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 1990s. Visitors welcome Tue-Sun, 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) from 1000-1600. Tel 07778837263. NB visitors must bring a photo ID (passport, photo driving licence etc) and book in at the Guardroom on arrival. See web site for further details. RAF Signals Museum.
- National Vintage Communications Fair (NVCF) is 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).
- Internal Fire - Museum of Power at Castell Pridd, Tanygroes CF43 2JS. Collections include a radio room and telephone gallery. The radio room has an extensive collection of valves from the John Lawrence Valve Collection. Open 1030-1700 Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays. Internal Fire-Museum of Power web site
- On The Air Ltd vintage radio shop, The Highway, Hawarden, Chester CH5 3DN. Also publishes Airwaves vintage radio magazine. Tel 01244 530300.
On The Air
- Jodrell Bank near Holmes Chapel, SK11 9DL (off the A535). Science centre, planetarium, arboretum. Famous for the output of its Lovell radio-telescope project set up in 1974 to scan space. The visitor centre is open daily from 1000-1700. Tel 01477 571766.
- 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 1000-1700, Wed-Sun 1000-1600 during winter. 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. The museum houses historic telegraph equipment in former secret wartime underground tunnels. Open 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. Visitor centre has been closed since 2014. Goonhilly
- The Wireless Works at Bugle, near St Austell sells restored valve radios. Tel 01726 852200. See web site for details of availability. The Wireless Works
- Wireless in Wales museum celebrates the contribution of Wales to the evolution of radio technology and broadcasting. The museum 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 except Bank Holidays and some Saturdays in August. Other times by appointment. Email info[at]wirelessinwales.org.uk. Wireless in Wales
- Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain is under construction in Derby. The museum will focus on all aspects of radio communication. Hopes to open in 2018, initially by appointment. Address: 16 Sawley Park, Nottingham Road, Derby DE21 6AS. Tel 01332 224122. Radio Communication Museum
- 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.
- New and second hand radios are on sale at the Shortwave Shop at Zeacombe House Caravan Park, Blackerton Cross, East Anstey, Tiverton EX16 9JU. Open Mon-Fri 0900-1730. Tel 01202 490099. Shortwave Shop
- 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 revival 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 has now closed.
- Southend's Central Museum in Victoria Avenue (A127 next to Southend Library), 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 212345. 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 at Chelmsford Science & Industry Museum, Sandford Mill, Chelmer Village, Chelmsford CM2 6NY Tel 01245 605700 or email sandfordmill[at]chelmsford.gov.uk Sandford Mill
- Chelmsford Museum at Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, CM2 9AQ has a "Bright Sparks" exhibition which includes some Marconi equipment. Open Mon-Sat 1000-1700. Sun 1300-1600 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 emergency 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, military and domestic electronics; including the extensive collection of the late Harry Matthews. Open late May to mid September on Wednesdays and Saturdays 1100-1600. Tel/email for other times. Tel 01592 874836. Email: enquiries [at] mocft.co.uk Museum of Communications
- HMS Collingwood Heritage Collection of Naval Radar and Radio Equipments is at HMS Collingwood, Newgate Lane, Fareham PO14 1AS. The museum is located inside the Royal Navy's training establishment HMS Collingwood. It contains displays on radar, communications transmitters and receivers, navigation equipment, captured enemy equipment and more. Visits are by appointment only. To make an appointment phone the curator Lt Cdr C.J.C. Kidd R.N.[Rtd] on 01329 843929 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. Collingwood Heritage Collection
- Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio Howth, Co Dublin. Located in Martello Tower North No 2 overlooking the 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 Apr-Sep 0930-1700, Oct-Mar 1000-1600. Tel +353 (0)23 4305022 Cork Radio Museum
- Listowel Vintage Wireless Museum, 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.
Isle of Wight
- 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).
