cambridge, England in the mid-fifties to rival the continental bad boys.  What it may lack in styling, it more than makes up for in sound.


This ten valve radio is considered, by some, to be ‘without doubt, the best valved radio made in the UK, with push pull output and 4 speakers’.  

A luxury model when it was introduced in the fifties and, according to Pye Ltd the ‘multiple loudspeaker system maintains a true balance of treble and bass in every part of the room and adds an unusual realism and depth to the reproduction’.


Very soon it will be on its way to its new home in Ireland where the new owner has been patiently waiting.  The latest of our well-travelled radios.  Not the best looking radio we’ve seen, weighs a ton, missing the original knobs, but quality none the less.


1958 PYE Continental


The 1958 PYE Continental.  An enormous Table Model Valve Radio with wooden and blue painted cabinet.  A VHF2D to you if you’re technically minded, but to me a dark mahogany veneered plywood case with a rather wondrous contrasting pale blue and cream trim and just a pop of red.

The PYE Continental, hmm it got me to thinking … Lincoln Continental …

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I imagine the inspiration for the design might have been heavily influenced by the nation’s fascination with all things American.  Rock and Roll, Diners, blingy jukeboxes and live-in fridges. Pure escapism to move away from the misery and monochrome that was World War II and its aftermath.

The moniker Continental also conjures up wonderful pictures of a European life glimpsed in films like the adorable Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday.  The world had suddenly become smaller and more colourful.


Vintage valve radios of the late 1950s should be treasured for making a last stand. They are big and bold design statements.  Appreciate them as a complete contrast to our current obsession with miniaturization sparked by the arrival of the transistor and the microchip.

Call me old fashioned, but I do prefer my chips served with salt and vinegar, whilst watching the waves roll in.