It’s a small world isn’t it!

My Mother is undergoing treatment at a local hospital. In discussions with the consultant, the subject of my employers came up.

When I explained that I currently worked for SELEX Communications Ltd, which was formally known as Marconi, he told me that his Father had visited the UK in 1954 to attend a 16 week Radar Training course at Rivenhall.  At the time, he was accompanied by his friend (now Wing Commander, Retired) K.V. Lakshminarayanan.

I presented the consultant with two of our commemorative coasters as a memento for his Father and was delighted to receive an e-mail of thanks.

His Father is (now Air Vice Marshal, Retired) V. Krishnaswamy and he tells me that he is hoping to visit the UK mid 2007.

If there are any ex-Radar Veterans who remember Mr Krishnaswamy, please contact me and I will try and arrange a meeting.

Barry Powell


New Street redevelopment

Now that the New Street site has been sold and the current Selex Communications work on the site due to move to Basildon in 2007 discussions have started in order to try and retain some of memories of 95 years on the New Street site.

The site developers, Messrs Ashwells of Cambridge, have retained a Mr Ian Parkin to put together a proposal to tell the story of Marconi and the Company on the redeveloped site.  To begin this process Mr Parkin has met Sir Robert Telford and on 12 October held an informal meeting with some Marconi Veterans to gain a feeling for what the Marconi Company had achieved and how the employees with long memories of the site reacted to the proposals.

The meeting was held at The Chelmsford Industrial Museum at Sandford Mill.  It was hosted by Dr Geoff Bowles, the Keeper of Science & Industry for the Chelmsford Museum Service.  The following veterans were present:  Ron Bradbrook, Brian Everett, Ewan Fenn, Basil Francis, Chris Gardiner, Jimmy Leadbitter, David Polley, Barry Powell, Raymond Rowe, Peter Turrall.

Ian Parker opened the meeting by describing his brief from the developers which is to incorporate heritage information into the redevelopment project.  Most of the New Street site will be knocked down and the new buildings will be mainly residential and commercial with the site being essentially pedestrianised.

The 1912 Front building, power house, water tower and the semi-detached cottages on the corner of Marconi Road will stay.

It was suggested that the new buildings, footpaths and squares should have names, particularly one called Building 46, and names could also reflect both events in Marconi’s history and the names of significant people.

The main problem area is the 1912 Front Building.  It has been assessed and considered inappropriate for conversion into a five-star hotel.  It might make a three-star establishment but only five would be acceptable on this site.  An alternative would be to use it as a museum but the conversion would be too expensive for what could be achieved.

It was considered that the old power house might make a good museum and archive and form a permanent home for the Marconi Veterans Association.

This discussion programme is on-going and any ideas from Veterans or others will be gratefully received by Ian Parkin.  These can be sent via the contacts page on this web site or direct to the secretary.

Chris Gardiner