The Pye Story

The history of one of Cambridge’s iconic technology companies.

  • Mon 1st Nov 2021

Pye can be considered as one of the founding companies of the Cambridge Phenomenon. This is the story of how Pye grew from a start-up in a garden shed in Cambridge in 1896 until it became one of the leading UK technology companies. At its peak in 1966 it had more than 60 companies, over 20 overseas companies employing 30,000 staff worldwide with 7,000 employees based in the Cambridge area. The story will describe some of the key people who drove the company and give an overview of the innovative technologies and products that the company produced. Finally, the fall of the company and how it was taken over will be presented.

Dr. Bob Bates, The Pye Foundation

Bob graduated from London University in 1974 and started his career at Philips Research Laboratories where he initially worked on the design of Microwave and Millimetre wave components and systems for communication and military systems. Since then he has worked in a variety of high technology Consumer Electronics and Professional Instrument businesses. He has over 30 years of experience at Senior Management level at various companies including: Philips Research, ATI Unicam, Thermo Electron, Philips Consumer Electronics and Philips Applied Technologies. Management roles included Research & Development, Engineering, General Management and Managing Director.

Since retirement Bob is now a trustee of The Pye Foundation and The Pye History Trust. He is a volunteer at Cambridge Museum of Technology and an Observer with Cambridge Advanced Motorists.

Bob has a BSc and PhD in Electronics and is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the IET.

Attending lectures

Full video

Further resources

For more information about Pye, see and

The lecture will be preceded by a short presentation from a CSAR PhD Award Winner.

Development of a novel gene therapy for diabetic macular oedema

Michael Whitehead, Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Full video

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