Radio Rentals, once a feature of highstreets across the UK was the first company to offer domestic entertainment equipment rentals. Founded in 1930 in Brighton, Radio Rentals initially offered radio set rentals to their customers. Keeping up with developing technologies, televisions were added to the mix in the 1960s, and then in the 1970s and 1980s video recorders became available at Radio Rentals shops.
At its peak, the chain had over 500 shops, including one at 24 Bow Street, Lisburn (pictured here in 1964), and a customer base of over two million. The company employed 3,600 technicians and 2,700 skilled installers, including some over the local area. This 1964 Belfast Telegraph advert gives some indication of the increasing popularity of television in the Lisburn area at the time.
With the slogan ‘Should have gone to Radio Rentals’ it was one of the most well-known and loved high street shops. Sadly, as electronic devices became cheaper, Radio Rentals’ popularity faded and had all but disappeared from high streets by the turn of the 21st century. Did you go to Lisburn’s Radio Rentals? Or perhaps you worked in the Bow Street branch. Let us know.