The British DX Club
Radio Museums & Vintage Radio in the UK & Ireland
This guide is updated regularly on the BDXC web site and also occasionally printed in "Communication". All times are UK local. We recommend you check opening times before travelling, especially out of season. Updates and additions are welcome - please e-mail bdxc[at]bdxc.org.uk ** with any changes to the details below:
** When sending an email [at] should be replaced with the @ symbol. Email addresses are shown this way on our web site to deter spam.
- Military Intelligence Museum DISC Chicksands, Shefford, Beds SG17 5PR. Includes the Intelligence Corps Museum which charts the development of British Military Intelligence along with the Medmenham Collection highlighting the important role of aerial imagery. Combined with this is the BRIXMIS Collection - telling the story of Intelligence gathering in East Germany at the height of the Cold War. Finally there is the story of Chicksands - including its use in the Second World War as a “Y” Service intercept station of Enigma Codes and its post-war USAF intelligence gathering activities up until the late 1990’s. Visitors welcome, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Free admission. Passport or photo driving licence will be required for admission). Tel 01462 752896.Military Intelligence Museum.
- RAF Signals Museum RAF Henlow, Hitchin Road, Henlow, Beds SG16 6DN. The museum tells the story of RAF Signals, from the early days of wireless through to modern satellite communications and beyond. Galleries include a number of communications receivers and transmitters. Open first Saturday of month (except January) and on Tuesdays by appointment only. Tel 01462 851515 ext 7997 leave a message with contact number. NB visitors must bring a photo ID (passport, photo driving licence etc) and book in at the Guardroom on arrival. See web site for furter details. RAF Signals Museum.
- National Vintage Communications Fair (NVCF) is now held once a year in May at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre near Leamington Spa. Not to be missed if you are at all interested in collecting vintage radios, TV, telephones, etc. - see the BDXC diary page for dates. NVCF web site
- Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley MK3 6EB - Britain's WWII codebreaking centre is well worth a visit. Newly restored buildings and exhibits reopened in June 2014. Open weekdays 0930-1700 (0930-1600 November to February). Tel: 01908 640404 or shop 01908 272684. Bletchley Park Trust
Bletchley Park also hosts two separate museums which operate independently::
- The National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park is run by volunteers from the Radio Socitey of Great Britain. It showcases radiocommunication technology and amateur radio. Open 1030-1630 Wednesday to Sunday, free admission.
- The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park is devoted to the development of computers and includes a rebuild of the giant valve "Colossus" computer (separate admission charge and opening times - check web site before travelling).
- On The Air vintage radio shop, The Highway, Hawarden, Chester CH5 3DN. Also publishes Airwaves vintage radio magazine. Tel 01244 530300.
On The Air
- The Vintage Wireless Company 174 Cross Street, Sale M33 7AQ. A shop that restores, repairs and sells radios from the period 1930-1975. Tel 0161 973 0438.
- Jodrell Bank near Holmes Chapel, SK11 9DL (off the A535). Science centre, planetarium, arboretum. Famous for the output of its Lovell radio-telscope project set up in 1974 to scan space. The visitor centre was rebuilt in 2004. Tel 01477 571339.
- Hack Green Nuclear Bunker near Nantwich, CW5 8AL (off A530 Whitchurch Rd). A complex communications infrastructure includes a BBC emergency radio studio, BT and military installations. WWII radar station. Open daily March-October 1030-1730, Sat.Sun 1100-1630 during winter. Closed December. Tel 01270 629219. Hack Green
- The Lizard Wireless Station is located at Bass Point on The Lizard. This restored Marconi communications hut is only accessible by foot and is about half a mile from Lizard village. It is run by the National Trust. Phone for opening times Tel 01326 561407 or e-mail lizard[at]nationaltrust.org.uk.
