Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,470 pages of information and 233,895 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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The company was established by Fred Dawes, as a chain of television and radio rental shops, in the 1950s. The business was initially named Fred Dawes. All ninety of the Fred Dawes High Street stores became electrical retailers instead.

1969 Fred Dawes sold to Thorn Electrical Industries with their rentals business transferring to Radio Rentals.

1971 Thorn acquired an Essex and Hertfordshire group of shops called Sydney Rumbelow's, and Fred Dawes stores were renamed Rumbelows.

Several other regional chains were bought around this time, including two chains that were already large and popular in North West England, NEMS and Strothers. As with Fred Dawes, these stores too were renamed Rumbelows.

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