The British Library's Catalogue . . . was
the key to much of the information on this site. NEWS AND LINKS
Work continues to fill in the gaps in the material on this site - please visit regularly to stay up to date on progress.   And of course, there wouldn't be a News page without YOUR news and comments - keep them coming!   News items initially posted here will be incorporated into other pages later if appropriate.   News more than about a year old can be found on the News Archive page, accessible from this page.   Also on this page: links to sites of those who have helped, and to other sites of interest.

Welcome and introduction,
contact details, disclaimer,
rights notice, BVWS link,
site map.
The man who introduced radio
construction to several generations
of boys, many of whom became radio
or communications professionals.
The history of the famous
one-valve circuit, 1948-78.
The Studio 'E' 1-valver and
the Focus Transistor radio:
downloads for these famous
designs, and lots more!
This portable receiver clearly became 
very popular, as it was published seven 
times from 1962 to 1981.
A growing resource for those who
built Davey designs years ago, or who
simply wish to know more about them.
Davey sets built by contributors -
including designs that could have been
lost but for some prolonged detective work.
Two home-made coils to use in place of the all-too-scarce
commercial types, suppliers for other components, and
other sources of useful information.
(This page)
Latest news, links to other sites of 
interest, and news archive.
News Archive.
Hover your mouse over the
navigation buttons above for
brief page contents.
Pages marked  >  give access to
one or more subsidiary pages -
see also Site Map at bottom
of WELCOME page.

1 November 2022: Meeting with Claire Davey and Hugh Castellan

Top: Hugh, John and Claire,
Bottom left: Hugh's sets,
Bottom right: my sets.

Regular site visitors will know that I have been in contact with Gilbert Davey's daughter Claire for some years.   Claire and her family have been very supportive of this site, and we had planned to meet for the first time in May 2020.   The Covid pandemic forced Claire to postpone her trip to the UK from her home in North America, but we looked forward to the pleasure of meeting once Covid restrictions were eased.   I also knew that Hugh Castellan, who had been in touch with Gilbert Davey himself during the 1980s, and who has made outstanding contributions to this site since its inception, was keen to meet Claire.   It would be my first meeting with Hugh too.

Our meeting finally took place on 10 September 2022.   With Claire, Hugh and myself were Claire's family members Sue and John Winter, and my wife Sheila.   Having met for lunch at a local restaurant, we drove the short distance to my home, where Hugh and I were able to display our Davey radios for all to view, and where I also had available my collection of Davey's books and articles.

Claire gave some insights as to what life was like in the Davey household, especially when the post brought sackfuls of mail to answer, when there were proofs to check and correct, and when Davey's late-night short-wave listening led to emphatic appeals to switch off!   Hugh Castellan explained to Claire how he had been able to rescue the 1950 Boys's Own Paper Holiday Radio design from oblivion with some help from Davey himself in the 1980s.   I passed to Claire copies of some items relating to her father that she might not have seen.

Hugh Castellan also brought with him a two-valve Davey receiver that he has recently completed.   This closely follows the article in the November 1948 edition of Boy's Own Paper, which describes the addition of an output valve to the one-valver described in the February 1948 edition.   Hugh allowed me to photograph this set, and I have added details and pictures to the YOUR DAVEY SETS page.

Pictured above:
Top: Hugh Castellan relates to Claire how he reconstructed the 1950 BOP Holiday Radio, while John Winter examines Hugh's newly built two-valver.
Bottom left: Hugh's sets.
Back row: Holiday Radio, retro-style crystal receiver.
Middle row: Studio ‘E’ set, retro version of 1948 one-valver, Cycle Radio.
Front: Simple three-valver.
Bottom right: My sets.
Left: Studio ‘E’ set with *mains power supply and *transistor amplifier.
Centre: BOP 1961 one-valver.
Rear right: Focus receiver.
Centre right: Transistor reflex receiver and *medium-wave modulator (allows any audio source to be heard on medium-wave receiver).
* = items not according to or inspired by Davey designs.

