|Advert for Radio Rentals, 1961|
The year is 1961 and the age of mass television viewing is just over a decade old. But in that time the number of families owning or renting a set has increased dramatically and the number of channels has doubled with our own Granada TV beginning transmission in 1956.
And in the five years since Granada had begun broadcasting it established itself as one of the most important television companies with a fine range of drama and documentaries.
This of course was helped by its huge audience which covered Lancashire ib the West and the East Ridings of Yorkshire, including the major conurbations around Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Doncaster.
"...the North is a closely knit, indigenous, industrial society; a homogeneous cultural group with a good record for music, theatre, literature and newspapers, not found elsewhere in this island, except perhaps in Scotland.
Compare this with London and its suburbs--full of displaced persons.
And, of course, if you look at a map of the concentration of population in the North and a rainfall map, you will see that the North is an ideal place for television".*
|Radio Rentals on Barlow Moor Road, 1959|
At XLENTS its double fronted shop was packed with washing machines radios and televisions and the painted sign on the window urged people to Buy! Buy! Buy! for just £3 deposit, and 11/’ a week.
This may have been at the cutting edge of mass entertainment but the sign advertising the offers was hand written with that white wash which butchers, green grocers and hardware stores used to advertise their instant offers.
So not quite the bright new technological future.
|XLENT Electricals, Wilbraham Road, 1959|
This had not been lost on the Bernstein Brothers who launched Granada and according to one source did so because they believed it would not affect the company's largely southern-based cinema chain.
It may seem odd that people rented TVs but so so really. They were even in the early 1970s expensive to buy, and the option of renting also covered repairs and the option of newer models when they came along.
Now I think Radio Rentals became Visionhire which may have been a change of name or a take over but I remember renting from them at 489 Barlow Moor Road sometime in the early 1980s.
* Quoted from an article by Tony Pearson, BERNSTEIN, SIDNEY, British Media Executive from The Museum of Broadcast Communications, http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/B/htmlB/bernsteinsi/bersteinsi.htm