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Renting Tellies

Brummagemite

True Brummagem Lad
Many thanks to everybody for all the replies. I was worried I might not get much of a response, so I’m glad to see all the postings everyone’s made.

I’d not heard about these tellies with meters on the back, that Morturn and Frothblower talk about, for ten bob coins. My grandparents did have an electric meter, and more than once someone forgot to put the money in before it ran out so we’d be plunged into darkness!

It’s been really interesting reading all about memories of renting tellies, from Vivienne14, jukebox, Astoness and Big Gee, and great to see OldMohawk’s photo of his telly and farmerdave’s advert for Radio Rentals. I certainly agree with all the comments about prices, and the affordability of renting, as well as how the furniture was laid out so as to put the telly at the centre of the living room.

Thank you also for the link to the other thread Viv, where Harvey3 talks about College Radio, and the prefabs – I’d forgotten about those! I think you’re right, and it would make sense that radio shops should have made the transition to selling tellies.

It seems Old Boy might be on to something about why it was called College Radios, as someone kindly looked things up in the trade directories at the library and there was a ‘College Radio & Electric’ at 768 College Road in Erdington. The only thing is that this was from the 1950s, but the ‘College Radio & Cycles’ on Weoley Castle Square as there in the 1930??

Anyhow, thank you again for all the responses.
 
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Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Did Rumbelows rent tellies ? Viv.
Yes, at the time that this discussion is based on almost any shop that handled TV and radios, had a rental scheme. Forward Trust the finance arm of Midland Bank had a section that 'bought these rentals at a profitable rate which allowed the dealer to increase their rental market and some of the dealers also rented out 'white goods'. For a lot of the shops this allowed them to expand, merge or takeover rivals. And yes Raio Rentals did what it said on the shop sign.
Bob
 

Ken_R

master brummie
Another thing I can remember about rented 'tellies' is that the screen was actually behind a sheet of glass. With coal fires, etc, a film of dust would build up on the front of the screen (cathode ray tube) and periodically, an 'engineer' would attend to clear away the film. IIRC, the 'tube' was fitted on some sort of rail that could be retracted to enable cleaning.

This 'cleaning' was included within the price of the 'rental' whereas, with a unit purchased outright, would have an additional cost.
 

Williamstreeter

master brummie
I was 14 just started work 1964 when Mother and I got a tv , tanner in the back . I got paid on Thursday and any odd sixpences was stuck in the back . We used to get a lot back every month when it was emptied and stick the lot back in , none of this running around for a tanner if the picture cut out .
 

Spargone

master brummie
Another thing I can remember about rented 'tellies' is that the screen was actually behind a sheet of glass. With coal fires, etc, a film of dust would build up on the front of the screen (cathode ray tube) and periodically, an 'engineer' would attend to clear away the film. IIRC, the 'tube' was fitted on some sort of rail that could be retracted to enable cleaning.

This 'cleaning' was included within the price of the 'rental' whereas, with a unit purchased outright, would have an additional cost.
Our first TVs were made by my dad. The first set had a 9" tube which was pretty much that diameter throughout its length and the connections at the rear were made by a 'cup' rather than a socket as on later tubes. The next set was based on a 'Visionmaster' design but Dad added a radio for the daytime when there was no TV service. It did mean that there was very little 'warming-up' when we switched to TV as only the tube had to be powered up. We then had a gap until after ITV started, when we bought a Pye set from Civic in Sheldon. One thing all these sets had in common was a glass sheet at the front but it didn't have anything to do with dust, it was for safety. Supposedly it was possible that if a CRT broke it would implode and the cathode assembly at the rear could be projected forward with enough force to break the front face, which was quite thin so as to give a good picture. Obviously no-one wanted to fire glass and metal shards at a family sitting close to the screen, (it was knee-to-knee for the 9" set!), so a sheet of armoured glass was fitted to the front of the cabinet.

Our next set was a KB 'Royal Star' which was semi-portable, having a handle on the top but being too heavy for many people to carry. That was my introduction to TV repairing. I think many of its components must have been overstressed as I replaced quite a few over the years that we kept it.

CRT technology improved as they got bigger and the front glass was no longer formed from the same material as the part that housed the electron gun so an external glass sheet was no longer required. This would have been the case for the next set we had which was our first and only rental set from Radio Rentals. I recall that the customer had to buy the spindly legs that it sat on! That must have been around 1964 and BBC2 had been launched in the Midlands and was the only station on 625 lines UHF, BBC 1 and ITV (ABC/ATV, a different company at the weekends) used 405 lines VHF. To get BBC2 you had to change the channel selector to the UHF position and then turn a tuning dial to get BBC2. As there was only one UHF station that only needed touching if the set was a bit 'off-tune'.

