1986 . . . Harwood's workshop
It really was like that! You walked away with your speakers updated; I walked away from the first encounter and back to my nice, big, white NEC company car thinking 'I can not let this business collapse and all the accumulated 'BBC knowledge' disappear.' It was one of those moments where there is not the shadow of doubt that the monumentous life-change that you intend is prudent, do-able, and with luck, the best use of ones modest abilities.
Originally Posted by chesnebg
I've hunted around for some photos, and this is the first time I've published them. They were taken in 1986 outside Harbeth's second premises, known affectionately as 'Rear of Newton's Yard'. Harwoods office (with companion fire) had a window to the right behind the brick archway, and the entrance door further round to the right. The chain fence on the left was that of a school playground. The production area was behind the up-and-over door where Harwood worked alone assembling his speakers, to order.
You had to see it to believe it: the whole operation had a dream like quality about it: one of the most influential and legendary audio engineers in the world supplying Japanese, Hong Kong and Korean customers from humble premises in a back street of south London!
In the other picture (I'd be 29) you can see my daughter Leanna (then three years old). I must have taken the day off NEC.
My then final words to Harwood on the day of completion of contract for me to buy Harbeth was 'Well Dudley, would you be interested in some consultancy work?'. He wheezed a for a moment or two as he mulled it over. 'No', he said 'I'll be quite content tending my roses'.
I was on my own - except in Japan, where I discovered many years later, the transition from one generation to another presented such an alarming marketing conundrum that it was explained (and was a complete fabrication) to the market that I had shadowed Harwood as his apprentice for several years. The fact was that there was a completely clean break, and that although I tidied-up and continued to manufacture Harbeth's HL Mk4, from the HL Compact (original version, 1988) onwards, you can only blame me!
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK