Campaign to save Hall Street works, Chelmsford

There is very good news in the ongoing campaign to get a sustainable and viable presentation of Marconi Heritage content in the original Marconi factory in Hall Street in Chelmsford. As the first wireless factory in the world it is of international significance and can therefore justify support as a site of special heritage interest. Many of you will be aware of the recent considerable media interest in this initiative.

Although the whole building has been subject to a successful planning application for residential development negotiations with the owners are underway with a view to acquiring the ground floor for the creation of a community/heritage asset, and the Marconi Heritage Group is working with the Moulsham and Central Chelmsford Community Trust to get this underway and to raise finance for this opportunity.  We are convinced that a successful application can be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund but we have to find matching funding and initially pay the costs to set up a trust body to carry out the necessary work – the full amount required for purchase and fitting-out is of the order of £1.5 million.  To start us off we need a fighting fund of a few thousand, and then go after substantial contributions to the full amount.

We are therefore planning on launching both national and worldwide appeals for support, as from the earliest days the Marconi companies traded in an international market, and setting up an online crowd-funding site to collect donations.  We are a currently a small group and will need additional help with the back-office work in running the appeals and the trust, so both those local boots-on-the-ground and those able to use the internet are invited to contact us through our website or by personal means to give us an idea of what support we can get.

With your help we can be confident of gaining a facility to ensure the deserved and continued recognition of the work of our founder coupled with that of the many thousands who served in the companies as researchers, skilled tradesmen, professional engineers and operators, which laid the foundations of the modern world.

Reunion 2015 – an invitation from our secretary

February 2015

Dear Fellow Veteran

First, let me wish all Veterans a healthy and prosperous 2015.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all new members to the Association and hope to see them at the Annual Reunion, which will be held on Saturday 18th April 2015.  This will be the 79th Reunion and the venue will be the Marconi Social Club, Beehive Lane, Chelmsford, where there is ample parking for those who travel by road. The Bar is within the Main Hall (on the right as you enter the Club) and will open at 11.00 a.m.

There will be various displays and the merchandise table will, again, be located in the hall. You will have plenty of time to enjoy meeting up with colleagues until it is time to take your seats for the luncheon. This will take place, as usual, at 1.00 p.m. with the Annual General Meeting and the Raffle concluding the proceedings. Any changes will be advised to you with your ticket. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to ring me on the above number.

We are, again, producing a commemorative Coaster and one per person is included in the ticket price. There will also be additional coasters, for sale, plus some coasters from previous years as well as a number of Ties, Scarves and Badges.

Our President for 2015 is Veteran Basil Francis who, for many years, was Chief of the Installation Drawing Office of Marconi Communication Systems at New Street, Chelmsford.

Joining the Reunion as our Honoured Guest is John Warwicker M.B.E. who had a varied career as a Metropolitan Police Officer and Close Protection Officer to a number of Prime Ministers. He has also written a number of books covering his professional career….

The menu for this year’s luncheon will be as follows: –
Bruschetta topped with mozzarella, chopped tomato and basil
Chicken Breast, slow cooked in a Red Wine sauce
Chef’s special profiteroles filled with a bailey’s cream and drizzled in chocolate
Coffee, Cheese and Biscuits

We appreciate that some Veterans may have special dietary requirements and would request that you indicate this on your application. We are able to cater for most requirements.

With regard to the Subscription, we are pleased to maintain the rate at £6.00 per annum but, regrettably due to increased cost to us, we must raise the cover price for the Reunion to £25.00. I am sure that you will agree that this is still excellent value for a four course meal with tea/coffee and wine. As the Association has a very limited income, and in order to keep our expenses to a minimum, receipts for Subscriptions and/or Donations will not be issued unless requested so we thank you in anticipation.

Those Veterans who wish to attend are requested to apply to the above address at the earliest possible date in order that I may properly assess the numbers. To reduce administration, please combine your ticket price, subscription, etc. onto a single cheque which should be made payable to ‘Marconi Veterans’ Association’.

