The City Of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society

The City Of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society (CLPGS)[notes 1] is an English society and registered charity dedicated to the research in all aspects of early recorded sound. Founded in 1919, the CLPGS is most likely the oldest society of its type in the world.[1]


The CLPGS was founded under the name "The Edison Society" in 1919, when Norman Hillyer and some members of the North London Phonograph and Gramophone Society decided that a group was needed within the City of London. The founding members agreed to approach Thomas Edison to ask if he would become a Patron of the new venture. Edison would only agree if the group changed its name to the City of London Phonograph Society, so this was done. The group's initial membership numbered about forty.

In the 1920s, with the shift away from phonograph cylinders, the group changed its name to "The City of London Phonograph and Radio Society", reflecting many of the members' interests in early radio technology.

Meetings of the society have continued since these early beginnings, interrupted by World War II, but resumed afterward. The society has met at various locations in the City of London throughout its history, with meetings presently held at Conway Hall.

By the mid 1960s, the interest in radios as a hobby had waned, and the group renamed themselves with their present name to reflect their interest in early recorded sound technology. One of the Society's patrons is Oliver Berliner, grandson of the recording pioneer Emile Berliner. It is now the oldest such society in the world.


Since 1963, the society has published its magazine, initially named The Hillandale News and now called For the Record. These publications have been a significant vehicle for research on early recordings.[2][3]


  1. ^ It must be recognized that in the United Kingdom the term ‘phonograph’ is used for a player of cylinders, while a ‘gramophone’ plays disc records. In many other parts of the world the term ‘phonograph’ is used for both.


  1. ^ Hoffmann, Frank (2004). Encyclopedia of recorded sound. 1. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-415-93835-8.
  2. ^ The CLPGS Reference Series books are also published quarterly, designed to provide an accessible library of historic information in both text and audio form. The Masters Series, which reproduces phonograph cylinders of operatic interest, was launched in 2013. "Publications for researcher Paul Cleary". Research Register. Retrieved 30 September 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Since its inception, the CLPGS has documented and published works dedicated to the origins of audio recording, 65 works in 67 publications in 2 languages and 262 library holdings. "". Reference Directory. Retrieved 16 November 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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