Commemorating the life of Meridian Audio co-founder Allen Boothroyd who has died

Meridian Audio has announced today that Allen Boothroyd, one of the company’s co-founders, has recently died.

He was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2018 and he leaves behind his wife Judy, their daughter Emily and baby granddaughter, Edie. After the diagnosis, the first think Boothroyd did was buy a Porsche and book a holiday to Australia. He and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. 

With a long career before co-founding Meridian Audio, Boothroyd graduated from the Royal College of Fine Art in the 1960s as an industrial designer. At the time, not many people knew what an industrial designer did and Boothroyd was often pained to have to explain that it was not always about the appearance of a product, but the production engineering and mechanical stages to take a product from concept to market. 

A talented draftsman for most of his professional life, Boothroyd’s designs were produced by hand with 3D visuals as well as detailed engineering drawings. 

During his time at the Royal College of Art, he designed hoppers for moving books around in a bookshop, a hospital bed, a parking meter, and received a prize for his pushchair design. He took inspiration from the designers and architect of the Bauhaus, notably Walter Gropius who designed the Dessau Art School, and Mies van der Rohe whose adage, “less is more”, Boothroyd adhered to and often quoted. 

AB Muralto Sept '12

Following his graduation, Boothroyd joined Hulme Chadwick and Partners, an architectural and design practice, where he designed a new corporate identity for Bass Charrington, among other design work. 

He also met Bob Stuart, an award-winning electronics engineer, and together designed a pre-amplifier and power amplifier for a new hi-fi company, Lecson Audio, which earned them a British Design Council Award in 1974 and are included in the collections of th4e Museum of Modern Art in New York and the V&A in London. 

After spending three years at Hulme Chadwick and Partners, Boothroyd left and joined Cambridge Consultants Ltd in 1972 to set up their industrial design division. 

Boothroyd and Stuart designed a pre-amplifier and power amplifier for new hi-fi company, Lecson Audio

Meanwhile, Stuart also moved to Cambridge and together, he and Boothroyd founded Meridian Audio, where they designed, manufactured and sold the entire product range themselves with very little investment. The pair received their second Design Council Award for the company’s 100 Series in 1982. 

In 1986, they launched the 200 Series which continued to be produced until 1993. All designed by Boothroyd and Stuart, the range grew to include the whole range of domestic hi-fi from CD players, radio tuners, pre-amplifiers, power amplifiers, digital-to-analogue converters, and a range of multiroom components. 

In 1988, they developed and sold a series of active loudspeakers with on-board amplifiers, by which point Meridian Audio was well known for its state-of-the-art electronics, distinctive design style, and corporate identity. This year also saw them presented with their third Design Council Award by the Duke of Edinburgh, becoming the first design team to win this award on three occasions. 

Design Award
The pair received their third Design Council Award by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1988

Boothroyd went on to found his own consultancy firm in 1991, Cambridge Product Design Ltd, offering one-stop design solutions, which he ran from his home in Little Shelford. His designs included the BBC Microcomputer, Europe’s most successful educational computer of its time, a new class of loudspeaker for Canon, the first Patientline (providing a phone/TV/radio console for hospital patients), the Aga Masterchef range cooker, a coffee machine, timpani drums, and different types of loudspeaker for KEF, Celestion, THX, and Russound. 

He continued as design director of Meridian Audio.

Boothroyd’s semi-retirement saw him indulging in his hobbies: drawing and painting, tennis, golf, and music. 

He was instrumental in the fundraising and design for a new village hall in Little Shelford and co-founded the Pavilion Art Group, helping artists to develop their skills. 

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