1928

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.

1929

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.

1932

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.

1942

War Time Spirit

With WW2 raging we decide against holding a  fundraising Xmas appeal and instead ask people to “be kind” to their neighbours.

1948

Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse dies

21st June 1948

Our founder Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse VC, KCVO, CBE dies.

1953

Lady Clementine Churchill raises money

This year’s appeal is made by Lady Clementine Churchill who raises an amazing £xxxx.

1960

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.

1974

NTN&M

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.

1980

Terry Wogan

Our radio appeals go from strength to strength with the late great Terry Wogan fronting one of our most successful appeals to date.

1983

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

1993

Internet radio

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.

2005

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.

2008

Sonata and Sonata + launches

BWBF moves to its new premises in Maidstone

And launches the Sonata and Sonata + internet devices.

2010

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.

2017

Bumblebee tablet

Following years in development our first ever smart tablet device, Bumblebee is unveiled.

2018

Opus DAB Digital Radio

2018 saw a new addition to the BWBF familiy with Opus. Our very first piece of equipment with Bluetooth capabilities.

Opus DAB/DAB+/FM RDS/Bluettoch portable digital radio

Opus DAB/DAB+/FM RDS/Bluettoch portable digital radio

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.90th birthday cake