By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Oct 22nd

Are there any left?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Graham Butcher21/08/2019 10:40:53
20 forum posts
3 photos

After having seen the recent Babini Press thread on here. I have been reading some old Practical Wireless and Practical Electronics magazines on there.

I was taken back to my youth with the number of advertisers for army surplus/ electrical bits and pieces suppliers there were then.

I can remember going to Tottenham court rd in London where nearly every shop sold stuff like that. I So the question is, are there any left?

Graham Butcher

John Haine21/08/2019 10:49:44
2669 forum posts
136 photos

Anchor supplies

I went there once - all kinds of stuff (more than now listed on their website) including under a tarpaulin out front a jet engine!


Edited By John Haine on 21/08/2019 10:53:30

ken king, King Design21/08/2019 11:27:36
131 forum posts
228 photos

'Government Surplus' was the generic title of all those goodies. Huge and often bewildering variety of stuff, excellent quality, and all at knock-down prices. Happy Days.


ken king, King Design21/08/2019 11:31:27
131 forum posts
228 photos

Sorry, didn't answer your question as I was caught up in reverie. No, I think it was all snapped up and tailed off quite quickly, at least the useful stuff, but who knows ...... lurking in a forgotten barn/cellar/storeroom ... one can still dream of discovering treasure.

Frances IoM21/08/2019 11:33:32
655 forum posts
24 photos
2 years ago walking up the hill to Lincoln Cathedral came across such a shop that took me back to the late 50s and early 60s with its collection of radio 'surplus' inc some that dated back then! I subsequently noted their adverts in one of the electronics mags but can't recall seeing them recently so maybe it has ceased
Nicholas Farr21/08/2019 12:37:59
1992 forum posts
950 photos

Hi Graham, I also used to go to Tottenham Court Rd. and rootle around in boxes for all sorts of electrical and electronics surplus and as you say at reasonable price. Proops used to have a shop down there on the left hand side when coming away from T C Rd. underground, there were a fair few of the same type of shops in some of the side streets off T C Rd. but you had to walk a little way to find them, it was way back in the late 60's early 70's when I used to go. Another place where you could get a lot of end of the line component left overs, was Henrys Radio in Edgware Road, they used to be one of my favourite shops back then as you could do mail order with them before Maplins was really up and running. As Ken says, I don't think there are many places that are quite the same now, I think we had their hay-day.

Regards Nick.

Dave Daniels21/08/2019 12:51:46
67 forum posts
Posted by Frances IoM on 21/08/2019 11:33:32:
2 years ago walking up the hill to Lincoln Cathedral came across such a shop that took me back to the late 50s and early 60s with its collection of radio 'surplus' inc some that dated back then! I subsequently noted their adverts in one of the electronics mags but can't recall seeing them recently so maybe it has ceased

Probably this chap: John Birkett.

Used to go there a lot in the 70's.


Robert Atkinson 221/08/2019 12:56:36
385 forum posts
21 photos


J Bull "" have long ceased trading. I heard a rumour that the owner was in jail but don't know for sure.

Anchor supplies are still going but are a shadow of their former self. Again I think someone involved was in trouble with the law.
The shop in Lincoln is J Burkett **LINK** Limited opening hours these days.
Government disposal has changed several times over the years with various contracts, auctions and tenders (direct or via agents) being used.
Most stuff ends up being available on ebay but there are a couple of direct dealers:


Witham Specialist Vehicles ltd


Most of the "surplus" electronics dealers (M&B Radio, Johns Radio etc) have shut their shops (gone on line), closed down, or greatly reduced their operations.

Unfortunately this means the days of a weekend trip trawling through stockrooms for hidden gems have long gone.

Robert G8RPI.

JA21/08/2019 14:19:27
793 forum posts
44 photos

I was once a Londoner and remember the shops and area (parts were dodgy).

Bassett Lowke had their shop at the west end of Holborn and I think Proops were next door. In the early 1960s the government disposal shops were split between Tottenham Court Road and Lisle/Little Newport Streets. The latter streets were infamous, the only businesses present were the disposal shops and brothels. The biggest building in Lisle Street was the London Hospital for Skin Diseases. By 1966, when I left London, the disposal shops had left Soho and later the Tottenham Court Road shops went into the HiFi market.

