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Renting Tellies

Brummagemite

True Brummagem Lad
I saw something on the news the other night about getting televisions on tick, and it reminded me how we used to rent our old telly back in the late 1960s and 1970s. We rented ours from College Radio on Weoley Castle Square, mind I can’t recall how much it was. If it broke we could take in for repair, and I think you were given a replacement whilst that was being done. It was a number of years before we could afford to buy one outright, and when we did it was quite an expense. Anyone else remember this?
 

Brummagemite

True Brummagem Lad
Thanks Dave. Sorry, what I meant was anybody remember renting their telly from College Radio on the Square at Weoley Castle? It was next door to the post office there, on the same side as Lawrence’s. Apologies for not making myself clearer. I also don’t know why it was called College Radio either, anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

adap2it

master brummie
Thanks Dave. Sorry, what I meant was anybody remember renting their telly from College Radio on the Square at Weoley Castle? It was next door to the post office there, on the same side as Lawrence’s. Apologies for not making myself clearer. I also don’t know why it was called College Radio either, anyone have any thoughts on this?
That's quite alright..however, it did highlight the fact that most of our "possessions" were rented, including our dwellings.
Dave A
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes, lots of people rented a TV. Some had a coin slot on the back, a kind of pay as you view system
 

Old Boy

master brummie
Hi All,
I also remember the TV Shop in Weoley Square called College Radios.I can only guess that it was named after another shop with the same name and owners. Does anyone know of a shop called College Radios possibly situated in College Road somewhere? However Daves comment that most of our possessions were rented is true and, in my opinion this was better. Today we see young couples struggling to save for a deposit to buy a house and get married. More often than not it is an impossible task so they do get married (or settle into a long term relationship) and move in with relatives or friends and everyone's life is disrupted . There were more private landlords about with more properties available. My parents, for instance, rented from Jack Cotton and Partners, a large and reputable company. Apart from a period during the war, when they were bombed out, my parents lived and brought up their family perfectly happily throughout their married years in the same house 44, Carlton Road, Small Heath.
I realise and apologise that this has gone completely off thread and ask that perhaps one of our good moderators could transfer this to a new thread.
Old Boy
That's quite alright..however, it did highlight the fact that most of our "possessions" were rented, including our dwellings.
Dave A
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
TVs seem to have been rented by 'radio' shops. I suppose radio shops could make the transition to TVs because it was similar technology at the time. We had ours from Radio Rentals, unusual for us as my dad never agreed to any form of rental agreement (my mum must have done it !)
As part of the rental it was reassuring that an engineer would come out to fix your rented TV. And TVs were an exorbitant price to buy at first. When colour TVs came in, even worse. But that still seems to be the trend even today. When newer technology products are first on the market they're very pricey. Viv.
 

jukebox

Engineer Brummie
Dad rented our first TV from 'Good Listening' which was possibly a Birmingham company although I may be wrong about that. It had a built in VHF radio tuner which was completely useless but we discovered later they hadn't installed the correct aerial!
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Just remembered another thing about renting TVs is that you got a decent TV. We had a very modern one, it was almost a statement piece in our living room. It had silver knobs and speaker and was encased in a light teak. A bit like having a sleek stereogram (remember those ?). Transformed your living room into an up-to-the-minute home. Well that was how I felt about it at the time. Viv.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
A few years back I put on a pic of a TV I rented in the early 1970s. Colour TVs were not reliable back then so I rented.
A photo of my son watching our rented TV in the 1970s. Apologies for the 1970s decor I thought it was good at the time! When I look at the old sit-coms on TV I often see those curtains and notice the 'spider plant' parked on the TV ...

image from https://birminghamhistory.co.uk/forum/index.php?threads/televisions.43388/#post-516055 only visible if logged in
 
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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
nice family photo phil...not sure about our black and white tv but for certain our colour one would have been rented...would not have afforded to buy one outright..

lyn
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
we had our rental from Boyed on Aston cross a couple of doors away from the libary and by the time our old man got his finger out to get us a black and white every body else had the colour by then and i think he only rented it watch randolf turpin boxing match on that saturday night and the following night sunday which was sunday the tele was playing up he ranted and got up and took the back off it
and when he did out jumped a mouse we all shouted and jumped up on chairs until he got it monday morning took it back and ranted at the shop manager whom replaced it for another one
 

Big Gee

master brummie
On another thread I recently posted that we got our first TV from Lewis's. Now I'm not so sure...it may have come from Jolly's on Witton Circle. Anyway, it was a Pye 12", and I think the V7 model which, according to the Pye TV website, cost £61.11.0 in 1953. If my dad was on £20 a week in those days, then that would have been it - he'd have had to rent. It really was a crap TV. It took an age for the many valves to warm up, and even then the picture was blurred. But my dad being my dad, he thought he was up to the task, and most evenings spent many a sweary hour trying to get it right. However, having said that, when we came back to these shores in 1981 we rented a colour TV from Radio Rentals, and it was good as gold. But nowhere near as good as the modern flat-screen job which in my experience is ultra-reliable and cost-wise, almost as cheap as chips. Time moves on.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Buying a TV set was incredibly expensive in comparison with today’s prices. If, as Gig Gee says, their TV was £61.11.0 in 1953. The average wage of a tradesman was £9.30 a week.

The £61.11.0 in 1953 sounds about right to me as my dad bought a black and white TV from Fowlers on Sutton New Road in Erdington for about £98.00. At the time, his average wage would have been around £15.85.

BBC 2 came out in April 1964, he was furious because his TV would not play the new channel

One interesting point is how the TV was to become a piece of furniture and the layout of the Living room revolved around the TV set.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
thats very true mort and these days a lot of people need a large living room:D

lyn
 

Frothblower

Lubrication In Moderation
We had our TV though Telebank with a 50p meter on the back. We used to get about a quarter of our money back when the meter was emptied each month.
 

farmerdave

master brummie
This advert for Radio Rentals was shown in the Sunday Mercury in March 1959. It shows the disparity between renting from 8 shillings and fourpence per week or buying from 67 guineas. There were many Radio Rentals shops in Birmingham with the city one being at 13 Piccadilly Arcade. Dave.
 

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