- The Marconi Centre at Poldhu Cove near Mullion, TR12 7JB and the monument to Marconi's trans-Atlantic wireless transmissions can be seen on the cliffs above Poldhu Bay. Some of the concrete mast supports are still visible in the nearby fields. The Marconi Centre is open at various times Oct-April (Sun 1330-1630, Tues/Fri 1900-2100); May/Jun/Sep (Weds/Sun 1330-1630, Tues/Fri 1900-2100); July & August (Weds/Thurs/Sun 1330-1630, Tues/Fri 1900-2100). Also open most bank holidays 1330-1630. Free admission. Tel 01326 241656. Marconi Centre Poldhu or email g0wys[at]yahoo.co.uk
- Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno near Penzance TR19 6JX reopened in June 2014 after a major £2.5m redevelopment, with new galleries, hands-on exhibits and a cafe. The museum houses historic telegraph equipment in former secret wartime underground tunnels. Open daily 1000-1700 (last admission 1600) in summer. Check web site for opening times in Winter. Tel: 01736 810966. Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
- Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station near Helston TR12 6LQ. Closed during 2014 for refurbishment. History of global communications from telegraph to broadband. See web site or phone for future opening hours. Tel 0800 043 7768. Goonhilly
- Wireless in Wales museum celebrates the contribution of Wales to the evolution of radio technology and broadcasting. The musum houses a fascinating collection of radios and ephemera from the 1920s to the 1960s collected by the late David E Jones. Located at Canolfan Iaith Clwuy (Welsh Language Centre), Lenton Pool, Denbigh LL16 3LG. Open Mondays only 1100-1500 during school term time, other times by appointement. Tel 01745 812287
or 813743. Wireless in Wales
- L V Kelly Books, at 6 Redlands, Tiverton EX16 4DH, specialises in Radio Times, books, magazines, pamphlets and broadcasting ephemera. Visitors by appointment only. Tel: 01884 256170. Kelly Books
- Military radio gear is on display at Bovington Tank Museum, near Wareham and the Royal Signals Museum, Blandford. Tank Museum
- Radar photos may be seen at Worth Matravers Tea Rooms near Swanage.
- The Haven Hotel at 161 Banks Road, Poole BH13 7QL, site of Marconi wireless tests, has photos of the event in its public bar.
- Modern radios are on sale at the Shortwave Shop at 18 Fairmile Road, Christchurch BH23 2LJ. Tel 01202 490099. Shortwave Shop
- Royal Museum Chambers Street, EH1 1JF. Telecommunications gallery including Alexander Graham Bell exhibition. Open daily 1000-1700. Tel 0300 1236789. Royal Museum
- Lightvessel LV18, a former Trinity House Lightvessel, is moored at The Quay next to Ha'penny Pier, Harwich, CO12 3HH. In recent years it has hosted several offshore radio revial broadcasts including Radio Caroline, Radio Mi Amigo and Pirate BBC Essex. It was also the Radio Sunshine ship in The Boat that Rocked film. Now open to the public for tours, the boat has exhibitions of vintage radios, TVs and other radio memorabilia which used to be housed in the Old Harwich Lighthouse radio museum (now closed). LV18 is open daily from 1100-1600 from March to the end of October. Details LV18 web site or call Tony on 07446 171320.
- Clacton Pirate Radio Museum, opened June 2014, is located in the Atlantis Building next to Clacton Pier, Clacton-on-Sea. Free entry to the shop selling offshore radio souveniers. Admission to the Anarchy on the Airwaves audio-visual exhibition is £5. Tel Ray Anderson: 01255 424776 or 07774 801945. Pirate Radio Museum
- Southend's Central Museum in Victoria Avenue (A127 next to Southend Libaray), Southend on Sea, SS2 6EW is home to the extensive EKCO (E K Cole) collection, telling the story of this iconic radio, television and plastics (bakelite) firm which had its wireless factory nearby. Open Tuesday-Saturday 1000-1700, closed bank holidays. Tel: 01702 434449. Central Museum
