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Thread: The history of the Harbeth Company

  1. #21
    Hu Guest

    Default Re: The Harbeth Company (Origins, today, the future)

    Alan, I think all of the harbeth fans in China know how the brand name came to being, but few know how you got involved and attached to the name. Your story is fairly interesting to us.

  2. #22
    chesnebg Guest

    Default Re: The Harbeth Company (Origins, today, the future)

    Hi Alan,

    Have been reading your reply to John Parkyn (8th Feb 2006) on your meeting Dudley Harwood and how you eventually took over the Harbeth company.

    It must have been in 1977 that I first came across original the HL Mk1 speakers in a hi fi dealers somewhere in London

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
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    4,391

    Default 1986 . . . Harwood's workshop

    Quote Originally Posted by chesnebg
    ... Dudley Harwood slumped in has chair sitting by what must have been the very same electric bar fire! Strange what one remembers after all the years, but it was the one bar fire in your story that bought my memory ...
    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.

    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
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    4,391

    Smile Harbeth is born - April 1977

    The very first announcement of the formation of the Harbeth company was a Press Release in Hi-Fi News magazine, April 1977 - exactly 30 years ago this month.

    You can read about it here in another thread: http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?t=251

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