Entrepreneur

From the Spectrum to the C5: How Clive Sinclair led the UK’s tech revolution


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ultimillionaire Sir Clive Sinclair was Britain’s leader of the microchip revolution.

The maverick entrepreneur masterminded an incredible shrinking world of tiny computers, televisions and even cars.

But the shy guru of new technology also had remarkable plans with his vision for the future of the world – one where robots would carry out our every command.

Clive Sinclair in 1994 (Tony Harris/PA) / PA Archive

He was born on July 30 1940 into a middle-class London background. His father was an engineer and designer of machine tools.

Sir Clive went to a succession of schools – Boxgrove Preparatory in Guildford, Highgate, Reading and St George’s College, Weybridge – before quitting formal education at the age of 17.

He became a technical journalist with Practical Wireless, where he wrote specialist manuals. After four years, at the age of 22, he formed his first company, Sinclair Radionics.

He set up the company in 1962 at a house in Islington, north London, with just £25 borrowed from a friend.

The firm made small radio kits and sold them by mail order, the most well-known being a matchbox-sized product which was the smallest transistor radio in the world.

In 1967, Sir Clive moved his company to Cambridge where a “club” of self-made young entrepreneurs with revolutionary business thinking was starting to form.

Sir Clive pioneered the pocket calculator, which earned him the title of “electronics wizard” but had tough competition from Japan and the US in the fast-moving consumer markets.

Clive Sinclair shows off his pocket television (PA) / PA Archive



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