Battle to save Marconi factory

Campaigners are fighting to save Marconi's original wireless factory in Chelmsford. The city is known as the birthplace of radio because that factory was the first of its kind in the world.

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The history of Marconi in Chelmsford

A campaign group in Chelmsford has just over a month to raise 380-thousand pounds to keep a slice of radio history in the city.

Guglielmo Marconi, known as the inventor of radio, based himself in the town from the start of the 1900s.

The first factory his operations were run from is due to be converted to flats unless the money can be raised for a section to be kept as a heritage and learning centre.

Chelmsford is known as the birthplace of radio, so here's a look at some of the key dates in the history of Marconi in Essex.

Gugielmo Marconi Credit: East Anglian Film Archive
  • Guglielmo Marconi is credited with being the inventor of radio - being the first to transmit signals over about a mile and a half in 1895.
  • His "Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company" opened it's first factory in Chelmsford four years later (1899)
Marconi's Chelmsford factory in the 1800's Credit: East Anglian Film Archive
  • Marconi soon outgrew its Hall Street premises, and in June 1912 the company moved to the brand new purpose-built New Street Works
  • On 15 June 1920 the factory was the location of the first official publicised sound broadcast in the United Kingdom using two 450 feet radio broadcasting masts.
  • In 1922, the world's first regular wireless broadcasts for entertainment began from the Marconi laboratories at Writtle. It had the call sign '2MT'
  • In October 1922 Marconi helped form The British Broadcasting Company Ltd. (Four years later it was dissolved as a company and transformed into the British Broadcasting Corporation.
The New Street building in 2008 Credit: ITV Anglia
  • By 1965 the company had 13 divisions with factories in Chelmsford, Baddow, Basildon, Billericay, and Writtle
  • In 1999, Marconi's defence division, including the Chelmsford facilities, was purchased by British Aerospace to form BAE Systems.
  • The factory on New Street in Chelmsford closed in 2008 ending more than a hundred years of history.

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