Text updated 200303, 200603, 201302

The Name Skirrow - My Skirrow Genealogy site

Peter J Skirrow


Born in Nottingham, England, I grew up in Leeds and Derby, attending Rykneld School, and then Derby School before doing a BSc in Electronics at UCNW Bangor (University College of North Wales). From the age of ten I was interested in electronics and especially audio, so that I spent much time building tape recorders and amateur radio transmitters while still at school, and University .

I then worked for ten years at the Post Office Research Centre, starting at Dollis Hill, London before moving to the newly built BT Labs at Martlesham, Suffolk where I would help develop an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) machine that read Postcodes at high speed. The machine was a great success, and used some of the very first CCD arrays that were later to become refined for use in video cameras, and important visitors came from far and wide, and even from Japan, to see what was then probably the best OCR reader in the world. But the machine threatened mens jobs, in what was then Britain's biggest single area of employment - the Post Office, and at a time when Trades Unions were still very powerful. There was a PO strike, with new technology introduction strongly opposed; the division (R14) was disbanded, and the machine forgotten; though OCR was to resurface in the Post Office many years later, with machines purchased, I think, from Japan!.

Disillusioned, I left BT in 1979, met Tricia, and we actually lived off the land for a year, as per 'The Good Life' before I came up with and idea for an all-in one Audio Test Set. I founded Lindos Electronics (named after the bungalow I live in, which in turn was named after the holiday destination on the Greek island of Rhodes by the previous owner) and designed the LA1 Audio Test set. Though based on my vision of the ideal test set for tape recorder alignment and testing, formed during those early years of tape recorder construction, the LA1 rapidly became standard equipment in the newly opening Local Radio stations, enabling engineers to do all the tests needed to ensure that they would pass the stringent IBA 'Code of Practice' checkups.

Sales rose to levels we could barely keep up with and Tricia was to help run the business for many years, initially from a bedroom and garage, in the tradition of all famous startup companies, and then, after our sons Chris and Neil were born, from a delightful old building in the (five acre) grounds of our home, known to us as 'The Cottage'. Together with my (much younger) brother Paul, who brought software skills to Lindos even before he had left school, and went on to do a BSc Degree in Computing and Electronics, I developed the LA100 microprocessor-based Audio Analyser which was launched in 1984 and continues to sell worldwide to broadcasters and studios. We purchased a (huge by our standards) factory in Melton, just a mile away from home, and the business went from from strength to strength. Unfortunately, the partnership formed with Tricia, which had initially been so successful, and was formalised by contract in 1985 ended when, mentally exhausted, I reluctantly sold my share to her and ceased all involvement with Lindos Electronics in 1994, since when I have run Lindos Developments, with the aim of keeping up my design effort as well as expanding my skills in other areas like Video Editing (on my Avid Media Composer).

Over the last few years, my long standing interests in Genetics, Evolution, Society, Neuroscience, and Psychology have gained intensity, and I see these subjects merging more and more with the whole field of information technology, so that electronics engineers have a big part to play in these rapidly developing areas. I now have lots of time to read, from Nineteenth Century novels to recent paperbacks, as well as science books, and I've long been a reader of 'New Scientist' and more recently 'Nature'. I am pleased to see that the Neural Networks I tried to play with at BT have now taken off. I was told that "emulating nature, was not the way to go", but I wasn't convinced, and it's now a huge field with speach and pattern recognition now breaking through into consumer products!

Meanwhile, Chris and Neil, my two sons who were born in the fury of the 'Lindos' days, and both developed a keen interest in computers as teenagers, have grown up, with Chris receiving his Honours Degree in Computer Science in 2002. Neil has left school and started his own business writing and selling cgi scripts for use by dot-com companies on the Web.

A recent development is Chris's return to Suffolk (Spring 2003) to run Lindos Electronics with a little help promised from me. We share an interest in music, he being keen on drums and guitar while I have recently taken up Recorder Ensemble playing, which is proving a very interesting challenge many years on from my early stage performances at School! I wish someone back then had told us that Recorders can actually sound very nice indeed, and I wish they'd shown us more than just the descant version which puts so many people off!

In 2005 I discovered Wikipedia, and became hooked on writing and editing pages on many topics. A key page that I wrote early on was 'A-Weighting', along with 'ITU-R-468 Noise Weighting' in an attempt to clear up many misconceptions on the subject of noise measurement.

contact me: pete(at)skirrow(dot)co(dot)uk (substitute bracketed with the obvious)

YouTube: 'Lindosland' channel Facebook: 'Peter Skirrow' Lindos Electronics: www.lindos.co.uk