Cool Britannia | Standing Up For British Businesses

I just bought a new hi-fi.

  • Bowers & Wilkins 695 speakers
  • Cambridge Audio 650A amplifier
  • QED Evolution speaker cables
  • Music Fidelity V-DAC

The trend? All British manufactured. In fact, the experience reminded me that the entire audiophile industry is dominated by British brands. Off the top of my head I can add Rotel, Wharfedale, Arcam, Tannoy, Cyrus, Q Acoustics, Crane Audio, Quad,  AE, Beauhorn, Roksan, Mordaunt-Short, ATC, Castle, Leema, Neat, Meridian, Harbeth, REL, Atlas, Chord, Spendor, Kef, Mission, Naim, and Rega.

The best DAB radios are made by Roberts in South Yorkshire. There are lone wolves, such as Stanley Beresford who designs and hand-builds the world’s finest DACs and valve-amp master-craftsman Glenn Croft.

And there’s the mothership, Linn Audio. Founded in 1972 by Glaswegian Ivor Tiefenbrun, Linn is to hifi what the Mir space station is to camping. A set of Linn Komri speakers costs £32,750. A Linn Sondek vinyl record player costs £2,300. The ultimate.

All these audio firms are independent. And whilst most outsource construction to China, all the R&D and design is done right here in Blighty.

British Business

The relevance? We are about to enter an election with the economy as the number one issue. And I can guarantee both voters and politicians will cite that tired old canard about the destruction of British manufacturing. And it’s rubbish. I could have written this blog about defence, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals or the motor sports industry. Britain leads the world at all of these. Our motorsport industry is bigger than that of France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined.

We are surrounded by world-beating British brands. We just don’t hear about the entrepreneurs behind them because they are too busy creating their next product line and cracking Asia. If you want empirical proof, here’s a graph confirming UK manufacturing has risen steadily since the Second World War.

So if you hear someone spouting drivel about manufacturing, just remind them of these world-beating brands. Chances are they won’t even know they are British.

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One Response

  1. Nice post charles. We should defintely be celebrating not berating the best of British

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