Saving the World’s First Operational Radar Station!
Bawdsey Radar wins Heritage Lottery Fund support for its Transmitter Block project
Bawdsey Radar has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.4m as part of a £1.8m project to conserve the Transmitter Block building on Bawdsey Manor Estate in Suffolk. The Transmitter Block was built in 1938 and was a key building at RAF Bawdsey, the world’s first operational radar station. The major site construction work will start in September 2016 and an exciting new exhibition will open in September 2017 allowing all visitors to explore and find out about this pioneering radar site.
The building has become a focal point for the local community on the Deben Peninsula. Christine Block, Bawdsey Radar Trustee and a Member at Suffolk Coastal District Council has commented,
“We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this funding. The Transmitter Block has always been really well supported by local people. It represents such a key moment in our recent history that the community is really excited to feel that the building is going to survive and tell its’ unique story.”
As well as plans for conserving the fabric of the building, Bawdsey Radar will be working to develop ways, physical and virtual, in which more people can visit the site and understand the importance of the radar heritage that the Transmitter Block represents. New displays within the Transmitter Block will tell the story of radar and its significance in WW2. Radar helped win the war by playing a vital part in the Battle of Britain in 1940 and it is estimated the technology helped shorten the war by two years. An important part of the project will be providing opportunities for learning about radar’s fascinating social and scientific history, and about how the early work at Bawdsey laid the foundation for our current age of electronics leading to inventions such as GPS, accurate weather forecasting, speed safety cameras and even the microwave oven!
The following information has been received from Alan Hartley-Smith of the Marconi Heritage Group
A Marconi Exhibition will be held from 1st March 2016 at the original Marconi Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company works, Hall Street where Guglielmo Marconi set up his business in Chelmsford in December 1898 (The Company was first registered in July 1897). As a pre-requisite of the planning permission imposed by Chelmsford City Council the developer, MAC Design and Build Ltd, has to make the building available before alteration and refurbishment work starts. We have been invited to set up an exhibition on the ground floor of this unique building for 3 months. It will include rare photos and videos from the archives, and possibly some artefacts, and talks by notable speakers.
This is a volunteer-led initiative by Chelmsford Civic Society and the Marconi Heritage Group in collaboration with BBC Essex. We are thinking of asking volunteers to do 3-hour slots to man the exhibition and if you are willing to participate on this basis please contact <firstname.lastname@example.org> to offer your services. You can also see
<facebook.com/MarconiScienceWorX> and <facebook.com/chelmsfordcivicsociety>.
At the moment we are thinking of opening Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10.00-16.00 with talks on days in the week when the exhibition will be closed to the public.
We are very conscious that this event, which is being given a very high profile, should prove whether or not Chelmsford wants a Marconi Heritage and Science Centre and will go a long way to convincing CCC/ECC to recognise and support our efforts in a substantial manner.