It was a very great pleasure to meet Claire Davey, her family and Hugh Castellan, all for the first time after having coreesponded for years.   A truly grand day!

Other recent news News up to around a year old follows.   Please see News Archive page for older items, including those relating to Gilbert Davey's death in April 2011.

14 August 2022:
Some unknown Davey designs?
Hello Les,   Last week on holiday I picked up a Modern Boy's Book of Hobbies which contains two radio designs and a preselector.   Initially I thought this was the same as the Boy's Own Book of Hobbies which I know from your website contains Davey designs.   However it appears that the "Modern Boy" was a different publication.   There is no publication date in the book, but the "Make your own calendar" article shows a 1938 calendar used.   The designs do look like Davey ones, but maybe others were doing similar things around this time?   I attach images of the articles.
Best Regards, John Mann.

Thank you for your interesting message, John.   Whilst we cannot rule out Davey altogether, the construction methods suggested by the illustrations were very widespread.   Also, simple sets that youngsters could have built, such as one- or two-valvers with reaction, were to a large degree variations on a theme.   Unfortunately your images have come through at very low resolution, such that I cannot read any of the text.
You may have read on my site that, particularly before World War 2, editors were not generous in attributing authors’ names to their articles; also pen-names were very common.   As I state on my Pre-War page, my rule is to exclude anything that was not credited to Davey unless I can point to overwhelming evidence of his authorship.   I would be very glad to see scans or photos of higher resolution.
My apologies if I seem to be pouring cold water on your suggestion!
John then kindly sent me some much better images.   They make interesting reading in their own right, and I could quite see that they could be taken for Davey designs.   The writing style is similar to Davey’s post-war writing for young people.   The best thing I can do is to keep them in mind in case any evidence turns up to positively link them with Davey.
My thanks to John for his trouble.

30 November 2021:
The value of practical skills
Just after my last update, David Mercer wrote:
Dear Les,   Thank you so much for the update - fascinating as always!   A reminder of so much fun from a long ago in the late fifties.
I never got to extend my electronics knowledge as I might have wished, but a successful construction of Gilbert Davey's one-valver and some tinkering with transistors in the early days gave me (as an 11-year-old) confidence to at least try practical skills generally.   This has always stayed with me and has subsequently been passed on to children and grand-children.
Thanks again for your work to record and acknowledge Gilbert Davey's considerable and significant influence on some young lives.
Best regards, David Mercer.

Thank you for your kind message, David.   I share your view about practical skills.   I’m afraid that in Britain they are not held in the esteem they should be, and we are the poorer for this.   But I’d better not get started on this!

There has not been a great deal of correspondence over the past year; perhaps my visitors have been relishing their new-found freedom from Covid restrictions away from the computer and workbench!

I have made one or two additions to the GILBERT DAVEY page, and have corrected a number of errors and inconsistencies throughout the site.

Earlier News: Please see News Archive page for news more than about a year old, including items relating to Gilbert Davey's death in April 2011.

Links to those who have helped:
(Links on this page and throughout
the site were last checked on
17 October 2022.)
BBC Written Archives Centre has assisted with documents, information and copyright permissions on BBC material.
British Library is the gateway to the British Library's vast resources.   Under "Catalogues and Collections", select "Explore the Main Catalogue".   Anyone can use the Catalogues, but you have to sign up as a Reader to see books etc.   The catalogues are sometimes awkward to use, but they were the key to much of the information on this site.
Kelly Books and Magazines   Source for two 1950s copies of Radio Times.   Many other vintage backnumbers in stock.
Practical Wireless   Under their previous owners (PW Publishing Ltd), Practical Wireless published my tribute to Gilbert Davey, and gave me permissions and much help in making available images of his pre-war articles.   The magazine is now owned by Warners Group.   Their online radio bookstore at handles subscriptions and orders for archived issues (back to 1965) on searchable CDs.
Maurice Woodhead's extensive site covers circuits, component data, restoration etc.   The details of the Teletron HAX coil pointed to the probable identity of my similar 50s-vintage one-valver coil.
UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Forum   Hundreds of discussion threads on all aspects of vintage radio and audio.   The BBC 1-valver! thread (to which this link leads) was one important inspiration for this project.
Lutterworth Press   Permissions to reproduce several Boy's Own Paper articles and book extracts.

