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Pye staff celebrate at Cambridge Museum of Technology reunion





The Pye community was the bedrock for the incredible arc of the Cambridge phenomenon back in the 1960s and ‘70s, and original team members enjoyed a reunion at the Cambridge Museum of Technology.

The electronics company was founded in Cambridge by William Pye in 1896 as a maker of scientific instruments.

Pye Telecommunications reunion at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, October 25, 2023. Picture: Pauline Howes
Pye Telecommunications reunion at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, October 25, 2023. Picture: Pauline Howes

From his garden, Pye went on to build a company which employed 30,000 people at its peak. Philips of the Netherlands acquired a share in 1967, and went on to own the company which designed and built a vast range of products and technologies, ranging from hostess trolleys to TVs to military radar and communication equipment to outside broadcast vehicles.

The Pye History Trust, a charity registered in 2015, was set up to research, document, collect, interpret, exhibit, and explain the history, people, technologies, products, and achievements of the Pye Group of electronics companies and its successors in both the UK and overseas. The trust set up a Pye museum in the Museum of Technology in 2019.

Five of the eight Pye History Trust trustees at the reunion – from left, Pauline Howes, Richard McMullan, Roger Crabtree, David Featherby, and Richard Howes Picture: Peter Brown
Five of the eight Pye History Trust trustees at the reunion – from left, Pauline Howes, Richard McMullan, Roger Crabtree, David Featherby, and Richard Howes Picture: Peter Brown

On display are products produced by several Cambridge-based divisions of Pye, including Pye Telecommunications, Pye TVT, Pye Unicam, WG Pye, and Pye Limited Radio & Television.

More than 60 people from different departments of the electronics company enjoyed three hours catching up with news and reminiscing about their time working at Pye Telecommunications. Some of those attending had worked there for more than 30 years, including product director Dr Michael Wassell, systems developer David Featherby, product engineer Richard Howes, and HR manager Dick McMullan.

Pye Telecommunications reunion at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, October 25, 2023. Picture: Pauline Howes
Pye Telecommunications reunion at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, October 25, 2023. Picture: Pauline Howes

Former personnel director Roger Crabtree said that more people than the room could hold wished to attend, necessitating a waiting list for any last minute cancellations.

“There was always a great camaraderie among Pye Telecommunications employees which still exists today,” says Roger, “and my ex-colleagues and friends were delighted to have the opportunity to meet up again, and also to have the opportunity to see the display of some of the many products that were produced by Pye spanning 90 years.”

Pye Telecommunications reunion at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, October 25, 2023. Picture: Pauline Howes
Pye Telecommunications reunion at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, October 25, 2023. Picture: Pauline Howes

The Pye Telecommunications reunion was the last of a series of reunions that have been held for various divisions of the company over the past few weeks, and the buzz in the building demonstrated its outstanding success.

The Pye museum also puts on temporary displays of other Pye related products and can be visited at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30am to 4pm.

2023 Pye Telecommunications reunion with, from left, Phil Baker, Graham Gillson, and David Smith. Picture: David Featherby
2023 Pye Telecommunications reunion with, from left, Phil Baker, Graham Gillson, and David Smith. Picture: David Featherby

PHT trustees (in rotation) give a monthly tour of the Pye museum on the second Sunday of each month at 2pm (December/January excluded), in addition to manning the exhibition on other days during the museum opening times.

Full details here.



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