Simon Blumlein

1. Simon Blumlein, elder son of Alan Dower Blumlein, during the filming session for the forthcoming television series, August 2000.

Simon Blumlein & Family

2. The Blumlein family: Simon Blumlein (Seated), Alan Blumlein - Simon's son (standing) Anne Blumlein (seated) and William Blumlein - Alan's son (sitting on the ground.

Simon Blumlein holding his fathers watch Alan Blumlein & William Blumlein, grandson & great-grandson of Alan Dower Blumlein

3. Simon Blumlein holding his fathers watch which was found amongst the wreckage of the crashed Halifax V9977 on 7 June 1942, but not returned to Alan's late wife, Doreen for many years. The watch had originally been presented to Alan Dower Blumlein in 1934 from a grateful EMI following the work done on the audio recording and reproduction system. Now among Simon Blumlein's most treasured possessions, it has long since ceased to work, and despite cleaning, still bears the scars of the accident in which its owner was killed.

4. Alan Blumlein is Alan Dower Blumlein's grandson. He is shown here with his 10-year old son, William Blumlein, holding his grandfathers' watch which was recovered from the crash of Halifax V9977 in 1942.

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Simon Blumlein talks about his father...

Simon Blumlein is the elder of Alan Blumlein's two sons, his brother David being two years younger.

During the years following the death of their father in 1942, when Simon Blumlein was just six and David four, they campaigned with their mother, Alan's late wife Doreen Blumlein, for a book that would recognise and acknowledge the work of Alan Dower Blumlein.

In August 1999, Simon and David Blumlein, along with Simon's sons Alan, Charles and James, and Alan's son William, attended the gala ceremony at CRL to celebrate the launch of Robert Charles Alexander's book 'Inventor Of Stereo: The Life & Work of Alan Dower Blumlein'.

 

"I was just over six, a month past my sixth birthday, when my father died. However, I can recollect very well the day I heard of his death. We had come up to London from Cornwall to be with him, and I was not meant to come home that afternoon, but I came home from school to find my mother in a terrible state of course, and my memories really go back over the ten weeks or so before then.

The main recollection is of a very fair but strict man, he expected me to follow a very strict code. For example he would be very patient, but on the other hand if I was stepped out of line he was pretty intolerant with it. He, for instance, expected me to eat any food I had asked for, and I've been known to sit there for four hours with him while I ate it. But, on the other hand, he spent an awful long time with me in the very few hours that he had free because he worked every other weekend at that time.

I can well recollect being instructed on the systems of shunting at the Park Royal shunting yard - and how you have to have a brake van at the end - and from this came my love of trains. In fact I found many years later, among his records, photographs of engines that I had also taken pictures of in Switzerland.

Though its very difficult remembering back to when you are six, I can certainly remember the great times we had together. I was given instruction in the building of Meccano models, and how to design cranes and engines. He arranged an electric motor for my sixth birthday, these were very rare things in the war, and he had saved up bits and pieces for me to build it. He then converted a radio transformer to transform down to the six volts. It had a very crude set up in many ways, very dangerous, and I can remember the fuse blowing on me once. We had one of the first fusible plugs in London's systems I think.

I didn't get into too much trouble when I tried my engineering hand making mud pies in the oil dripping out of the car in the garage. It's much better than water. I think it was partly smiled upon because he himself could see the oil could keep the mud together better than water, and I suppose he felt I was learning a technology. He also had to be held back from certain workings with me; he had hoped to have a train set round the nursery when I was six, but my mother said wait until I was eight, so I never got it. It would have had a bridge across the door and things like this, but all the equipment was there and later, with friends and others, it was put together for me.

Then I was to learn calculus when I was ten. He had planned the whole system out for me. I wish I could talk to him about this because I think perhaps we do communicate. I've felt that sometimes he is watching me when I make the really big blunders because I know what he had in mind for me to do, though I haven't really reached the goal that he had in mind for me."