Other sites for radio and tv - history, restoration, resources: Sites marked * have kindly added links to this site - my thanks go to their Webmasters.   British Vintage Wireless Society - events, auctions, resources, and a beautifully produced Bulletin for members.   The Society also caters for vintage television interests.   * The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum, West Dulwich, London.   Managed by the British Vintage Wireless Society (see above), the former home of Gerry Wells, obsessive collector and restorer of radios and TVs.   A must-see cornucopia of vintage nostalgia.   Open by appointment only - please phone in advance on 020 8670 3667.   Paul Stenning's archive of component and servicing data, vintage radio documents, and vintage technology books.   Currently raises an internet threat warning on my PC.   Lorne Clark's site, with good theory pages, and an excellent page on electrical safety.   * Mike Smith's vast eclectic radio technology and history resource, now archived.   Navigation now difficult, as linking between pages has not been preserved.   "Grandad" tells "Junior" about vintage technology - reel-to-reel tape recorders, radiograms, telephones with dials that you dial . . .   Beautifully written.   A charming French video showing the step-by-step manufacture of a triode valve in a "cottage-industry" way that makes you feel you could do it too!   No longer viewable with Internet Explorer - use another browser.   Richard Booth's repair service for vintage radios and amplifiers, "Junk Shop" for new and salvaged spares, and a growing resource of tuning dial images.   * Site belonging to Tony Thompson, author of Vintage Radios.   An ample resource for anyone interested in any aspect of vintage radio.   Tony made it known that he was going to archive his site, but it was off the air when last checked.   Martin Kempton’s excellent site with a wealth of information on current and past TV studios.   * Terry Guntrip's cornucopia of vintage tv entertainment, programmes and milestones, with many movies and audio clips.   Hours of fun!   Visit Terry's companion site for vintage radio entertainment memories, facts and clips.   Interview with Vera McKechnie recalling her early career including her time on the Studio ‘E’ programme.   No longer viewable with Internet Explorer - use another browser.   British Pathe's youtube archive of films on numerous topics - but search "wireless" for radio topics, or "cycle radio" for two cycle radios!   No longer viewable with Internet Explorer - use another browser.   Formerly the American Radio History site, a great resource for British radio enthusiasts.   Scans of issues of several British radio publications including Amateur Wireless, Modern Wireless, Popular Wireless, Practical Wireless, Radio Constructor and Wireless World.   This page leads to scans of books by several well-known British authors, including some of Davey's books, listed under "Gilbert Davy" (sic), and also to a scan of the BBC's own copy of the Focus transistor set leaflet (incomplete - the entire leaflet is available on this site with the permission of the BBC and other rights-holders).   Much of the material on the American Radio History site must still be in copyright (the BBC leaflet certainly is).   If the site owner (David) has obtained reproduction permission for those of his claimed five million pages still in copyright, this represents a considerable achievement. Early British, Australian and American radio publications.   Some overlap with the World Radio History site (above). British Heritage Television, the project to bring 405-line TV back, with authentic scheduling and content to reflect the Golden Age of television.

See also CONSTRUCTION RESOURCES page for links to component suppliers and other sources of useful information.

Sites relating to the
Boy's Own Paper:   Informative pages on Boy's Own Paper and Boy's Own Annual.   Phil Stevensen-Payne's "Galactic Central" site with extensive indexes of children's books, comics and magazines.   Steve Holland's site, British Juvenile Story Papers and Pocket Libraries index, operates as a satellite of "Galactic Central", and lists the contents of many editions of Boy's Own Paper.

Webmasters: If you would like to add mutual links, please let me know.   If you want to use the "Valve" logo (copyright ©) that heads each of these pages, don't use the transparent GIF image, which can look tatty on other colour backgrounds.   Ask me to send you my non-transparent JPG image.