Michael Aldrich BiographyHistory of ROCCAcknowledgementsFeedbackBack to Aldrich Archive Home


In December 2007, I was asked out of the blue: ”Grandpa, did you invent internet shopping?” I thought about the question and replied, “No, but a very long time ago I was involved in something called ‘teleshopping’. Years later it became internet shopping.”

I had had to think because I had long forgotten teleshopping as well as most of my business career. My memory has always been dysfunctional. I can’t remember names which was a real problem doing a history degree! I have no random access memory.

My memory is associative. If I can get the first link then I can follow the chain but frequently lurch off at a tangent. In many ways that is the story of this Archive. I set off to find the story of teleshopping and then one thing led to another. I ended up rediscovering my working past. My wife thinks it has been cathartic. Perhaps it has just been indulgent.

As I travelled on this journey, I received huge assistance from a large number of people. Firstly I would like to acknowledge all of them and thank them for their time, their enthusiasm and their guidance. Their generosity has been and continues to be overwhelming.

There are two people whose work over many years is central to the Archive. Beryl Hutchin, now retired, was for 25 years the ROCC Press Officer, serving from the Redifon days. She was the editor and publisher not only of ‘Information Management’ but also its predecessor, ‘Redifon News’ and also the successor, the ‘Newsletter’ series. She was also responsible for all the internal company newspapers. Beryl not only commissioned the Case Studies, engaged the freelance writers and photographers, she also decided the content, treatment and graphic design. All the Case Studies had client approval which she negotiated. The body of work that she has left is awesome in range, depth, quality and longevity.

The second pivotal player for the existence of this Archive is Sue Grindlay, now also retired, who was my secretary/pa for 20 years. She not only organised my working day but she always managed to get me in the right place at the right time with the right papers in my hand, regardless of continent, time zone, temperature or traffic congestion. She also meticulously collated all my written work – papers, articles, conference speeches- and all the press cuttings. Partly because of a poor memory I wrote a great deal. She collected it and catalogued it.

As a direct result of the endeavours of these two people there is a large catalogued written Archive. Sadly because of the passage of time and my lack of perception of the potential value of the work, the Archive is not complete. Much has been lost or destroyed.

But what remains is still remarkable.

There remains the formidable task of turning a written Archive into an easily accessible website. Some of the people who have helped include , in alphabetical order ;

  • Caitlin Aldrich-Wincer

  • Molly Aldrich-Wincer

  • Gabrielle Aldrich

  • John Aldrich

  • Philippa Aldrich

  • Tobin Aldrich

  • Katie Bristow

  • Alan Dazely

  • Jake Dazely

  • HollyBeth Dazely

  • Sarah Drayton

  • Alan Gould

  • Lawrence McGinty

  • Colin Palmer

  • Lynn Schooling

  • Peter Watts

  • Andrew Westhead

There are four other key people to thank. John Aeberhard, a close friend for decades, was the first volunteer. As the founder of the A+ PR Consultancy and probably the leading business PR professional of his generation, he had been involved with ROCC and its predecessor companies in the 1980s. He knew Colin Palmer and Horizon Holidays and he had been to Gateshead with Lawrence McGinty. He promptly went to work and tirelessly gathered information and evidence. Peter Luck, who has a day job as a very senior Divisional Technical Manager at ROCC, designed both the website and logo, as far as I can tell by his e-mails, late at night. He also built the website probably in the early hours. It is an impressive piece of work. Luke Aldrich, my successor as Chief Executive at ROCC, provided unflagging support, much excellent advice and the considerable resources deployed to produce the digitised Archive.

The final person is the one who has shared my life since 1960. My wife, Sandy, has encouraged me to complete this work. When I was at a total block she remembered things and kept the project going. She read the various articles and offered constructive critiques. The project expanded massively from the initial online shopping focus and she helped me structure it in to some kind of order. And she has tolerated the restless imperatives of working to deadlines.

There is a second group of people who, though they have not been on this particular journey, created the actual stories. There were Redifon/Rediffusion/ROCC people who designed, manufactured, sold, supported and maintained the systems and kept the business functioning and there were the Client people who made the projects successful. In all there were thousands of people who made significant contributions to these projects. And, except for a few people quoted and some photo captions, none are mentioned here. Without them there would have been no Archive.

We would like to receive their contributions to the Archive. In the Reference Material Sections, we have allowed for Documents, Photos and Video. And we have allowed for people in two categories, ‘ROCC & Co.’ and ‘Clients’. In the ‘Feedback’ facility we would like to hear from you and/or learn about relevant material that you may wish to add to the Archive. In the longer term we would hope that this could become a social as well as technical archive. Perhaps future generations will conclude that there were some extra-ordinary achievements. There were certainly some extra-ordinary people.

Notwithstanding all the help I have received, any errors, omissions, mistakes, misrepresentations, misunderstandings and mischaracterisations that may exist in the Archive are solely my responsibility.

Thank you all.

Michael Aldrich



Biography                  History of ROCC                  Acknowledgements                  Feedback                  Copyright

© Michael Aldrich 2011