Please note that it is not acceptable for guests to bring their own drink or food into the Club. Please refrain from this practice as anyone doing so may be asked to leave the Reunion and could be refused a ticket in the future. As last year, cheese and biscuits are included in our menu and additional bottles of wine can be purchased from the bar.

We often hear comments from Veterans that they would come to the Reunion but are afraid that they “would not know anyone on their table” or that “the speeches are long winded and boring”. If you feel this way, please read my article in last year’s Newsletter, speak to a Veteran who does attend or give me a ring. Then, if you’re still not convinced, try it – if it really isn’t your ‘thing’ then there is no obligation to come again.

Your assistance is requested with the seating arrangements and we ask you to indicate, on your ticket application, with which Company you would prefer to sit (i.e. Comms, Radar, Baddow, Basildon, Marine, MI).

Following a suggestion from a Veteran, we are compiling a list of forenames and nicknames in an effort to make the various lists less formal and enable people to distinguish between Veterans with similar initials. We will, again, be producing self adhesive name tags for you to wear at the Reunion and these will be available for collection at the merchandise table as you enter the Hall. When you order your ticket, please indicate, in the box provided, how you would like your name tag to read. THE DEFAULT WILL BE TO PRINT YOUR NAME AS IT APPEARS ON THE FIRST LINE OF YOUR ADDRESS LABEL.
So please fill in the spaces on the Subscription/Ticket application form.

We are, again, inviting entries for the ‘Absent Friends’ book, containing messages from Veterans who were unable to attend. Two copies will be produced and prominently displayed at the Reunion. If you wish to place a message in the book, please use the space provided on the enclosed form. Entries will be identified by name but no contact details will be provided unless you include them within the message area.

Your Committee is prepared to receive any nominations, propositions or suggestions for submission to the Annual General Meeting. providing they reach me in writing by 31st March 2015.

We now have almost 60 ‘Friends of the Marconi Veterans’ Association’. All ‘Friends’ receive the Newsletter and we will do all we can to keep them in touch with ex-colleagues but they are not eligible to attend the Reunion. The 2015 subscription for Friends is unchanged at £3.00. If you know of anyone who would like to be included, please urge them to contact me, at the above address, as soon as possible.

I am often not informed when a Veteran dies, and in these circumstances, I would like to extend my condolences to members of the families who receive this letter and apologise for any distress or inconvenience caused. Should you be aware of any Veterans who have passed away recently, I would appreciate it if you would let me know so that I can amend our records and avoid any embarrassment.

We trust that you will accept this letter as a very cordial invitation to attend the Seventy-Ninth Reunion, but if, for any reason, you cannot be with us, your Committee would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best of luck and good health for the future.

Finally, the 2016 Reunion will be on Saturday 16th April

I look forward to seeing you at the Reunion.

With kindest regards

I am yours sincerely

Veteran Barry Powell
E-mail :

For a copy of the Subscription/Ticket application form for downloading and printing please CLICK HERE.  We regret we are no yet able to accept electronic payments.

Chelmsford Science & Engineering Society

Birth of the Signalling War: The Marconi Company’s key role in WW1

by Dr Elizabeth Bruton

Marconi signalling

Members and Visitors are invited by the Chelmsford Science and Engineering Society to a talk on Monday 2nd March at 19:30 at Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus.  The talk is in the Marconi Building, Room MAR 001.  Booking for this lecture is not necessary.

Dr Bruton is going to talk about the vital wartime contribution made by the Marconi Company and Marconi Company engineers and staff employed by the British military during World War One.  The focus of the paper will be important developments in wireless communications including radio telephony, wireless interception, and wireless direction-finding and their impact upon the war in land, on air, and at sea.  This talk will also include a local element: the establishment of a signals interception station located in the Hall St. works in Chelmsford.

Further details at