- The Marconi Hut is an ex-army hut from the First World War, which was used as a laboratory by the Marconi Company from 1919 to 1960 at their site in Lawford Lane, Writtle. The hut, which is open only on special occasions, is now at Chelmsford Science & Industry Museum, Sandford Mill, Chelmer Village, Chelmsford CM2 6NY Tel 01245 475498 or email sandfordmill[at]chelmsford.gov.uk
- Chelmsford Museum at Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, CM2 9AQ opened a new "Bright Sparks" exhibition in 2010 which includes some Marconi equipment. Open Mon-Sat 1000-1700. Sun 1400-1700 in summer. Admission Free. Tel 01245 605700 Chelmsford Museums Service
- Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker at Bunkerland Adventure Park, CM15 0LA was constructed underground during the Cold War to house regional government in the event of a nuclear attack. Now decommissioned and open to the public, its exhibits include an emergeny BBC studio. Open daily in Summer, Thursday to Sunday in winter, at 1000-1600. Admission charge applies. Tel 01277 364883 Kelvedon Hatch Bunker
- Museum of Communications 131 High Street, Burntisland KY3 9AA. The museum, formerly located at Bo'ness, is now installed at a new permanent location in Burntisland. The museum contains many items spanning telegraphy, telephony, radio, radar, television, audio technology, miltary and domestic electronics; including the extensive collection of the late Harry Matthews. Open late May to mid September on Wednesdays and Saturdays 1100-1700. Tel/email for other times. Tel 01592 874836. Email: enquiries [at] mocfr.co.uk Museum of Communications
- Museum of Radar and Communications HMS Collingwood, Newgate Lane, Fareham PO14 1AS. The museum is located at the Royal Navy's training establishment HMS Collingwood. It contains displays on radar, communications, navigation equipment, thermionic valves, commercial radios and gramophones, transmitters, captured enemy equipment and more. Visits are by appointment only. To make an appointment phone the curator Lt Cdr W.E. Legg R.N. [Rtd] on 01329 286262 or at the museum on 01329 332535. NB the museum phone number is only open on Mondays from 1000-1500. No charge but donations appreciated. Museum of Radar and Communications
- Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio Howth, Co Dublin. Located in Martello Tower overlooking harbour. Collection of old radios, music boxes, gramophones and related items. Entrance up steep pathway opposite Abbey Tavern, Abbey Street. Open 1100-1600 daily from April to October (Weekends only November to March). Tel +353 (0)86 815 4189 Hurdy Gurdy Museum
- Cork City Gaol Radio Museum Convent Avenue, Sunday's Well, Cork City. Location of the 6CK radio station opened in 1927. Open Mar-Oct 0930-1700, Nov-Feb 1000-1600. Tel +353 (0)23 4305022 Cork Radio Museum
- Vintage Wireless Museum Listowel, Co Kerry. The museum was opened in 1986 to mark 50 years of Irish broadcasting. 1200 items are on display, there is an extensive collection of receivers, many of which
are extremely rare. There is also an accompanying display of wireless paraphernalia: miniature crystal boxes, wireless trade signs, wet and dry batteries, and vintage wireless literature. There are impressive
broadcasting valves from Radio and the BBC, and studio microphones from the 1930s and 1940s. 2 Cherry Tree Drive, Listowel, Co Kerry, Ireland. Privately owned. Phone Eddie Moylan for opening hours: +353 (0)68 21652. Email emoylan[al]eircom.net
Isle of Wight
- Two rooms of vintage radios are on display at the Brickfields Shire Horse Centre.
- There is a small Marconi memorial at The Needles.
- The Wireless Museum at Puckpool Park has now closed.
- The Bygone Radio Shop 296 Cheriton Road, Folkestone CT19 4DP. Tel 01303 277716. Open Mon/Tue/Thurs/Fri/Sat 0900-1230. (Closed Wednesdays and Sundays).
- Radio Memories at Tankerton, Whitstable closed in 2004.
- The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD
opened a major new Information Age gallery in 2014 which covers more than
200 years of innovation in communication and information technologies.
