While looking up the origin of the Unidare Company, of Finglas,  Dublin recently and came across C.O. Stanley who seems to have been a larger than life character.

He was born in 1899 in Cappoquin, Co Waterford where his father had a hardware store.      In his late teens he went to London, studied in Technical school, and taught for a short period.  He then left to work in advertising and after a short sojourn there founded his own firm ARKs.  The firm was associated with the radio industry which was rapidly expanding.  In the late 1920s he became involved in the PYE company of Cambridge a maker of radio sets, he was responsible for floating the company and through astute financial engineering ended up having a dominant role in the control of the company.  Shortly after this he acquired the Lisselan Estate outside Clonakilty, Co. Cork.  This formerly belonged to Bence Jones.

Lisselan had been in the ownership of the Bence-Jones family.  Stanley spend a considerable sum on the estate and thereafter spent a large part of the summer there and retired there in the late 60s.  He and his wife were involved in controversy when the Bishop of Cork Dr. Cornelius Lucy called for the estate to be acquired by the Land Commission broken up and distributed to locals.

He was on good terms with William Dwyer who started the Sunbeam works in Blackpool in  Cork.  In the 30s he advanced loans to Dwyer and later encouraged him when Dwyer joined the War effort in London.  He made the introduction to the Wolsey company of England who were clients of his advertising agency.  He remained a director of the company for many years.  By the mid 1960s Sunbeam was one of the largest industrial employers in Ireland.


In the 1930s he took over effective control of PYE was heavily involved in their war work and the development of radar.   He famously pressed for the acquisition of vital radar components from the Philips company in Holland, they were taken to the UK the day before the Germans invaded Holland.  At one stage the company employed 35,000 people.

Another interest was the development of independent television which was realised in the 50s.

In Ireland he was associated with the establishment of Unidare in the 50s to supply electrical equipment.  It was managed by people closely associated with him and showed flair and innovation in the mid 60s there were over 2,500 employed in the works.

In 1966 he and his son John fell from grace, the PYE company had over extended  the Stanleys were blamed and removed from control.  Thereafter he spend a lot of his time at Lisselan.

Radio Man: the remarkable rise and fall of C.O. Stanley (IEE History of Technology Series, 30) [Hardcover]

Mark Frankfield