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Edgar Lavington

Edgar Lavington was born on 14th November 1908 to Edward and Kate (neé Ancell) Lavington of 26 Holmewood Gardens, Streatham Hill, south London. Edgar’s father was an accountant, working for the Capital & Counties Bank Ltd., Threadneedle Street. Edgar was, by his own account, an adventurous boy who enjoyed sports and nearly got expelled from school after causing an explosion in the Chemistry Lab.

Edgar c 1935

After attending Dulwich Preparatory School until 1921, Edgar went to Belmont College, south London, from 1922 – 26. He then ‘crammed’ for a few months at University Tutorial College before going to Faraday House Electrical Engineering College, Southampton Row, London, in April 1927. He received his Diploma in June 1931.

In 1934 Edgar moved from the family home in Streatham to Cumberland Mews, Regents Park, and then in 1936 to a nearby smart block of flats called The White House. By now Pamphonic Reproducers Ltd. had moved to 45 St Pancras Way.

 In November 1937 Edgar was elected an Associate Member of the Institute of Wireless Telegraphy and of the British Institute of Radio Engineers, and then in April 1938 he was elected an Associate Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. In June 1939 he married Jane Nicklen.

With the onset of war, Pamphonic was put into cold storage and Edgar Lavington and Paul Taylor volunteered for the RAF. After basic training in Wiltshire, Edgar was formally commissioned as a Pilot Officer in July 1940. Following a time at 60 Group Bawdsey Manor, Edgar was posted to Northern Ireland in November 1940 to set up the first CH radar station there, at RAF Glenarm. He returned in September 1942 to work on radar station maintenance in Kent and southern England. In March 1943 he moved to RAF 60 Group Headquarters at Leighton Buzzard. In March 1944 he was seconded to the Admiralty Signals Establishment, Lythe Hill House, Haslemere, to work on fighter direction centralised control systems. He was demobilised in November 1945, with the rank of Squadron Leader. He retained his commission in the RAFVR until February 1954.

Edgar 1967

With Pamphonic re-established, now in Westmoreland Road, Edgar continued to work as Managing Director of Pamphonic, with Paul Taylor as the Technical Director. By the late 1950s, Edgar had become unhappy at the way in which Pye was taking increasing control of the direction of Pamphonic and, after some stormy Directors’ meetings, Edgar resigned with a ‘golden handshake’ on 30th November 1959. 

From 1960 until his death, Edgar worked as a Management Consultant – at first collaborating with a city firm of receivers helping ailing companies to re-trench. Then in 1963 Edgar took a managerial interest in the electrical component company Repanco Ltd. of Coventry. By September 1964 he had put some of his own money into Repanco and had become joint Managing Director.

In January 1981 Edgar was diagnosed with cancer. He died on 14th May 1982.

[This biography is based on notes and photographs from Simon Lavington. The full text of his note is here.]