Marconi Old FellowS

We regret to announce the death of David Samways on December 28.  He joined Marconi’s in 1957 on an HND Thin Sandwich course, completing the course in 1961.  David left the Company in 1968 and joined Honeywell Computers eventually settling in Australia in 1979 where he remained until his death.

He is not, therefore, a Marconi Veteran but because of the intensive work he has done over the years, as described below, he has made a very significant contribution to the recording of the history and raising awareness of The Marconi Companies and their employees and is thus remembered on this site.

David started the site MOFS in 2011 as a place to list the names of the apprentices from the mid nineteen fifties, David having joined Marconi’s at that time.   Over the years the project expanded so that now it covers all engineering apprentices from 1941 to 1989.  The list is far from complete but to date the list holds around 1000 names.

In 2012 he started a collection of Wikis covering the various areas of the Marconi business and these have proved an invaluable repository of Marconi documents both formal and those written by Marconi employees.  He was helped in this by veterans in the UK who still had access to some of the Marconi publications, which have been scanned and added to the Wiki.

Luckily, the Wikis remain accessible so all the data is not lost but the search is now on to find a new moderator for the archive so that it continues to be a Marconi resource.

Further tributes to David from friends and work colleagues can be read Here 

Ron Bradbrook – Past President

We regret to report the death of veteran Ron Bradbrook on 20 November.  Ron was our President in 2010/11.

The funeral will be at Chelmsford Crematorium on Thursday 11th January 2018 at 1-30 pm.

Ron was born in Barking and moved early on to Writtle. After the benefits of the local school he passed the exams to attend Chelmsford Technical College. A group from the college, including Ron, joined Marconi’s as craft apprentices in 1947. During his apprenticeship he did his National Certificate studies at the Tech.; he had spells at Pottery Lane, Hut 3 at Baddow, Writtle and the dreaded Building 46 in New Street.

After National Service he rejoined Marconi as a development engineer and found himself in Building 46 working for a very fine senior engineer, Douggie Bowers. This is where high powered transmitters started to take over his working life.

Having joined Marconi’s in 1947 his career almost covered the whole era of high power radio transmitters just missing out on the coming into service of the 100kW SWB-18 in 1940.

Ron was closely associated with the development of the BD 272 the first one of which became Sender 93 at Woofferton. In the nineties he undertook the early design work on what was to be Marconi’s last HF transmitter, the 500kW B6132, but retired before it went into service.

Ron was also the senior Marconi engineer responsible for the design of the equipment for the BBC’s re-engineering of its UK MW network of transmitters in 1977 using the 50kW B6034 as it basic building block and for the modification of this transmitter in 1986 to long wave as the B6046 for use at Westerglen and Burghead. At about this time he also was responsible for the overall design of the 10kW B6525 and 20kW B6526 FM transmitters that formed the backbone of the re-engineering of the BBC’s network.

However, this range of activities needed an authoritative voice that could cut through the problems and make a decision. Ron was that man in Building 46.

He encouraged those who tried and put their best efforts into the job and brought the best out of his close associates but he did not have much time for those that did not pull their weight for Marconi’s.

Service Records

On 22 July the Secretary received a letter, with a Scottish stamp on the envelope, requesting information on a Mr David Smart Esplin. He is not a veteran but appears to have been a Marconi employee.

Unfortunately, the writer did not give any contact information in any form. If this person could contact us again we may be able to provide useful information.

Marconi Mural

We have been advised that a Marconi mural will be officially launched at Chelmsford Railway Station at:

11 am on Friday 7th July

The mural has been produced by Victoria Button & Nick Haydon.

Titanic Exhibition

Chelmsford Civic Society are staging the touring Titanic Honour and Glory exhibition in Bond St Chelmsford, which gives a fascinating insight into this endlessly compelling story – the Titanic legend.  Visitors will discover what life was like on board with beautiful replica artefacts.

A private launch for press and media took place on Thursday 6th April when the Civic Society was delighted to welcome from the United States the TV crew from the Titanic Channel.  As you may know the SOS equipment on the Titanic and Carpathia was made at the World’s First Wireless Factory in Hall St Chelmsford and the Marconi Radio Officers on board saved 705 lives.

Our campaign is to ‘raise funds for the Industrial Heritage in our City’ Charity No. 271779

Click on the picture for a larger image

Below are pictures taken at the press launch.  These are not intended to show the full exhibition but just to give a flavour of what you might expect when you visit.

Titanic Exhibition April 2017
Titanic Exhibition April 2017
Titanic Exhibition April 2017
Titanic Exhibition April 2017
Titanic Exhibition April 2017
Titanic Exhibition April 2017

Marconi Walk 2017


A SPECIAL MARCONI WALK

OF CHELMSFORD


THURSDAY 20TH APRIL @ 10:30AM

DURATION 90MINS
START AT THE JUNCTION OF HALL STREET & MILDMAY ROAD

BOOKING ESSENTIAL
PRICE £5

CONTACT ALAN OR EDITH
AT THE IDEAS HUB
MARKET SQUARE CM1 1XF

OPEN MON-SAT 10AM TO 4PM

THIS IS A SPECIAL WALKING TOUR FROM THE FIRST MARCONI FACTORY IN HALL STREET TO THE SECOND FACTORY IN NEW STREET. FINISHING BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT INSIDE THE MARCONI 1912 BUILDING


Price includes a donation to the Ideas Hub
Inquiries TEL 07779 931401 or 01245 609778
E-mail: cityhistorywalks@gmail.com

95 YEARS – A CELEBRATION OF RADIO STATION 2MT

Further to the announcement here on February 2 here is a report of the event from Jim Salmon and Tim Wander

The Two Emma Toc 95th Anniversary Celebrations

In 1922 from ‘a long low hut full of long low people’ – a small group of young Marconi engineers entertained radio amateurs and listeners across the UK and beyond with regular radio broadcasts every Tuesday evening. The broadcasts originated from Writtle on the outskirts of Chelmsford, Essex, and the enthusiastic team led by Captain Peter Eckersley assembled their transmitter together with a gramophone player, microphone, and on occasions a piano from the local public house, to entertain listeners.

