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Clarke and Smith



Clarke and Smith CTR4

The Clarke & Smith STR4 Schools tape recorder from around 1959 this version uses the Wearite series 4 deck.

Two versions of the company badges used throughout the 1950s and 1960s on the various equipments produced.

Clarke and Smith GTR5

The Clarke and Smith GTR5 from around 1957 this recorder used the Truvox deck.

Clarke and Smith GP7

The Clarke and Smith GP7 schools record player. This series featured a modular pull out amplifier with different amp wattages. Another version was known as the GP3. Different decks were also used and the series was long lived. This particular example dates from the early 1960s





Clarke and Smith

A short history of a rather remarkable firm.............

In the UK, the thriving educational equipment market was dominated in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s by Clarke and Smith.This was no coincidence as the company manufactured high quality Radio, Amplifiers, Tape Recorders and even Television Receivers. They the were preferred manufacturers to a number of educational authorities including, the ILEA, LCC and GLC (All long since abolished). The story of how the company broke into this rather specialised market is told here. However they were not the first, Sound Sales and RGD for instance offered an AM tuner amplifier for "Schools and Factories" In later years, though companies such as Goodsell and Coomber vied for similar markets but were not quite as successful nor was the quality quite the same. Clarke and Smith are best remembered for their high quality, rugged designs (needed in hostile school classroom environments), beautifully wired chassis and very distinctive and sturdy oak cabinets.

Major JFE Clarke Alec Smith

Major J.F.E Clarke

Alec Smith

The Company started life in 1946 when two former army colleagues, Major John Clarke and Alec Smith joined forces after they were demobbed at the end of WW2 from REME. The fledgling firm started life in a large corrugated tin hut on a site next to Wallington railway station in Surrey. The firm survived by repairing wireless sets and other equipment and by chance found out that Kent County Council had issued a tender to supply them with a number of items of equipment. With-in a very short space of time samples were submitted and the companys' first contract was won. Later C&S were involved in important work designing and manufacturing equipment for the blind. This culminated in the "talking book" machine that used a most unusual tape cartridge containing half inch tape and replay deck (Both the cartridge, tape transport and tape duplicating equipment was of C&S manufacture). In addition to these developments they designed and supplied to the Police, radio communications systems, and supplied various schools and hospitals with complete P.A systems. Over the years the company saw fairly rapid expansion and a purpose built self contained manufacturing facility was built and opened in the 1950s. By the early 1960s Clarke and Smith were manufacturing high quality Hi-Fi equipment for EMI of Hayes under contract. Other notable achievements were the C&S 634 "all transistor" tape recorder, a UKs first. Alec Smith died unexpectedly in 1972 leaving Major Clarke to take the firm forward. The company went on to develop a Braille computer system and a language laboratory based around the Tapete cassette.

Clarke and Smith Wallington Factory

The main Clarke and Smith factory (Melbourne House) at Wallington in Surrey. The original building was designed by Clarke and Smith themselves, originally only four stories high as seen here, an additional floor was added later. The entire building was constructed by three of Clarke and Smiths' tradesmen and created quite a lot of interest at the time. The extension to the original block was added at a later date, probably during the early 1960s.

You can download my complete 22 page article that was published in the BVWS Xmas 2008 Bulletin as a PDF file. Clarke and Smith

Clarke and Smith SB4

Clarke and Smith SB4 AM only receiver amplifier from the early 1950s. This equipment could deliver 4 watts and drive two loudspeakers. A socket was also provided for a pick up and the tuner was of the preset, switched type.