Hughes was founded in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 1921 by Frank Hughes who trained as an electrical engineer after having served in the Great War. Originally the company rewound industrial electrical motors for Lowestoft's fishing fleet but in 1928 Frank bought his first shop. Here he built and sold radios and the family literally lived over the shop for many years. The business was incorporated in 1946 but the following year Frank passed away, leaving his children Peter, Phyllis and Jim to take over the management of the company. To this day, almost one hundred years on, Hughes remains a true family business with the third generation under Robert and Jeremy Hughes now at the helm.
Hughes were quick to embrace and introduce new technologies as they developed, such as televisions and labour-saving kitchen appliances. By renting these products they became affordable for the typical household in the post-war austerity years. This early equipment was notoriously unreliable and the engineering background of the company meant it was well placed to develop a large service infrastructure to repair them. Geographic expansion soon followed and by the end of the 20th century Hughes had over 30 shops and 5 service centres located throughout East Anglia.