Whilst transmissions lasted for just a year, their impact was immense. Many of those involved moved on to make major contributions to the works of Marconi and the BBC.
On February 14th 2017 a new team came together in the original Writtle Hut, safely stored and under cover at Sandford Mill to celebrate this short time in history, when a small wooden hut in a field in Writtle, occupied by a group of fascinating individuals, became the home of the UK’s first regular radio broadcasts.

Jim Salmon in the 1922 Writtle Hut with a reproduction of a broadcast transmitter of the same era in the background
Jim Salmon – ‘the power behind the “emmatoc” microphone’
Members of CARS
Chris Chapman G0IPU, Logging HF Contacts on the large laptop , with Les Radley G4JDS (middle and to Chris’ left), operating HF radio (as GB95 2MT) Right/foreground: Murray Niman G6JYB – on VHF and checking callsigns on QRZ.com using a smaller notebook pc

The team did not try to recreate station 2MT as we now live in a very different age. The aim of the evening was to recreate and celebrate the spirit and adventure of 2MT, to be ‘born in laughter and nurtured in laughter’.
From Sunday 12th February to Tuesday 14th February 2017 the team celebrated 2MT with an internet radio service including various live programmes from the original 2MT ‘Long Low Hut’. Whilst in the hut, we were joined by members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society who were operating a special event amateur radio station using the call sign ‘GB95 2MT’. We were able to therefore, for the first time in 95 years actually broadcast and transmit from this historic building.

The aims of the evening were many. Firstly a great evening for the volunteers and Chelmsford amateur radio club to celebrate a true piece of Chelmsford history. The project also successfully celebrated the UK’s first regular broadcast station and raised awareness of current technology and amateur radio. We are happy to have been able to expand on the 2MT story and bring this to a new audience, paying tribute to all those involved.

Tim Wander Talking with Dave Monk on BBC Essex and 2MT

There were many high points during the broadcast including being interviewed on BBC 5 Live and BBC Essex, however the main highlight was at 7 p.m. on Tuesday 14th February, exactly 95 years on from when 2MT started transmissions. At this time we all raised a glass and drank a toast to (1) 2MT and all involved, (2) radio hams past, present and future, and (3) Captain Peter Eckersley. We were joined in the hut by amateur radio and museum friends and colleagues, and we are sure the spirits from the past were looking on…!

For further information including programme recordings, videos, photos, publicity details, and our schedule of programmes, click on the link below.
http://www.emmatoc.com

A poignant moment during the 3 days was on Tuesday afternoon when we were visited by Shirley, the daughter of Tom Eckersley, Peter’s elder brother. Now in her 80s, we enjoyed talking about family and history, and I was pleased to be able to play her a recording of an interview with Peter Eckersley, most likely from the 1950s, in which he credits his brother Tom for being the inspiration to him at school to ‘be a wireless engineer’.

The team would like to say thank you to everyone involved and in particular everyone who e-mailed us and interacted with us on social media.

The team intend to be back with you for the centenary celebrations, but I have a feeling you may hear from us before then…!

Summary

One of the advantages of internet streaming radio is that your streaming company provides figures showing exactly how many people have clicked in to listen to a radio stream and the country they are in. Of course, this is also a major disadvantage because you will know if no-one is listening ! Our streaming figures are listed below, and taking into account the nature of this short broadcast, we are very happy with the result!

For the period 11th Feb to 14th Feb 2017 :  number of unique listeners – 423     number of unique countries – 21   and  average session length – 51.9 minutes

Many thanks to you all for tuning in !

The website at www.emmatoc.com has been operating for over a year now, and the number of visitors at the beginning of February 2017 numbered 7,957. By 21st February, this count has risen to 11,482, thus an increase of more than 3,500 views on the website for the period surrounding our broadcast.

On Sunday and Tuesday the team broadcast live from the 2MT hut, Essex Ham provided a live video feed using the Periscope phone app. In all 5 videos were streamed, ranging from 5 to 16 minutes each, and these were subsequently placed on the Essex Ham Periscope page. By 21st February, the number of views for these 5 videos stands at 805.

During our 3 day event we broadcast 51 documentaries, comedies and dramas, and 15 hours of live programming, much from the 2MT hut. On Sunday and Tuesday we were joined by our colleagues from the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society who operated the special event call sign ‘GB95 2MT’ with transmissions on the 2 Metre and 40 Metre amateur bands making contacts across Europe.  So, taking into account the above, our conclusion is – not bad for a small specialist subject radio service !

Thanks to Jim Salmon for all his hard work as the power behind the “emmatoc” microphone and for most of this report !

Further pictures are available on the CARS web site   http://g0mwt.org.uk/sandfordmill/gb952mt/