British Wireless for the Blind Fund was set up in 1928
British Wireless for the Blind Fund was set up in 1928 by Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse VC, KCVO, CBE, a blinded Boer War veteran. After serving in the First World War as a staff officer working with the wounded in hospitals in France, he turned his energies to the service of the blind community.
BWBF was permitted to broadcast on Christmas day 1929
Many charities used the radio as a medium to broadcast appeals but only BWBF was permitted to broadcast on Christmas Day, beginning in 1929 with an appeal by Winston Churchill. By 1931, £37,000 had been raised and 17,000 radio sets provided to blind listeners through the fund.
King George V talks about the importance of radios for the blind.
HM King George V delivers his first ever recorded message to the Empire and talks about the importance of radio for the blind. He presents a signed etched 78 vinyl copy to our founder Sir Ernest.
War Time Spirit
With WW2 raging we decide against holding a fundraising Xmas appeal and instead ask people to “be kind” to their neighbours.
Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse dies
21st June 1948
Our founder Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse VC, KCVO, CBE dies.
Lady Clementine Churchill raises money
This year’s appeal is made by Lady Clementine Churchill.
Pirate radio pioneers
The UK radio industry owes an awful lot to the pirate radio pioneers of the 1960’s sitting in rusty ships and forts off the coast of the UK – They changed the face of broadcasting.
National Talking News & Magazines (NTN&M) was established in 1974 as a membership network of individual, local “talking newspapers”, projects to individually transcribe local and national newspapers and magazines into audio format.
Our radio appeals go from strength to strength with the late great Terry Wogan fronting one of our most successful appeals to date.
The first player with a cassette deck
The 80s also saw the introduction of our first player with a cassette deck. The RSR50 was issued in 1983 and discontinued in October 1988
Internet radio was pioneered by Carl Malamud. In 1993, Malamud launched “Internet Talk Radio”, which was the “first computer-radio talk show,. In November 1994, a Rolling Stones concert was the “first major cyberspace multicast concert.
Radio on your phone
The way the world was able to access radio and music changed dramatically with the release of the Motorola Rokr phones. Notable for incorporating support of media player features.
Sonata and Sonata + launches
BWBF moves to its new premises in Maidstone
And launches the Sonata and Sonata + internet devices.
Concerto 2 & Duet 2
The Concerto 2 complete with DAB/FM radio, CD, tape, USB and SD slot joins the family along with the Duet 2.
Following years in development our first ever smart tablet device, Bumblebee is unveiled.
Opus DAB Digital Radio
2018 saw a new addition to the BWBF familiy with Opus. Our very first piece of equipment with Bluetooth capabilities.
Happy 90th Birthday
We celebrated our 90th birthday with a fantastic event at our Maidstone office. We also renamed our office Beachcroft House to honour our founder Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse.