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Philip R

history of B C & F Ltd.

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I just came across this... https://www.bcftelescopes.co.uk

Steve Collingwood of SCTelescopes is in the process of building a website, (not yet complete), dedicated to the history of Broadhurst, Clarkson & Fuller Ltd.

I am sure many of us have spent many a time and our £'s in the shop at 63 Farringdon Road at some point. I know I have and I have not regretted it!  

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Posted (edited)

That's a fascinating site. Indeed I remember many visits to 63 Farringdon Road in the 70's. I also remember pressing my nose against the window of the Fullerscopes shop in Finchley Road before that (I couldn't afford a Fullerscope then).

The Farringdon Rd shop was a place to lose oneself for hours, looking at all the bits and pieces that cluttered it. I remember spending a couple of hours there with a school chum just after we had watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so that must have been 1978.

Dud always used the initials F.Sc FRAS after his name. I always wondered what F.Sc. meant. Was it an abbreviation for FullerScope?

Edited by JeremyS
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Thanks - I enjoyed reading though the BC&F history :thumbright:

I was a regular visitor to 63 Farringdon Road from the mid 1980's for around a decade. Whenever I had to be in London for business I managed to find my way there, even if the business meeting was on the other side of town !

I bought a Fullerscopes Mk III mount from Dud himself and had some interesting phone calls with him as I gently chased it's production progress :smiley:

Great memories :grin:

Here is that mount carrying an Astro Systems 6 inch F/6 newtonian - my first "proper" scope and one that I used to observe Halley's Comet in 1986:

 

 

astrosystems6.jpg

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6 minutes ago, John said:

Here is that mount carrying an Astro Systems 6 inch F/6 newtonian - my first "proper" scope and one that I used to observe Halley's Comet in 1986

Was there any particular reason why the OTA wasn't from Fullerscopes, John?

I was lucky enough for my parents to buy me a used 6-inch Fullerscope Newtonian on a MkIII mount and pedestal. I saw an ad in Exchange & Mart and we went over to Horsham to pick it up. I think this was 1975-ish. It was a lovely scope. I wish I still had a photo of it.

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28 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

Was there any particular reason why the OTA wasn't from Fullerscopes, John?

I was lucky enough for my parents to buy me a used 6-inch Fullerscope Newtonian on a MkIII mount and pedestal. I saw an ad in Exchange & Mart and we went over to Horsham to pick it up. I think this was 1975-ish. It was a lovely scope. I wish I still had a photo of it.

Probably cost Jeremy. I was on a very tight budget back then and I think the Astro Systems OTA cost a bit less than a Fullerscopes. The AS had a David Hinds made primary and performed very well I seem to recall. I ordered the OTA first and had it on a self made dobsonian mount while I saved up for the EQ mount. The EQ's sold by AS back then were Vixen SP's which were great but over budget I'm afraid.

I had to really watch the pennies back then with a new mortgage !

 

 

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Similar memories here, had a MkIV mount, 8" mirror and much else from them.

When in London that's were I sneaked off to.

Regards Andrew 

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Really enjoyed reading Steve's website. I still have a mint copy of the 1973 Fullerscopes Catalogue - its interesting to go back and compare todays scopes with those of the early 1970s

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, my first real astronomical telescope was bought from B. C & F back around 1975 it was a 10inch newtononian on a MkIV mount with Dec and ra drive, none goto of course back than, lol. It had a little door towards the end so you could cover the main mirror. It was a wonderful scope and had many brilliant views of Jupiter. I think the whole set up was £600. I was 15 and worked in a summer job and saved all my money and tips on the scope and mount. Very fond memories of perusing the catalogue for a year before I bought that scope, lol. 

Found an image of my telescope tube but the mount I had was the MkIV, I think the pic is a MKIII. 

fullerscopes 10 ebay.JPG

Edited by Nigella Bryant
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I bought an 8" mirror from them back in the '70s. Things were more expensive then and it took a lot of saving for!

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Posted (edited)

It is just amazing how things have changed. In the old days you had Exchange and Mart, some adverts in the back of the BAA handbook and then the BC &F catalogue. 

Seeing it again brought back all the old lustful feelings for their scopes.

Now, in a few clicks, you can order anything from anywhere, without realising it's direct from China until you get the estimated delivery date.

Regards Andrew 

 

Edited by andrew s
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Those were the days - dodgy adverts in the back of the Exchange & Mart. I think the section was called "Scientific Instruments" ?

I've still got a few BC&F catalogues - the earliest with the "models" sporting flares, aran sweaters, lab coats and butterfly collar shirts !

Our equivalent of the "Celestron Girls" I suppose ...... :rolleyes2:

bcf.jpg.8aa059d3a76b2fd78f1fe392c24959d9.jpg

 

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I seem to have mislaid my Fullerscope catalogue But sill got my 6.25 in f6 "Export" Newtonian and mk3 mount. Not been looked through for some time but still serviceable.

The mount would benefit from an overhaul but its still more sturdy than some modern offerings!

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I used to have one of their original hand typed brochures complete with small sample pieces of their plastic tubes sellotaped inside. I still have one of the later printed versions. Dudley's Fsc stood for "failed school certificate". His "E" type Jag  registration was DUD 1.      😀 

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@Peter Drew sorry can't  resist saying thanks Pete to "DUD"

You have to be a certain age.

Regards Andrew 

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The first time I went to visit Fullerscopes Dud's premises were located in Golders Green.  I think I was 11-14 years old which would mean it was around 1966 to 1969. 

