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Building the Wireless Age

The worlds first Wireless and Telegraphy factory at Marconi's Hall Street works in Chelmsford Essex is hailed as the ‘birthplace of radio’. For the first time the building will open its doors the public for three months from Friday March 11, 2016.

Marconi Exhibition


Open 11th March to 29th May 2016

Every Sat & Sun. 11.00am - 3.00pm Free Entry

This modest building in Hall Street, Chelmsford, previously a silk factory and latterly Essex Water Company HQ, is in the midst of being converted into flats, but before that work is completed the developers are fulfilling a clause in planning agreement with Chelmsford City Council to open it to the public.

There were hopes that the building, which boasts two Blue Plaques, would become a science hub, with Marconi Science Worx raising awareness, but now the building will be converted into flats.
Chelmsford Civic Society is staging a free exhibition in collaboration with BBC Essex inviting keynote speakers to mark the contribution made by Hall Street.

The world’s first wireless factory was established by Marconi in 1898 and the great man was soon credited for saving lives at sea; but what brought his wireless wonder to worldwide attention was the Titanic disaster in 1912. It was a direct result of SOS messages saving so many survivors of the stricken Titanic.

The listed building in Hall Street, which is being converted into flats, was where parts of the ‘wi-fi’ equipment which helped save thousands of lives were made, until then Morse code was transmitted via undersea cables.

The free exhibition will be staged by Marconi Science WorX under the auspices of Chelmsford Civic Society and in collaboration with BBC Essex.

It will be open between 11th March to 29th May 2016 as part of an agreement between the developers who want to convert it into flats and Chelmsford City Council to allow the public limited access for three months.

Pam Swaby said: “Hall Street is the actual birthplace of radio and so its fitting that before it becomes flats that the public will get to see inside for the first and last time before its converted into flats. Thousands of lives were saved, not just on the Titanic but dozens of others ships, thanks to Morse Code equipment made in Hall Street, which also helped catch the wife-slayer Dr Crippen who tried to flee justice across the Atlantic with his mistress disguised as his son. We are thrilled that our first of nine keynote speakers, Tim Wander, Tim Maltin and Dr Liz Bruton will be explaining the significance of the Hall Street building in Marconi’s emerging new company right where history was made, plus, we have just had confirmation that Prof Danielle George, Ray Clark and Dave Monk of BBC Essex will also be speaking too”

Oyez Oyez - Tony Appleton, the Town Crier, will open the Marconi Exhibition to the public on Friday 11th March at 11.00 and Peter Turrall, Chairman of Marconi Veterans Association will be there to show visitors around until midday and to answer any questions.

Tim Wander, curator, Marconi historian, author - will speak on ‘Hall Street and Marconi: Building the Wireless Age’ on Fri 18th March at 7.00 tickets £5. Tim’s book ‘Marconi’s Hall Street Works: The World’s First Wireless Factory’ is made possible by a grant from Essex Heritage Trust with proceeds from book sales going towards the exhibition.
Dave Monk, BBC Essex well known broadcaster - will speak on ‘The BBC and Me and his life behind the Mic!’ on Fri 25th March at 7.00 FREE but please book both these talks on Eventbrite.
Ray Clark, broadcaster and author - Friday 1st April at 7.00 - All at Sea - the exciting story of offshore radio - ‘Radio Caroline’ the true story of the boat that rocked.

In May there will be a BIG BBC ESSEX WEEKEND and a double event by Prof Danielle George with permanent static displays throughout March, April and May courtesy of The International Marconi Museum, Pontecchio M. (Bologna), Essex Record Office, Tim Wander and much more.


opening ceremony






chelmsford factory

David Sarnoffsarnoff

Marconi was the creator of the present day civilization of the radio. All of those who, with spirit of initiative and perseverance, have brought us to the present stage of development have built on the foundations laid by Marconi. Everyone considered him the tutelary genius of their work.


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