Historic recordings

The HMV Mobile Recording van

The recording equipment used by HMV, Columbia and Parlophone was all Western Electric and, in essence, identical. Engineers went to the USA in 1925 to familiarise themselves with it. The microphone used was a condenser (or capacitance microphone) mounted on a wooden box with the essential amplifier inside, protected from vibration as much as possible. This was a superb instrument in spite of its bulk.  

​Some writers have tried to say that the van sent the sound by wire to London. This not so.

 All HMV 'outside the studio' records were allocated BR/CR matrix numbers from October 1925 and the series ran to CR999 which was the closing side of the prelude to Dream of Gerontius at the Royal Albert Hall on 26/2/27.
Thereafter 1000 to 1199 was allocated in advance to the Mobile Unit and waxes were cut in the newly-commissioned van using this sequence. Other 'remote' records made by  'phone relay, via the GERRARD telephone exchange for all London recordings continued from BR/CR1200.  

Outside Hereford Cathedral in 1927
click photo to enlarge

The van had its clerestory roof damaged by a low bridge on its first outing and I surmise was off-duty for repairs for a while.

Similar records by Columbia were normally relayed to the Petty France HQ and once the lease had lapsed on Gloucester House HMV relayed the sound to the Small Queens  Hall 'D' Studio unless they were using the van.
This information kindly supplied by Colin Charnley
Photos of Mobile Recording van and its interior : Click on any photo to enlarge.

Manufacturing and recording a 78rpm record

RCA Victor
1946  (sound)
This documentary filmed at RCA Victor shows the manufacturing process

Pathe Newsreel
1918-1924  (silent)
A Pathe newsreel on the making of a gramophone record

Columbia Graphophone Company
1928  (silent)
A behind-the-scenes documentary 

'His Masters's Voice'
1936  (silent)
A tour of the EMI factory in Hayes filmed on 16mm

'His Masters's Voice'
1920s  (silent)
A tour of the EMI factory in this amature home movie on 16mm film

Acoustic recording
This superb reconstruction shows how singers and performers were recorded in the early days of Acoustic recordings by the recording horn.  Microphones not invented yet!

The record shops

'His Master's Voice'
Oxford Street Store
Once recorded and pressed, the records then we off for sale.  This is a fascinating history of  HMV's flagship store during the 1920s and 1930s.

HMV Oxford Street
Opened in 1921 by Sir Edward Elgar
Click to open photo

The worlds oldest record shop
​Spiller's in Cardiff opened in 1894 and still going strong!
Click to open photo

100 Years of Recorded Church Music

​​Join me in a journey through a century of recorded church music with the latest revised video presentation, written and narrated by myself.  

Using my original narration, the presentation has been completely re-designed with additional photographs and musical examples, many of which now play in their entirety, rather than short extracts. 

This new video is presented in Wide Screen HD for pin sharp clarity and designed to be watched in 'Full Screen' for optimum viewing.

"A masterpiece ..... a triumph ....totally engrossing ....a tour de force ....the most enjoyable hour I have spend in a very long time ....I could barely tear myself away" Comments by viewers
Click for Archive Film Footage