I had a hunch that I was not the only
ageing baby-boomer who hoards junk -
and memories - for fifty years and more! WELCOME . . .
Gilbert Davey (1913 - 2011), the author on radio and electronics for young people, is remembered with affection and gratitude by several generations of enthusiasts to whom he opened up a rewarding hobby or a fulfilling career.   Having built up a huge post-war following among readers of the Boy's Own Paper, his popularity was boosted by his television broadcasts, and by his own books (the last published as recently as 1981).   Welcome to this growing resource for all who either remember building radio sets to his designs or would simply like to find out more.

(This page)
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!
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.
Latest news, links to other sites of interest,
and 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 (below right).

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Last updated on 12 JANUARY 2020

CONTACT ME:   If you would like to email me, please type the following into the "To:" line of your email app, replacing "(at)" with "@", "dot" with "." and omitting spaces:

les (at) daveysradios dot org dot uk

I look forward to hearing from you.
Les Franklin.

DISCLAIMER:   The site author is unqualified to offer advice on suitability of components, or failure to operate satisfactorily of any radio set or other equipment made to any design described or mentioned on this site.

Some of the equipment described or mentioned on this site may use or generate high voltages, both when powered and after being powered, or produce high temperatures.   Some designs use non-isolated power supplies, and are considered unsafe by modern standards.   Users of this site must satisfy themselves that they understand the risks of working on all such potentially hazardous equipment, that they understand the information given or referred to on this site, and that any such information upon which they rely is accurate.   If unsure they should seek the help of a qualified person.

Neither the site author nor any party connected with hosting or transmission of this site can accept responsibility for loss, damage, injury or death arising as a result of using information given or referred to on this site.   Usage of this site is deemed as acceptance of these terms in their entirety.

COPYRIGHT © L C Franklin, 2010-2020, or as stated.   No part of this site may be copied, reproduced or re-published in any way except for strictly personal, non-commercial purposes.   Users of this site agree not to adapt, alter or create a derivative work from its content.

Regarding non-commercial republishing of material from this site (e.g. on another non-commercial web site), the site author will be pleased to consider requests for permission to reproduce material of which he is the sole owner (e.g. his own photographs, diagrams or text).   However he has no right to grant permission to reproduce material that appears on this site by permission of other rights holders, whether companies, corporate bodies or individuals.   Such requests should be addressed to the original rights holders.   No details of or links to the site, or files, abstracts, downloads or printouts from it may be passed on by way of trade or in exchange for a fee.   Please also see
this item on News Archive page.


On this site, Studio ‘E’ and Focus refer to the BBC children’s television programmes of the late 1950s.   The present ownership of these names is acknowledged.   The ownership of all other trade marks or trading names mentioned on this site is also acknowledged.

Every effort has been made to secure appropriate permissions for reproducing copyright material such as images, circuits, illustrations and quotations.   Those granting such permissions have been credited where possible alongside each source in the belief that they were qualified to do so.   If credit has been accorded incorrectly, or where it has proved impossible to establish rights conclusively, those concerned are asked to accept the site author's apologies and contact him.

WIKIPEDIA - Articles referencing this site or its predecessor have appeared on the Wikipedia site.   To protect my interests, I have registered as Friskanellin at Wikipedia.

COMMENTS - The site author welcomes constructive comments about the site itself, information about any Davey designs, or radio sets built to those designs whether recently or long ago.   He assumes that anyone sending general comments or reminiscences is agreeable to their use on this site; however he will seek explicit permission to reproduce such items as photographs, circuits and descriptions of sets.

PRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION - Recent UK legislation (GDPR) imposes new obligations on companies who store and process individuals' data.   In particular, it gives individuals the right to have their data erased or opt out of receiving unwanted messages.   Although the legislation does not apply to people processing others' personal data for their personal or household purposes, I am asking all existing correspondents (UK and worldwide) to tell me whether or not they wish to continue to receive my email updates.   New correspondents will also be asked after they contact me.

This web site has no facilities for collecting data from visitors, and does not use cookies.

British Vintage Wireless Society web site
This site has its origins in 2009, when I started researching Gilbert Davey's radio writing.   This began when I found most of the parts from a simple one-valve radio set built for me by my father way back in 1957.   It had been built to a design presented by Davey on a BBC children's television magazine programme called Studio ‘E’ - a precursor to Blue Peter.   I wanted to rebuild it!   Problem was - I had long ago thrown away the leaflet that was published for the series.

Gilbert Davey in 1981
    Gilbert Davey in 1981: detail from a photo
    taken to mark the publication of his last book.

    Copyright © Peterborough Evening Telegraph/
    Johnston Press plc; reproduced by kind permission.
    Prepared from a British Library image,
    copyright © British Library Board:
    Shelfmark 3837-44 (1981) NPL.
    With acknowledgments to Claire Davey.

I had a hunch that I was not the only ageing baby-boomer who hoards junk - and memories - for fifty years and more!   I guessed that there were many more one-time Davey fans out there, who might now have the time to indulge in a little old-fogeydom by remembering the pleasures - or perhaps the pains - that the hobby had brought them long ago.   I found a discussion forum thread where several contributors bemoaned the loss of the same leaflet.

I built a "conjectural" reconstruction of the one-valver, using the original components I had kept, with new parts where necessary.   In March 2010, I launched this web site (originally titled The Studio ‘E’ One-Valve Radio), which described the planning and building of this set, and threw down a challenge: "Is this right?   If it isn't, prove it by coming up with the leaflet!".