I'd owned a 6 inch 'utility' (basically unpainted) f8 reflector on a Mk 1 mount (not recommended but it was all I could afford) for some months, and only had one 1 inch Ramsden eyepiece and no finder!  By the time I left Dud's workshop I had a rather 'utility' finder as well 😊.

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Oh yes I remember the Finchley road shop - bought an 9¾ inch mirror blank from Dud. Went back a while later trudged all the way out there only to find he'd moved to Farringdon Rd !

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On 28/07/2019 at 08:10, Nigella Bryant said:

Yeah, my first real astronomical telescope was bought from B. C & F back around 1975 it was a 10inch newtononian on a MkIV mount with Dec and ra drive, none goto of course back than, lol. It had a little door towards the end so you could cover the main mirror. It was a wonderful scope and had many brilliant views of Jupiter. I think the whole set up was £600. I was 15 and worked in a summer job and saved all my money and tips on the scope and mount. Very fond memories of perusing the catalogue for a year before I bought that scope, lol. 

Found an image of my telescope tube but the mount I had was the MkIV, I think the pic is a MKIII. imageproxy.php?img=&key=bdf8b2134cef9d8bimageproxy.php?img=&key=bdf8b2134cef9d8b

fullerscopes 10 ebay.JPG

I bought the exact same setup myself in 1987. The 10" Newt on the MkIII with dual drives. It took all my summer money cleaning at IBM to buy it. It weighed an absolute ton and did not go into my VW Beetle at all well. But the views were epic, especially as I had upgraded from a Tasco 60mm refractor.....  But it didn't last. It truly was an ordeal to get it to the New Forest for darker skies. So i swapped it for beautiful handmade 8.5" f4.5 dob. If only i kept it just 3 months longer. Got my first full time job and it came with an Escort van that I could drive as much as i liked. Would have been perfect for the Fullerscopes.

I visited the shop in London 4 times, spoke with Dudley, drooled over the Meade SCT's. We attended Astrocamp in Ashdown Forest from 1987-1991, and made it part of the week to visit Broadhurst, Clarkson and Fuller. Great memories.   

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On 27/07/2019 at 20:22, John said:

Thanks - I enjoyed reading though the BC&F history :thumbright:

I was a regular visitor to 63 Farringdon Road from the mid 1980's for around a decade. Whenever I had to be in London for business I managed to find my way there, even if the business meeting was on the other side of town !

I bought a Fullerscopes Mk III mount from Dud himself and had some interesting phone calls with him as I gently chased it's production progress :smiley:

Great memories :grin:

Here is that mount carrying an Astro Systems 6 inch F/6 newtonian - my first "proper" scope and one that I used to observe Halley's Comet in 1986:

 

 

astrosystems6.jpg

Wow, i used to love the Astro Systems scopes. We visited Astro Systems in 1987 (i think). Was their place in Luton? Sure it was. But i decided to buy a complete Fullerscopes system instead. 

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11 hours ago, russ said:

Wow, i used to love the Astro Systems scopes. We visited Astro Systems in 1987 (i think). Was their place in Luton? Sure it was. But i decided to buy a complete Fullerscopes system instead. 

Yes it was Luton Russ. I never actually visited but I pored for ages over their brochures before making a decision. Those brochures also made me aware of the Vixen flourite refractors - and the fact that they were a long way out of my reach at that time financially :rolleyes2:

 

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10 hours ago, John said:

Yes it was Luton Russ. I never actually visited but I pored for ages over their brochures before making a decision. Those brochures also made me aware of the Vixen flourite refractors - and the fact that they were a long way out of my reach at that time financially :rolleyes2:

 

There was something about the brochures and adverts back then. Look naff now but were amazing back then. Used to love the ads in Astronomy magazine. Especially an ad for a brand of dobsonian (can't remember which) that showed a silhouette profile of the complete range and the largest was huge. Strangely none of the ads have the same effect these days despite being more professional and infinitely better quality. 

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2 hours ago, russ said:

There was something about the brochures and adverts back then. Look naff now but were amazing back then. Used to love the ads in Astronomy magazine. Especially an ad for a brand of dobsonian (can't remember which) that showed a silhouette profile of the complete range and the largest was huge. Strangely none of the ads have the same effect these days despite being more professional and infinitely better quality. 

Coulter.   😀

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

Coulter.   😀

Haha you remember the ad too :)  Thanks for putting me out of my misery. Coulter Odyssey dobsonians......epic

Edited by russ

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On 01/08/2019 at 09:54, Peter Drew said:

I used to have one of their original hand typed brochures complete with small sample pieces of their plastic tubes sellotaped inside. I still have one of the later printed versions. Dudley's Fsc stood for "failed school certificate". His "E" type Jag  registration was DUD 1.      😀 

I bumped into Dud (not literally) as he was getting out of his Jag in the car park at Kensington Town Hall, for Astrofest.  He was getting on a bit by this time (2005 maybe?), but he vaguely recognised me as a regular visitor at Telescope House, and asked me where the car park exit was.  If memory serves he was wearing a rather battered leather jacket.

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A little bit of extra history concerning "Fullerscopes" as it was originally.  In the early 1970's Rob Miller was working at Fullerscopes on the mechanical side, Rob was full of advanced ideas and was keen to make telescopes to a better mechanical design and standard. Ultimately, judging that this was unlikely to happen at Fullerscopes, Rob approached David Hinds and myself to form a consortium to create a new company and "AstroSystems" was formed. Understandably, this didn't go down too well with Dudley and he even threatened to stop purchasing optics from David Hinds if he had anything to do with the new company. As Fullerscopes were David's main customers he withdrew his directorship leaving Rob and myself as co-directors. The rest is later history.     😀

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