Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,139 pages of information and 245,599 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


From Graces Guide

1934 Granada Theatres Ltd was incorporated to acquire the theatre and cinema operations of Bernstein Theatres, a company owned by Sidney Bernstein and his brother Cecil.

1935 Floated on the London Stock Exchange

1948 The heads of the company, the Bernstein brothers, started what became a regular correspondence with the Postmaster-General's office expressing interest in gaining a licence to operate a commercial television station in Britain.

1954 Applied for a licence to operate the Manchester–Liverpool television station, 7 days a week.

1954 Granada Theatres was awarded one of the UK’s first commercial TV programme contracts by the Independent Television Authority, for the North of England weekday broadcasting.[1] A subsidiary was formed, Granada T.V. Networks Ltd., to operate the contract. This became one of the "big four" commercial television contractors.

1960 The company had 6 main subsidiaries[2]:

1961 The company was renamed Granada Group

1961 The company operated 44 cinemas, the television network, cafes and records shops and planned to branch out into TV rental, bowling alleys, manufacture of gramophone records, musical instruments and electronic equipment.[3]

1965 The main business activities were:[4]

  • Publishing
  • Bowling
  • Cinemas
  • Television

1965 Granada opened its first motorway service area. These activities formed the basis of the company’s operations until the 1990s.

1965 Formation of Granada Television to hold the commercial television licence

Many of Granada’s cinemas were converted to bingo halls in the 1960s and 1970s

Publishing interests acquired included:

1968 Acquired from Top Rank Rentals c.100 TV rental shops[5]

c.1969 Acquired Robinson Rentals Ltd. Formation of Granada TV Rentals

Acquired Ladbroke Group's retail assets

1978 Granada TV Rentals was one of 6 television rental companies examined by the Price Commission[6]

1979 Sidney Bernstein retired as chairman; by this point only 16 percent of the company's income was from television.

1984 Acquired the Rediffusion television rental business which doubled the size of Granada's rental business and agreed to take the majority of its televisions from BET[7]

1985 The Rediffusion television factories at Bishop Auckland, Billingham and Rochdale were expected to run out of work by the end of the year when the agreement to supply BET came to an end; the research facility at Chessington would also be affected[8]

1987 Described as a television and video rental group with interests in broadcasting, motorway services and holidays. Acquired Electronic Rentals Group which had a large number of television shops (but less than Granada)[9]

1991 The bingo hall business was sold.

1993 Acquired Sutcliffe Catering, a major contract catering business

1994 Added to its television business by acquiring London Weekend Television

1995 Expanded its motorway service business by buying Pavilion Services

1996 Granada greatly enlarged its restaurants business and became a substantial operator of hotels by acquiring Forte Plc.

1997 Further expanded in television by purchasing Yorkshire and Tyne Tees TV

2000 After the authorities blocked a merger with United News and Media, Granada purchased United's television interests.

2003 Merger of Carlton TV and Granada Television to create ITV plc subject to consideration by the competition authorities. Carlton operated four regional licences, including the weekday London licence (Carlton Broadcasting Limited (Carlton TV)), and Granada operated seven regional licences, including the weekend London licence (London Weekend Television Ltd (LWT)).[10]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, March 10, 1955
  2. The Times February 15, 1960
  3. The Times, July 7, 1961
  4. The Times March 25, 1965
  5. The Times Apr. 20, 1968
  6. The Times Sept. 21, 1978
  7. The Times May 31, 1984
  8. The Times Sept. 9, 1985
  9. The Times Dec. 31, 1987
  10. Competition Commission report [1]
  • Competition commission report[2]
  • Biography of Sidney Berstein [3]