It took 14 months for the right person (Doug Brown) to visit the site and send me scans of his Studio ‘E’ leaflet.   With his permission and that of the BBC, I was able to make the long-lost leaflet available once more to the many enthusiasts who remembered this famous design, although the satisfaction of the achievement was tinged with sadness as it came only a few days after I had received news of Gilbert Davey's death in April 2011.   The rediscovery of this famous Davey design realised my initial aim in setting up the site.

But my long-term aim was, and is, to expand the site into a wider resource for Davey devotees.   In March 2012 it was re-launched with a new structure better suited for this expansion.   Much new material has been added, notably to the DAVEY SOURCE PAGES >, where all listings have been expanded and (early 2015) a new page covering Davey's forgotten pre-war writing has been added.   But more remains to be done!

To find out what's on the site, use the navigation buttons on the left, or go to the Site Map below.   Look out for new items, flagged throughout the text (these flags are removed at the subsequent update to give way to new ones).   Important additions are also listed at the top of the NEWS AND LINKS > page.   When re-visiting, make sure to refresh each page.

Before I launched my site, there was little on the internet about Gilbert Davey or his radio designs.   This site - and its earlier incarnation - have begun to put that right.   I am proud of the praise received both for its presentation and authority of content.   Just as important, my hunch was right!   I have received dozens of messages from site visitors, describing in the most vivid terms - despite the passing decades - how Gilbert Davey's work served in one way or another to launch them on their radio hobbies or careers.

I am grateful to the British Library for their research resources and for permission to reproduce images, and to the rights-holding individuals, publishers and organisations (named throughout) for permissions to reproduce their material.   Special thanks are due to the family and friends of Gilbert Davey himself for their support.   I am grateful too for the many contributions of every sort received from site visitors.   Hugh Castellan deserves particular mention for his outstanding contributions.

Whether you know Gilbert Davey's name and reputation or not, I hope you enjoy this site.   If you do enjoy it, please let me know, and please pass on my URL to anyone you think might find something of interest too.
Les Franklin.

Site Map
All other pages on the site are listed below.

GILBERT DAVEY – A sketch of the man who introduced radio construction to several generations of boys, many of whom became radio or communications professionals.

THE BEGINNER'S 1-VALVER - The evolution of this famous long-lived design illustrates how Davey responded to changing needs.

THE BBC SETS > - The Studio ‘E’ 1-valver and the Focus Transistor Set: downloads for these famous designs, and lots more:-
My Original Studio ‘E’ Set - Undiluted nostalgia - memories of my original Studio ‘E’ 1-valve set.
My Rebuilt Studio ‘E’ Set - Details and pictures of my Studio ‘E’ set, now rebuilt (for the second time!) largely according to the leaflet.
The Studio ‘E’ Leaflet - This famous 1957 leaflet was lost for years, but downloads are now available here - please read the copyright and usage notes on that page, and the copyright notice on this page.   Comments on the leaflet and on the design itself.
The Studio ‘E’ Scripts - Extracts from the scripts preserved by Gilbert Davey himself since the one-valver series was broadcast in 1957.
Studio ‘E’ under fire! - A newly discovered series of letters from the prestigious pages of Wireless World in which Davey defends the Studio ‘E’ set's regenerative design against fears of a National Interference Crisis.   These letters throw much light on Davey's approach to designing and writing for young constructors, and include a delightful evocation of the “magic” of the radio hobby by a third party coming to Davey's defence.
The Focus Transistor Set - This series raised almost as much interest as the earlier one-valver series.   Downloads of the leaflet for this early Davey transistor design - please read the copyright and usage notes on that page, and the copyright notice on this page.   Some stories by those who remember the series.   Notes on the leaflet and the design.
My Focus Set - My recently built version of this simple set.

DAVEY SOURCE PAGES > - A growing resource for those who built Davey designs years ago, or who simply wish to know more about them:-
Pre-War Writing - A developing resource detailing Davey's forgotten pre-war articles for Practical Wireless and other journals.   Includes downloads for seven of Davey's pre-war PW articles - please read the copyright and usage notes on that page, and the copyright notice on this page..
The Boy's Own Paper - Complete listing of designs and articles for BOP, which won Davey a huge following among its readers.
BOP Offshoot Publications - Gilbert Davey's articles in the compendium books produced by BOP's Editor, Jack Cox.
Fun with Radio - Davey's most well-known book, which ran to six editions.
Other "Fun with . . ." Books - The other titles introduced young constructors to every aspect of the radio and electronics hobby.

YOUR DAVEY SETS - Davey designs built by contributors to this site:
Hugh Castellan's sets - Hugh has built four early Davey designs from the Boy's Own Paper, including two that could have been lost but for his efforts.   Downloads with full details of these two "lost" designs, the Holiday Radio and the Simple Three-valve Radio, including the original BOP articles, are now available on this page - please read the copyright and usage notes on that page, and the copyright notice on this page.
Hugh has also constructed a Studio ‘E’ one-valver according to the leaflet - compare his set with my new rebuild!   All Hugh's sets are well researched, beautifully made, and are a splendid contribution to this site.
Sets by other builders - A one-valver built by a radio construction newbie who was thrilled at the result, a splendid shortwave two-valver, two more one-valvers, a simple transistor set, and two silicon-chip-based receivers.
That's twelve sets at the last count.   I look forward to receiving details and pictures of YOUR Davey set!

CONSTRUCTION RESOURCES - Details of two home-made coils to use in place of the all-too-scarce commercial types.   One of these is published here as a download (from Boy's Own Paper material) for a versatile Davey two-band design - please read the copyright and usage notes on that page, and the copyright notice on this page.
A list of suppliers for other components, and other sources of useful information.

NEWS AND LINKS > - Latest news, links to other sites of interest, and:-
News Archive - News items more than one year old.