- The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD has a new Information Age gallery on the second floor which covers more than 200 years of communication and information technologies. Exhibits include broadcast radio and TV, amateur radio, telecoms and the original 1920s BBC 2LO tranmsmitter. An older display on The Secret Life of the Home in the museum's Basement is also worth visiting. It includes many radios, TVs and other domestic appliances through the ages. Open daily 1000-1830. Free admission. Tel: 0333 241 4000 (020 7942 4000). Science Museum
- British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum West Dulwich, London. Former home of Gerry Wells. The museum hosts an extensive collection of vintage domestic radios and TVs. NOTE Visitors are welcome but the museum is only open by appointment. To arrange a visit phone 020 8670 3667. Free admission. Web site see BVWTM
- Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising has moved to new, larger premises at 111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill W11 1QT. It includes a number of radios and TVs through the ages in its display cases, along with nostalgic packaging and other ephemera from the Robert Opie collection. Open Mon-Sat 1000-1800, Sunday 1100-1700. Tel 020 7243 9611. Museum of Brands web site
- The Design Museum is based in the renovated former Commonwealth Institute building at 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AW. Radios and televisions are well represented amongst the displays. The core collection on the second floor is free to visit but other galleries have an entrance fee. Open Daily 1000-1800. Design Museum
- Museum of Science & Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester M3 4FP has radio and TV displays in its Connecting Manchester gallery in the 1830 Warehouse; there are also some radio and TVs in the Collections Centre on the ground floor of the Great Western Warehouse. Open daily 1000-1700. Free admission. Tel 0161 832 2244. MSI web site
- 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. Open April to September on Tues, Weds, Thurs, Saturdays and Bank Holidays, 1100-1600 Tel: 01692-631485.RAF Air Defence Radar Museum
- The Radio Hut at Muckleborough closed in 2013. The collection is in storage while a new home is sought for it. North Norfolk Amateur Radio Group
- Grey Point Fort at Fort Road, Helenís Bay, Crawfordsburn BT19 1LD is a World War I Battery that has been restored by Grey Point Fort ARS and has both a military and radio museum as well as a permanent station. Open most weekends in summer from 1000-1600. Tel 02891 852731. See Grey Point Fort
- Northern Ireland's Secret Bunker off Derrylettiff Rd, Portadown near Craigavon is a restored cold war bunker that is open to the public and runs tours. It has had the original radio and telephone systems restored. See web site for details or contact info [at] nibunker.co.uk for opening dates.NI Secret Bunker
- Ulster Aviation Society at the former WWII airfield at Long Kesh on the Halftown Road near Lisburn has a museum and working radio station on site. Although the site and hangar are not open to casual visitors prearranged group visits can be arranged. See web site for details.Ulster Aviation Society
- Nottingham Industrial Museum, is located in the 17th century 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 from April to early October, Mon-Sat 1000-1630, Sun 1430-1630. Tel: 01856 871400. Orkney Wireless Museum
- History of Science Museum, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3AZ, houses a collection of early scientific instruments. The telecommunications gallery has some historic apparatus used by Marconi and early domestic receivers. Open Tuesday to Sunday 1200-1700. Admission free. Tel: 01865 277293. History of Science Museum
- Pembrokeshire Motor Museum closed in 2015.
- 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 daily 1000-1700 in summer, check web site for winter opening times. Tel: 01984 632133. Bakelite Museum
- Montacute TV Radio Toy 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. Check web site or phone for opening times. Tel: 01935 823024. Montacute Museum
- Washford Radio Museum is being relocated during 2018 to the former Anchor Inn at 5 Anchor Street, Washford, TA23 0AZ. The museum houses items of early BBC equipment from the Washford Transmitting Station along with a collection of radios, televisions and related artefacts. Call 07544 620 621 or check web site for opening details. Washford Radio Museum
- Sounds of the Past, Old Chapel, The Street, Monks Eleigh, IP7 7AU 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 from 1000-1630 with entry by donation to charity. Also open by appointmenet tel Paul Goodchild 01787 372478.
- 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 March to end of October Wednesday to Sunday; daily during late July and August, from 1000-1700. Tel 01798 831370. Entry is expensive. Amberley Museum
- Yesterday's World in Battle High Street closed in November 2015.
- 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 Easter to early November. 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 Tue-Sat 1000-1600(1000-1700 in Summer), Sun 1200-1600(1200-1700 in summer). Tel 01424 451052
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery.
- Newhaven Fort Museum houses a collection of vintage amateur radio equipment from the late Cyril Fairchild G3YY. The museum is open daily from mid February to end October 1000-1700 . Tel 01273 517622. Newhaven Fort
- Seaford Museum The Esplanade, Seaford BN25 1JH 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 1100-1600(1400-1600 in winter) and also in summer on Saturdays and Wednesdays 1400-1600. 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, 22 Victoria Square, Droitwich WR9 8DS. Open Mon-Fri 1000-1600, Sat 1000-1330 (closed Sundays). Tel 01905 774312
Droitwich Spa Information Centre
- Military Wireless Museum in Kidderminster is home to a collection of over 700 military radios from around the world including Japanese, German and French sets. The museum is open to individual visitors and groups by appointment, contact details email: email@example.com telephone: 01562 743253
Military Wireless Museum
- National Science & Media Museum, Pictureville, Bradford BD1 1NQ covers film, television, radio, the web and photography. Has good displays of old TV cameras and receivers. Open Daily 1000-1800. Tel: 0844 856 3797. Science & Media Museum
- Y Station Museum opened in 2016 at GCHQ Scarborough. Details of public access not known.
Vintage Radio Publications
- The British Vintage Wireless Society publishes an excellent quarterly Bulletin for members. BVWS.
- Radio Bygones has been incorporated into The Radiophile, see below.
- The Radiophile, edited by Chas Miller; four issues £25 from Radiophile Publications, "Larkhill", Newport Road, Woodseaves, Stafford, ST20 ONP. The Radiophile.
- Airwaves, published by On The Air, The Highway, Hawarden, Chester, CH5 3DN (sae for sample). Tel/fax 01244 530300. Airwaves.
Updated: 26 Jan 2019