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Over 80 years ago, the innovative Harry Roberts and Leslie Bidmead began making portable radios from a small shop in London, initially producing just three a week. They had a simple philosophy: never compromise on quality and keep pushing the boundaries. The company has stuck to this ever since and is now the UK leader in portable radios.
When Harry Roberts founded the Roberts Radio Company in 1932, Leslie Bidmead sold his motorbike to pay for their small factory. Initially, production was modest but their expertise and a loyal and skilled workforce quickly established them a reputation for high quality products.
Our first radios
Early Roberts receivers were mostly in the traditional “suitcase” format, with loudspeaker and frame aerial in the lid. This was well-suited to the moving-iron loudspeakers commonly used in the early 1930s. When war broke out in 1939, radio production continued until the supply of valves for domestic radio production ran out.
In 1956 the original ‘Revival’ R66 was created by Harry Roberts and was inspired by the design of a handbag owned by his wife. Later this product evolved into the R200 and nobody at the company could have predicted that a British design icon had been born.
In 1961, Roberts produced a one-off solid gold-cased Revival radio. It appeared in papers all over the world and was famously stolen from a department store, never to be found. In 1990, the Revival was re-launched in eye-catching red after a chance appearance in a Martini advert led to high demand.
In recent years the range of Revival colours has been adjusted to reflect changing fashions and have been joined by a number of ‘Limited Editions’. These include a series of Cath Kidston florals, a Union Jack Flag design for the London 2012 Olympics, and a Royal Gloss Burgundy Revival to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.
We’ve pushed the boundaries in technological advancement, and have coupled this with the latest styles and fashions to continuously create something truly unique.
Roberts is loved around the world and holds the kind of accolades rivals can only dream about. We’re very proud to have been granted two Royal Warrants as manufacturers and suppliers of radio receivers to Her Majesty The Queen and HRH the Price of Wales, which we’ve been awarded with since 1955 and 1985 respectively.
This means that the Queen and her family have enjoyed Roberts radios at Buckingham Palace for over 60 years! From Harry Roberts starting a tiny radio shop in London, through to our appointment as a supplier to the Queen, our undying dedication to R&D has remained the focal part of our company.