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John Bowers and Roy Wilkins served together in the army during the Second World War. They were in the Royal Corps of Signals and met when they were posted in Germany.

They discovered a common interest in radio and decided between them that when the war was over, they would set up a shop to supply components for amateur radio enthusiasts.

The business soon expanded to include television as well as radio and Peter Robinson (Robbie) joined the company. Rentals became a large part of the business and a service department was established to support this extra business, run by a new recruit, Peter Hayward.

Ken Butler and Gerald Salter joined the company as apprentice engineers

By 1962 the shop also boasted one of the largest selections of classical records outside London, and a Hi-Fi demonstration room was established.

Almost from the start Bowers and Wilkins became involved in the supply of public address equipment to schools and churches throughout Sussex, with the result that John Bowers began to devote more and more of his time to the study, design and assembly of loudspeakers.

His designs soon gained a reputation for quality and before long a small production line was established in workshops behind the shop.

Eventually, he decided to take the plunge and in 1966 turned what had begun as a hobbyist sideline into a separate business - B&W Loudspeakers Ltd, at the same time relinquishing his involvement in the shop.

With Bowers' departure, Peter Robinson became a Director of the shop and the business continued to expand rapidly during the Hi-Fi boom of the sixties and seventies.

When Roy Wilkins retired in the late eighties, his son Paul became involved in the business. Paul had worked with John Bowers at B&W Loudspeakers since 1969, but gradually took on more responsibility for the shop and eventually left B&W in 1997 to concentrate solely on the retail business.

Jim Johnstone, who had been a service engineer with the company for many years was appointed as the shop manager. The shop was re-fitted and modernized and the demonstration rooms re-vamped and extended.

Today, the shop specialises in Hi-Fi Systems and separates, 4K Television, DVD and Home Cinema and is also concentrating on multi-room custom products

There have been many changes since those early pioneering days, but the business continues to succeed because of the commitment of its staff to the long-established ideals of providing friendly, helpful advice and a first-class service.

Jim and Gerald still form the mainstay of this unique family business, together with Jonathan Chapman on the sales team and Steve Pawson in the service department, Brian Kelsey and Ross Lowndes providing installation and service back up

Worthing, West Sussex BN13 1QA 01903 264141

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