Exhibits include broadcast radio and TV, amateur radio and telecoms. Open
daily 1000-1800. Free admission. Tel: 0870 870 4868. Science Museum
- British Vintage Wireless and Television MuseumWest Dulwich,
London. Probably the biggest and best collection of vintage domestic radios
and TVs in the UK. Well worth a visit, the museum is open by appointment
only. Please phone to arrange an appointment and request address/direction
details. Tel 020 8670 3667. Details see BVWM
- Radio Days Shop, 87 Lower Marsh, Waterloo SE1 7AB sells vintage clothing and collectables, including vintage radios. Tel 020 7928 0800. Radio Days
- Radio Jackie Museum, at Radio Jackie's studios, 110 Tolworth Broadway, Surbiton KT6 7JD. Has a small display of press cuttings, photos, and original equipment from the station's pirate era. For opening times phone 020 8288 1300. See also the History pages on the Radio Jackie web site
- Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, at 2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AR includes a number of radios and TVs through the ages in its display cases, along with nostalgic packaging and other ephemera from the Robertt Opie collection. Open Tues-Sat 1000-1800, Sun 1100-1700 (closed Mondays). Museum of Brands web site
- Snellings of Blofield , Laundry Lane, Blofield Heath, Norwich NR13 4SQ. Displaying over 100 radio & TV products down the decades collected and
lovingly restored by retired Snelling TV engineers. Includes working crystal
set, first Ekco portable TV and some advertising signs. Admission - free of charge. Not permanaently staffed so 'phone Roy Snelling 01603 711704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange visit. On same site
as Snellings TV showroom (0830 to 1730 Mon-Sat), 7 miles from Norwich. Snellings Museum
- RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, RAF Neatishead, near Horning, NR12 8YB (near the Broads). The museum has displays covering radar and military aircraft communication/monitoring. Opening hours restricted to certain days (Tues, Thurs, 2nd Saturdays and Bank Holidays) 1000-1700 Tel: 01692-631485.RAF Air Defence Radar Museum
- The Radio Hut at Muckleborough closed in 2013. The collection is currently in storage while a new home is sought for it. North Norfolk Amateur Radio Group
- Nottingham Industrial Museum, is located in the 17th centuary stable block of Wollaton Hall, Nottingham NG8 2AE. The telecommunications gallery has a display of domestic radios and morse code equipment. Open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday 1100-1700. Tel 0115 915 3936. Small admission charge. . Nottingham Industrial Museum
- Orkney Wireless Museum, Kiln Corner, Junction Road, Kirkwall KW15 1LB, houses a fascinating local collection of vintage domestic and amateur radio equipment, well worth visiting. Open daily April to end of September. Tel: 01856 871400. Orkney Wireless Museum NB an STV report in Feb 2009 said the museum is threatened with closure.
- Pembrokeshire Motor Musum Keeston Hill, Haverfordwest, SA62 6EJ (on A487), has a new vintage wireless collection which includs a display of sets from the 40s through to transistorised sets. Also some test gear, gramophones, an old bakelite TV and valves in their boxes. Open Sunday to Friday 1000-1700 (Closed Saturdays) from Easter to the end of September. Tel 01437 710950. Pembrokeshire Motor Museum
- Hoswick Visitor Centre Sandwick, ZE2 9HL features an impressive communications museum including broadcast receivers, amateur radio and military equipment. Open May to September: Monday to Saturday 1000-1700, Sunday 1100-1700. Tel 01950 431406. Hoswick Visitor Centre
- The Bakelite Museum at Orchard Mill, Williton TA4 4NS houses a collection of bakelite and vintage plastic items including radios, in a 17th century water mill/tea room. Open Easter to the end of October 1030-1800 Thursday-Sunday, daily during main school holidays. Tel: 01984 632133. Bakelite Museum
- Montacute TV & Radio Memorabilia Museum, at the Tea Rooms, 1 South Street, Montacute TA15 6XD. A collection of memorabilia from radio and TV programmes as well as old radio and TV sets. Open Weds-Sat (& Bank Holiday Mondays) 1230-1700, Sundays 1400-1700 from Easter to October (phone for winter opening times). Tel: 01935 823024. Montacute Museum
- Washford Radio Museum, an exhibition of vintage radios at Tropiquaria zoo, in the old transmitter hall of the BBC's Washford transmitting station, Watchet Cross TA23 0QB. Open daily 1000-1700 in summer (phone for winter opening times). Tel: 01984 640688. Ask for reduced admission price if you are only visiting the radio museum. Washford Radio Museum
- Philip Knighton's Vintage Wireless and Gramophone Shop has now closed.
- Ickworth House, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds IP29 5QE has a display on Wartime Wireless. Open 1 March to 31 October on Fr.Sa.Su.Mo.Tu from 1000-1730. Tel 01284 735270. National Trust. Entry is expensive. Ickworth
- Sounds of the Past, Old Chapel, Monks Eleigh, IP7 houses a collection of around 500 radio sets, some dating back to the early 1900s. Located in the former United Reformed Church building in the main street of Monks Eleigh the museum is open on the first Sunday of every month with entry by donation to cancer charities.
