Marconi's Hall Street, Chelmsford
The World's First Wireless Factory
As a result of continuing pressure a Marconi Exhibition was held from mid-March to end-May 2016 in Hall Street at the invitation of the developer on the ground floor of this unique building.
Visitors saw rare photos, artefacts and equipment, heard talks by a range of notable speakers and enjoyed special open events. This volunteer-led initiative was organised by the Marconi Heritage Group and Chelmsford Civic Society in collaboration with BBC Essex, supported by the Museum Service and a number of individuals and organisations with Marconi connections. There is a continuing presense on the MarconiScienceWorkX Facebook page, and a compendium of YouTube videos which is listed on this sites Home page.
A new book was published in conjunction with the exhibition - details are given on this sites Home page.
The story to date
There is still hope 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.
Although the whole building was subject to a successful planning application for residential development, negotiations with the owners were undertaken with a view to acquiring the ground floor for the creation of a community/heritage asset - unfortunately insufficient funds were raised through the crowdfunding initiative to achieve this but the Marconi Heritage Group is still working with the Chelmsford Civic Society to get access to a part of the property.
We are still convinced that a successful application can be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund but we have to find matching funding. We are therefore continuing with national and worldwide appeals for support, as from the earliest days the Marconi companies traded in an international market.
Our small group still needs additional help with the back-office work in running the appeals, so both local boots-on-the-ground in Chelmsford and those able to use the internet are invited to contact us through <firstname.lastname@example.org> or by personal means to give us an idea of what support we can get.
We are determined to gain 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.
Two video clips featuring Hall Street - 1. 2.
Originally built by John Hall as a silk warehouse in 1861, it was bought by Courtaulds to be used as a silk weaving mill between 1865 and 1894.
For over 100 years the Marconi Companies’ work in Chelmsford and Essex dominated and defined the modern age of electronics, radio, radar, and mobile communications. The company had a massive impact on the working and social lives of thousands of Essex people, as well as on the County’s townscapes, especially that of Chelmsford, ‘reinforcing the importance of Essex in the global history of telecommunications’.i The collapse of the Marconi group in 2001 still ranks as one of the greatest catastrophes in British industrial history, Here is an article that first appeared in the Essex Journal:
The Marconi Legacy – Assessing the heritage of the Wireless Communication industry in Essex