Recording Pioneers

Robert Edward BECKETT  ("Bob")1900 - 1968   arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


Robert Edward BECKETT  ("Bob")1900 - 1968

aka Robert Edward Beckett, Robert E. Beckett, R. E. Beckett, Robert Beckett, R. Beckett, Bob Beckett
birth 5 June 1900, Southall, Middlesex, ENGLAND
baptism 13 May 1900, Holy Trinity, Southall, Ealing, Middlesex
death 4 May 1968, 10, St Michaels Road, Worthing, Sussex, ENGLAND (68y) (GRO 5H 796)
remark (residence: 12 Copthorne Road, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire)
marriage married on .. July/Aug/Sep 1923, Brentford, Middlesex:
Gladys Ivy HUNT

b. .. May 1901, Paddington
d. 9 Feb 1991, ...............

  • Jean M.

    b. .. Apr/May/June 1924, Brentford, Middlesex
    d. .... 2001, .............

  • Pauline B.

    b. .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1928, Brentford, Middlesex

  • Peter

    b. 5 Oct 1934, Berlin, GERMANY
    d. LIVING


father William Thomas BECKETT

b. .. Oct/Nov/Dec 1866 / 1867, Northampton/Peterborough, Northamptonshire, ENGLAND
d. 28 Mar 1922, Paddington, Greater London/Middlesex, ENGLAND

mother Sarah Jane S. YOUNG

b. .. ......, Little Bricknell, Buckinghamshire
d. .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1948, Uxbridge, Middlesex (82y)

  • Ethel May

    b. .. Jan/Feb/Mar 1897, Mile End Road, London - baptism: 7 Feb 1897, St Faith, Stepney, Tower Hamlets
    d. .. Apr/May/June 1960, Uxbridge

  • Robert Edward

    b. 5 June 1900, Southall, Middlesex, ENGLAND
    d. 4 May 1968, Worthing, Sussex, ENGLAND (68y) (GRO 5H 796)

  • Marjorie Edith

    b. .. July/Aug/Sep 1902, Uxbridge
    d. .................


1901 CENSUS (High Street, Norwood, Southall, Middlesex)
William T. BECKETT (34y) (b. Northampton) draper
Sarah S. (35y) (b. Little Bricknell, Buckinghamshire)
- Ethel M. (4y) (b. Mile End Road, London)
- Robert E. (11 months old) (b. Southall, Middlesex)

recorder (BD/CD)

joined GRAMCO in June 1922

HMV Germany - 1931 und 1934
Die folgenden beiden Seiten dokumentieren die Aktivitäten des Aufnahmetechnikers Robert Beckett, der bis zum Sommer 1939 in Berlin für HMV tätig war.
Die erste veranschaulicht seine Tätigkeit für HMV in Kopenhagen im März 1931, die zweite für Electrola im August 1934. Sie wurden angelegt, um die Tantiemenabrechnung zu erleichtern. Viele wirkliche Aufnahmebögen, die Beckett’s tägliche Routinearbeit dokumentieren, haben im EMI-Archiv überlebt.
(presentation by Mike Gray at Diskografentag organized by Phonomuseum, Vienna)

One of the three senior operators (Beckett, Larter and Davidson) who handles the preparation of classical recordings (March, 1954)

retired in in 1965

Earlier this year Robert Beckett retired from EMI where he had been Recording Supervisor, after more than 40 years with the company. He and Douglas Larter between them had been responsible for an enormous slice of the catalogue over the years. Born at Southall, Middlesex, in 1900, he served in the RAF and joined HMV on demobilisation in 1919. A slump put the unmarrieds out of work within a year, when he turned to the violin for a living. His father had been a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral, where he had learnt his music, and when he saw an advertisement for a violinist on the J. Lyons circuit he joined the long queue. "Where do you come from?" "HMV", where he had, in fact, been employed as a draughtsman! Sent then and there to the Coventry Street Corner House be found himself the same afternoon playing without rehearsal in an orchestra for the first time in hi life. It was the old Tavan selection from Garinsn, and for the next 12 months he was at the Trocadero seven days a week. He returned to HMV in 1922 just when Fred Gaisberg had moved over to the artists' side, and Beckett stepped in to take over the recording job. In those days a small team had to do everything from comic singers to bands and orchestras but when electrical recording was adopted in 1925 the engineers began to specialize and Beckett went on the classical side. For him it was to be a world tour over the years, and he was off on his travels from the word 'go'. In 1930 the Abbey Road studios opened in London, but for Beckett it was Berlin, where he supervised the recording until the war. Bob Beckett was responsible for so many of the company's great recordings that it would be invidious to enumerate them. I will simply mention the Huddersfield oratorios, the Karajan Magic Flute and Cosi, the Furtwanglcr Pastoral, Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex (composer conducting), the Bayreuth Meistersinger (astonishingly put out on 78's), the historic de Sabata Tosca, and of course countless solo recordings with red-label artists.
(source: Gramophone of Dec 1965, p. 39)


  • A look at the engineers who made history travelling the world recording its music by Paul Vernon (online article)
    Originally published in: Vintage Jazz Mart No. 94 , 1994. Copyright belongs to the author. Electronic edition by Lars Fredriksson, April 17, 1997
  • The Gramophone Company's Persian Recordings 1899 to 1934 by Michael S. Kinnear. Bajakhana, Victoria, 2000 (p. 15, 19, 22)



From l. to r.: Harold Clarke, Bob Beckett and Douglas Larter.
(Harold Clarke is either Arthur Clarke's brother or a typo for Arthur Clarke).
Handwritten caption says: retired in 1960.
courtesy: Peter Beckett
Bob Beckett at work.
courtesy: Peter Beckett
From l. to r.: Beniamino Gigli and Bob Beckett (Berlin, 1938)
courtesy: Peter Beckett
From l. to r.: Bob Beckett and Sir John Barbirolli
(Manchester, England, 1950)
courtesy: Peter Beckett


Peter Beckett