- Amberley Museum, near Arundel, BN18 9LT an open air working museum, includes displays of vintage domestic and amateur radio equipment, as well as other electrical and telephone equipment. Separate BT Connected Earth exhibition. Open mid February to end October Tuesday-Sunday (& Bank Holiday Mondays) from 1000-1730. Tel 01798 831370. Entry is expensive. Amberley Museum
- Buckleys Yesterday's World 89-90 High Street, Battle TN33 0AQ. Includes displays of a 1930s wireless shop and a 1950s radio/TV shop. Open daily 0930-1600. Tel 01424 775378
- Bognor Regis Museum is at 25-27 West Street, Bognor Regis, PO21 1XA. Contains many old radios and unusual radio accessories. Open Tuesday-Sunday (& Bank Holidays) 1000-1600 from late March to October. Tel: 01243 865636.
- Hastings Museum Johns Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, TN34 1ET has a room entirely devoted to John Logie Baird, who worked on early television development in Hastings in 1923-24. The room includes a replica of the 1926 Baird apparatus, on loan from the National Media Museum in Bradford. Open Mon-Fri 1000-1600(1000-1700 in Summer), Sat-Sun 1100-1600(1100-1700 in summer). Tel 01424 451052
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery.
- International Vintage Electronics Museum 54 Easthill Drive, Brighton BN41 2FD. Radio, computers, calculators, Marconi, Sony, Sinclair and general electronics collection open to visitors and researchers. Phone curator Enrico Tedeschi for appointment 01273 701650. Enrico Tedeschi
- Newhaven Fort Museum houses a collection of vintage amateur radio equipment from the late Cyril Fairchild G3YY. The museum is open daily from March to October 1030-1800 (1030-1700 in October). Tel 01273 517622. Newhaven Fort
- Seaford Museum is located in the martello tower on Seaford beach. A large hall beneath the martello tower contains over a thousand radios, TVs, tape recorders and items of test equipment, a lot of it 1950s. Open year round Sundays & bank holidays 1100-1300, 1430-1630 (1400-1600 in winter) and also in summer on Saturdays and Wednesdays 1430-1630. . Tel 01323 898222.Seaford Museum
- Black Country Living Museum in Dudley has a 1930s wireless shop called Gripton's. Originally located in Oldbury, it was moved brick by brick to the museum along with a display of appropriate period radios. Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ. Tel 0121 557 9643. Open daily 1000-1600. Black Country Living Museum
- Droitwich Spa Heritage & Information Centre hosts Droitwich Calling, a hands-on exhibition devoted to the UK's high-power longwave transmitting station at Droitwich, including a typical 1960s BBC studio. St Richard's House, Victoria Square, Droitwich. Open Mon-Sat 0930-1600 (closed Sundays). Tel 01905 774312
- Military Wireless Museum Home to a collection of over 700 military radios from around the world including Japanese, German and French sets. Museum is open to individual visitors and groups by appointment, contact details email: email@example.com telephone: 01562 743253
Military Wireless Museum
- National Media Museum (formerly Museum of Photography, Film & Television), Prince's View, Bradford BD5 0TR covers film, television, radio, the web and photograpy. Has good displays of old TV cameras and receivers. Open Daily 1000-1800. Tel: 0844 856 3797. National Media Museum
Vintage Radio Publications
- The British Vintage Wireless Society publishes an excellent quarterly Bulletin for members. Membership secretary BVWS, 58 Church Road, Fleet, GU51 4LY. BVWS.
- Radio Bygones is published by Wimborne Publishing Ltd, 113 Lynwood Drive, Merley, Wimborne, BH21 1UU. Tel: 01202 873872 Fax: 01202 874562. Radio Bygones.
- The Radiophile, edited by Chas Miller; four issues £20 (sample copy £3) from Admin Office, "Larkhill", Newport Road, Woodseaves, Stafford, ST20 ONP.
- Airwaves, published by On The Air, The Highway, Hawarden, Chester, CH5 3DN (sae for sample). Tel/fax 01244 530300. Airwaves.
Updated: 15 Dec 2014