That set was certainly repaired at least once by Radio Rentals. Eventually it went back, (less the legs!), when I bought a large colour set of Italian manufacture from Comet at The Swan for my mum's birthday. In theory that set could have remote control fitted - at the end of a fat cable - but we didn't have that fitted, just using the pre-set buttons on the front. That set had a stand-by switch so it started up quickly - back to Dad's 1950's technology! Indeed it started up, shut down and changed channel a lot faster than today's digital replacement!
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
I recall an incident of a young lad being killed by an exploding CRT, a shard of glass hit him in the thigh when he threw a stone at a dumped TV set.

I remember my dad buying a 24" black and white TV from Fowlers on Sutton Road, Edington. Its cost around £98 not including the legs or newspaper rack. He begrudgingly bought the legs, but not the rack, making one himself later. He complained like mad not long after getting its because BBC 2 came on air and his set could not reveve it unless it had an expensive modification and an additional box fitted. He was furious, but this may date it. There was a channel changing indexed dial on the side that you had to click round to select either ITV or BBC 1, channels 8 and 4 respectively.

Like these older sets it took ages to 'warm up'.
 

Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
We rented one from Granada ,I think they were in Erdington, looked just like the one in post 13, as did our gas fire , the first furniture gas fire, the Flavel Debonair.
When you look back and count up how much was paid for rental they cost lots more than if you bought one.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
It would be interesting to find out what the average wage was for a man in 1963, my dad was a carpenter for the council. £98 seems to me an extrordiary amout of money for a TV set. I am sure he also bought a small van, and Austin A35 for just over £200. Unfortunately, my dad bought stuff like this and kept the family in poverty.
 

nickcc101

master brummie
We rented our first VCR from Granada not long after they first came out and following the battle with Betamax. I can still remember the corded remote control which everyone tripped over. We rented our first black and white tv back in 1970 but can't remember where from. Our first colour set was bought from MEB in Shirley in the early seventies but was a real problem as it had to go in for repair at least three or four times due to faulty circuit boards, unfortunately the loan sets were portable black and white which our young Daughter didn't appreciate.
 

Edifi

master brummie
Morturn going of subject for a sec, I was 24 in 1963 and earned as a motor mechanic the princely sum ot £13 a week.Our flat in Edgebaston cost us £4-17-6 a week.My wife earned £6 a week at Enots in Aston in the stores
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Morturn going of subject for a sec, I was 24 in 1963 and earned as a motor mechanic the princely sum ot £13 a week.Our flat in Edgebaston cost us £4-17-6 a week.My wife earned £6 a week at Enots in Aston in the stores
Thanks, I was thinking between £10 - £15 a weeks, so that was a lot of money to spend on a tv set, I would say around £4,500 today.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
It would be interesting to find out what the average wage was for a man in 1963, my dad was a carpenter for the council. £98 seems to me an extrordiary amout of money for a TV set. I am sure he also bought a small van, and Austin A35 for just over £200. Unfortunately, my dad bought stuff like this and kept the family in poverty.
In 1962 at Cannings as a sales office clerk, I earned £16.00 per week flat rate, overtime extra, moved to Plymouth and in November 1962 I started work as a wages clerk at £9.00 per week, after two months out of work. In 1966 I started for Forward Trust as a rep at £1000.00 per year and a car.

Bob
 

nickcc101

master brummie
Morturn going of subject for a sec, I was 24 in 1963 and earned as a motor mechanic the princely sum ot £13 a week.Our flat in Edgebaston cost us £4-17-6 a week.My wife earned £6 a week at Enots in Aston in the stores
Started as trainee mechanic in1960 for the princely wage of 1/6d per hour, 48 hr week which included Saturday mornings. Mind you when my family were looking to move to Paignton the same year the wage there was 1/0d per hour. Sorry about wandering off thread.
 

Solihull54

master brummie
In 1962 at Cannings as a sales office clerk, I earned £16.00 per week flat rate, overtime extra, moved to Plymouth and in November 1962 I started work as a wages clerk at £9.00 per week, after two months out of work. In 1966 I started for Forward Trust as a rep at £1000.00 per year and a car.

Bob
my dad worked for Sir Ernest Canning as Publicity Manager, it was his 2nd job after leaving university and we lived in Studland Road, Hall Green, it was 1962 so I guess you were there same time as m my dad.
 

mw0njm.

A Brummie Dude
i rented a furguson tx 10 from a shop on .whashwood heath rd1592060474188.png that had a 50p slot box on the back.just.:grinning:
 

Solihull54

master brummie
I remember renting a telly from DER in Redditch just after I got married in 1976, came with a tennis game on it simple days back then wasn't it.
 
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