Occasionally I would return and by 1971 nothing was left.


Just a comment, the goods stuff like HRO receivers sold for a lot of money.

Edited By JA on 21/08/2019 14:23:17

Nicholas Farr21/08/2019 16:30:55
1992 forum posts
950 photos

Hi JA, I don't know if Proops had a shop in Holborn, as I never went there, but I did go into a Proops shop in T C Rd. and their current "About Us" page says they opened one there in 1946 **LINK**. If I remember correctly as you went in you went down a few steps and the ceiling seemed to be a little low.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 21/08/2019 16:32:47

Cornish Jack21/08/2019 17:55:33
944 forum posts
127 photos

Started S&R helo flying in '64.The nature of the work required that we used throat mics rather than the conventional type. The RAF, as usual, failed to organise a supply so, on joining we were told to go to a particular surplus shop in Soho to buy an ex Army tank crew throat mic. - 7 shillings and sixpence, refundable on production of the receipt!! This item was then given to the Safety Equipment section who removed the connector and attached an aircraft compatible one. From memory, it was about 18 months before we received the custom designed replacements.

"Yes, dear, I was in Soho on Government orders" embarrassed



JA21/08/2019 18:12:19
793 forum posts
44 photos

It is a long time ago and one’s memory can play tricks.

I think Proops were in Holborn in around 1963. They were not there in 1960 and had moved on by 1966. So had Bassick Lowke. By 1963 Proops had left the disposal market and was more like the business it is now.


Simon Williams 321/08/2019 20:37:52
415 forum posts
67 photos

Rolling back to John Haines' post above, Anchor Surplus had a nasty fire about two years ago. Are they back up and running again?

Rgds to all,


Robert Atkinson 221/08/2019 20:50:51
385 forum posts
21 photos

Anchor are still in business but a tiny store in Nottingham compared the old one. They had a "museum" collection which was lost in the fire. Their Ripley depot is still there.

Robert G8RPI

Simon Williams 321/08/2019 22:09:54
415 forum posts
67 photos

Thank you Robert, in a previous existence I passed through Nottingham maybe two or three times a month, and frequently stopped in to see what delights Anchor could tempt me with. These days I need to make a day of it to go there, so I'm pleased to hear they made it albeit on a survival kit regime.

Their museum was something to behold, and I'm sorry to hear it was lost. Such is life.

I was seriously tempted by the the jet engine (a Gnome if I remember right) but it was a bit (quite a bit) more money that I wanted to sink. Nevertheless, what an experiment!

Rgds to all


Robert Atkinson 222/08/2019 18:23:46
385 forum posts
21 photos

Well if you want a gasturbine engine try Everett

I like small turbines and had several some years ago but a change in curcumstances and job move means I don't have any at the moment.

Robert G8RPI.

Neil Wyatt22/08/2019 18:43:29
16662 forum posts
687 photos
75 articles

There was a good one in Morgan Arcade, Cardiff. I still have some of the boards I bought there to snarf parts off, around 1980.


Nicholas Farr23/08/2019 11:25:22
1992 forum posts
950 photos

Hi Neil, well I'll have some chips with my fish for tea tonight and I expect they'll taste better than what you get off your boards. teeth 2 Having said that, I'm still procuring odd bits from boards out of a couple of old Telex machine cabinets that I got for free somewhere back in the 90's.

Regards Nick.

Simon036223/08/2019 12:34:49
164 forum posts
58 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 22/08/2019 18:43:29:

There was a good one in Morgan Arcade, Cardiff. I still have some of the boards I bought there to snarf parts off, around 1980.


Guess you would remember John Hall tools as well -think it was Morgan Arcade but it might have been one of the others around there. A constant source of things in those days as well as their industrial place underneath one of the motorway (?) flyovers. My main source of materials was a model shop on the western outskirts of Cardiff that did ME stuff as well including ST D10 castings.

Interesting days...!

Nicholas Farr10/09/2019 08:45:13
1992 forum posts
950 photos

Hi, just for interest, I've just been browsing for something completely different when I came across this vintage ad.

Proops in Tottenham Court Road.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 10/09/2019 08:46:58

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
TRANSWAVE Converters
Eccentric Engineering
Eccentric July 5 2018
Meridienne; London MES
Allendale Electronics
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest