Contributions for the 2018 newsletter

The editor would welcome more contributions for the 2018 edition.  Although there is never a need to pad things out to get our 12/14 pages, more would be welcome.  And please don’t think you need to talk about aspects of the company’s engineering past.  Naturally we were an engineering company and by far the greatest number of contributions are by engineers about some aspect of the engineering history, but I’d welcome items dealing with any non-technical aspects of our Marconi lives, my criteria are whether or not it is interesting or humorous.

And a further thing. Some years ago we had the criticism by a fomer lady colleague who said that she never saw anything from female contributors. The simple answer was that if I had had many more contributions from the ladies, more of them would have appeared in print.

So come all of you, get slaving over that keyboard.


Norman Lamont plaque

This photograph has been found by an ex Marconi Avionics/GEC Avionics employee when clearing out his late Father’s effects.  His Father also worked for the same companies.

It is believed that this refers to a building in Milton Keynes but we are asking if anyone knows the exact location of the plaque, either the building to which it was attached or where it now is as it appears it was no longer attached when this photograph was taken.


Marconi Instruments

We have received a request from a university student who is involved in building a Radio-Frequency (RF) Laboratory at the University. He has received some Marconi Instruments as a donation from an old research project but did not receive the instruction manuals.

If anyone knows of manuals that might be available or has any information as to where manuals might be obtained we would be pleased to hear from you.

6460 6460

Marconi Instruments SANDERS DIVISION TFT Power Meter type 6460

Marconi Instruments SANDERS DIVISION Slotted waveguide section type 60148

Marconi Instruments SANDERS DIVISION Universal Probe Carriage type 6010

Marconi Exhibition – Hall Street

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  <> to offer your services. You can also see

<> and <>.

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.

Marconi’s Hall Street works

You will already have read about the efforts to acquire part of the Hall Street works for use as a heritage centre in the previous post of the 2015 AGM.

The Marconi Heritage Group in association with the Moulsham Trust now have officially launched their bid to acquire the original Marconi factory in Hall Street in Chelmsford using a public appeal through a crowd-funding approach – see <>.

Annual General Meeting 2015

Readers are particularly asked to note item 5 on the agenda.

The Annual General Meeting of the Marconi Veterans Association was held on Saturday 18th April 2015 at the Marconi Athletic & Social Club following the reunion and luncheon.


1  Minutes

To approve the minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 5th April 2014.

The minutes were passed unanimously by a show of hands.

2. Accounts

To receive the audited accounts for the year ended 31 December 2014.

Passed unanimously by a show of hands.

3. Committee

To elect officers and members of the Committee.

All members of the Committee, being eligible, offered themselves for re-election.

The Committee was elected unanimously by a show of hands.

4. Appointment of Auditor

A resolution was proposed for the re-appointment of Mr T Mundon as auditor of the Marconi Veterans Association.

Passed unanimously by a show of hands.

5. Any other business

a) Marconi Heritage Centre – address by veteran Alan Hartley-Smith

Thank you Peter. You will all had on your chair when you came in a notice from our colleagues the Moulsham Trust. You may or may not have read the local press but we are well under way towards getting acquisition of the ground floor of Marconi’s original factory at Hall Street in which we want to mount a Marconi Heritage Centre working with the Community Association so it becomes a sustainable not a dry museum exhibit.

One of the things we want to do is raise money obviously, they are doing this crowd funding system, which they have mentioned, but what we want to do with the Marconi Heritage Group is make an appeal to corporate sponsors.  Now to do that we want to get into contact with a lot of the major companies but also we’d like to get in contact with any of the old Marconi contacts that we have, i.e. customers and companies we’ve dealt with round the world.  Now to do this we’re going to need some help, there’s only three of us on the main committee of the MHG at the moment so this is really an appeal to people here if I could say “could any of you here volunteer working from home” we’re going to put together effectively an e-mail campaign to contact all of these people and our suggestion is we’re going to try and sell, for want of a better word, pledge credits, for £100 and the idea is to approach these people and say “How many of these credits would you like to buy?” in the hope that some of them will buy more than one but this is to get us off the ground with the funding to pay the developer in order to get access and then carry on. We are going to get support from BAE Systems once we’ve actually got the system up and running to make it operational but what we really need at this point in time is effort, so if anybody here could volunteer in time from home using the e-mail system this would be very greatly appreciated.  You can either contact me direct through the Marconi Heritage website which you have details of, or I’m sure if you send it into the committee here they will pass it on to us.

Please help us, we really do stand a good chance of getting the only remaining building in Chelmsford that’s got any association with Marconi back to something resembling a Marconi presence.  Please help.

Earlier in the year Alan provided an update on the Marconi Heritage Group.  To read this update please Click Here. 

b) Photographic archive at the Essex Records Office – veteran Ken Earney

The Essex Records Office are seeking volunteers to assist with a possible Heritage Lottery Fund bid to catalogue the Marconi Photographic archive.

Thanks Peter. Two years ago I stood here and spoke very briefly about the photographic archive that Essex Records Office have and which they had just taken control of. It’s a massive archive, thousands of images and this is the bit that escaped and didn’t get to Oxford and the Bodleian.

The archivists want to get this archive catalogued, there’s a lot of missing information and we’ve had a couple of meetings with them over those two years.  One of the things they wanted to do was organise a Heritage Lottery bid to support this work.  They haven’t, for whatever reason, been able to organise their HLF bid yet but in parallel with this Peter has been investigating a cataloguing of this material that was funded at the time that the photographic unit at Chelmsford was wound up so there is a missing catalogue, apparently, of an awful lot of this material; so we don’t yet know the extent of what effort a team of volunteers going into Essex Records Office might have and that will become clearer hopefully over the next weeks or a couple of months.

What will be sought eventually is the sort of appeal that I made two years ago though actually we haven’t had many names yet and there hasn’t been anything to do for them in truth yet.  It’s people who would be prepared to go into the records office on a not terribly onerous basis maybe once a month maybe less frequently than that to assist with the cataloguing and indexing effort.  It’s a case of using a laptop with Microsoft Excel and identifying photographs, who’s in the photograph, what’s in the photograph and putting that on to the database.  What this will need is a number of people who have knowledge of the key product areas in the company, radar, TV, broadcasting, Comms and avionics so to bring this to a close if anybody would be able to assist in this, and we don’t yet know precisely when this will happen, maybe sometime later this year. The individuals would have to have at this moment their own laptop that they can bring until the ERO get funding, Heritage Lottery funding, they can’t provide the kit so anyway if anyone’s interested in helping with this please contact me or anyone on the committee afterwards.

Thank you.

6. Next Meeting

The next reunion and AGM will be on Saturday 16th April 2016  at the Marconi Social Club.  This will be the 80th reunion.

London Marathon

NatashaWe have received the following letter from someone with family connections to Marconi Veterans.  The letter is self explanatory but if anyone feels able to help in this endeavour it would be appreciated.

Clicking on the letter will open a much larger window that will enable much easier reading on most monitors.


Marconi Photographic Archive – possible Heritage Lottery Fund bid

We have received the following note and request from Allyson Lewis at the Essex Records Office.

Essex Record Office holds the Marconi Photographic archive, a vast collection of negatives and prints covering all aspects of the work of the Marconi’s Wireless and Telegraph Company Ltd from the early years of the company to its closure.  The collection consists of glass plate negatives, acetate negatives and prints amounting to nearly 8 cubic metres, arranged on 94 shelves (ERO ref A11449).

A preliminary review of just one box of prints found pictures of the first medical use of colour television at St John’s Hospital, Chelmsford in July 1958, the use of VHF radios during Sir Donald Campbell’s attempt at the World Water Speed Record on Coniston Water in October 1958 and photographs of Alcock and Brown shortly after they landed in Ireland near a Marconi radio station, which were reproduced to mark the 40th anniversary of their record breaking 1919 flight across the Atlantic.

The collection is a treasure trove but the current indexes are inadequate for accessing it properly.  An HLF bid is proposed to make the collection available.  Although a project archivist would be appointed to catalogue the collection, volunteers would be needed to help identify images for which there are no captions and to add information about equipment.  They would also be asked to clean and repackage the negatives and possibly scan the negatives to make digital images, subject to our obtaining permission from the Marconi Corporation to do this.  If anyone worked with the photographic archive we would be particularly grateful for their help.

If any members of the Marconi Veterans Association are interested in being part of this project, could they give their names to Ken Earney in the first instance via the comments facility below.  He will liaise with Allyson Lewis at Essex Record Office to develop and submit the HLF bid.

April 2013

Writtle, New Street and Guys Farm…….AN APPEAL!

Hi all, many of you are familiar with my work on radio station 2MT at Writtle.  This note comes as a three way appeal – firstl, I am helping the Writtle Historic Society with their large project to document Writtle over 2000 years – so what they need is anyone who can supply information about the Marconi site and its activities at Writtle between 1925 and 1980…I have the periods 1919-1924 and 1980 to 1988 covered (but please always send anything new!) but the rest requires more research.  I have already put some bits together but please send any memories, photos, thoughts etc. to

As usual please don’t worry about format or style, spelling or punctuation I will sort all that out and I now have a excellent proof reader who now helps me out – which leads me on to the second part.

The 2010 2MT Writtle book is due an automatic makeover and typo fix as part of the publishing deal within five years of publication.  I have now had the text fully proof read (better late than never) and since its publication I have also received many letters, new documents and photos relating to the story.  SO…this is not a please buy another copy advert but more a the story will be updated and fixed and corrected so that in 100 years time it will be the best it could be and yes the New Street story is also within the five years edit – it has also been proofread and I have been tracking and recording the ongoing demolition.  So…again anything you can think of relating to the early days of Broadcasting or New Street through the ages or anything you would like recorded forever, your best stories or memories, please let me know.


The third appeal was in relation to Guys Farm in Writtle – I worked there between 1983 and 1986 and know it was in use by Marconi’s in 1962-1963. The rest is again a bit of a black hole. If you know anything please write it down and send it to me – I am not sure where this will go – the Writtle history society will archive all information – but I think it is important that someone writes it down.


Tim Wander.

Marconi Mark 7 Television Camera

We have received the following communication from Paul Bicknell of Sussex and hope that veterans may be able to help.

I have just found a Marconi Mk. 7 colour camera head and lens in an old barn; I am trying to get all the parts together so that it can be made to work again.  Could any of your members help with any of the missing parts so that I can get it working again

Marconi Mk. 7  camera items wanted

Service manuals Volume 2 & 3
CCU Power Supply
Engineers hand control
Cameraman’s hand control
Camera blanking plate for when lenses is not fitted
Special Tools e.g. for setting up the registration
G101 cable short length 10 meters long
G101 set of connectors to shorten long length of cable
Vinton pan and tilt hand arm for pan and tilt

Paul Bicknell
South Coast
Tel:  07719 208048