Disc-cutting in the suburbs

My obituary of Peter Copeland (Monday) reminds me of his enterprising disc-cutting business which he ran in his spare time from his flat in Anerley, South London (in the shadow of the Crystal Palace TV mast). These photos were probably taken in the late 1960s (I don't have a date):

You have to remember that in those days very few people had tape recorders, and there were no cassette machines until around 1967. There was a flourishing business in people getting someone to tape-record their weddings, and then getting someone like Peter to make a direct-cut LP record which they could then play on an ordinary gramophone. Peter accumulated an ex-BBC Presto disc-cutter (modified to make LPs), and a collection of odd pieces of equipment mounted on Dexion and bits of old packing-crates by the look of it - his landlady, who was a strange little old lady, was convinced that he had a roomful of 'generators'. Incidentally the swarf - the highly inflammable off-cut when a disk is made - was sucked through a long tube into the bedroom where it finished up under the bed... admittedly in a jar of water: at any rate he never had a fire.

Despite the lash-up he knew what he was doing and produced excellent results. I still have many discs he cut for me of various archive and off-air items. By the time he moved to Bristol he had given up the weddings and was doing professional disc mastering - there is still a six-foot long Scully disc-cutting lathe in the basement: as the market for disc-cutting declined he took up wildlife recording as well as a wide range of video and audio engineering disciplines, and was doing very detailed research into the history of sound recording.

Click here for more photos of Peter's lash-up

Posted: Fri - August 4, 2006 at 09:30 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM