Cat no. 534

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company

Running time14:16 1934 Chelmsford, Essex

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Interior and exterior shots of work at the factory and the employees, followed by street scenes in Chelmsford.


Industrial / Sponsored FilmScience and Technology

The film begins showing the exterior of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company factory. There are scenes from inside offices, including the Designs Office. These scenes show Mr. Norman Lea, the Chief of Testing and Mr. Davis and Mr. O'Donovan, of the Designs Department. There are scenes from the inside of the factory showing the employees at work and transmitters. The engineer here is Mr. R.S. Whiteman. Further exterior views show a radio mast. Mr. E.E. Triggs, a valve testing engineer, holds up a small valve in his fingers. There is a larger valve standing on the floor. The film shows crystal grinding and there are shots of women workers at work in the factory. Some larger broadcasting equipment is shown to the camera. Mr. Ditcham, an early wireless announcer features. There is a brief shot of an early wire recorder followed by more workshop scenes. Testing radio equipment at Broomfield is followed by workers leaving the factory, mostly on bicycle. There are vendors and hawkers outside the factory, trying to sell to the workers as they leave. The film shows the employees sports ground where a hockey match is in progress. The film ends with street scenes from Chelmsford. These show various modes of transport including buses and cars. A policeman directs traffic. The Saracens Head Hotel and the Norwich Union Offices on High Street are seen. As a joke about charity collections, the intertitle 'Chelmsford on a Flag Day' is followed by scenes of empty streets.

Background Information:

Guglielmo Marconi was born in Bologna, Italy in 1874 of an Italian father and Irish mother. By 1895 he had succeeded in transmitting signals over a few yards. Later that year he could send signals over 1 3/4 miles. Having gained no support from the Italian government, he came to England and patented his work in England in 1896. The following year, radio communication was established across the Bristol Channel. In 1898 he formed the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company. In 1899 he acquired premises on Hall Street, Chelmsford. That year he also established signals across the English Channel. In 1901 he first succeeded in sending radio signals across the Atlantic. One of the company's problems was finding trained staff. In 1901 the company opened the first Wireless School at Frinton-on-Sea. This developed into the Marconi College, now in Chelmsford. In 1912 new premises were built in New Street, Chelmsford, the first purpose built radio factory in the world. George Jessel-Broome was a senior manager at Marconi. He was in charge of erecting wireless transmission stations all over the world. He made other films for Marconi about these aerials. These films are held by the Reuters' film library. W.T. Ditcham was a Marconi engineer. In 1919 his voice was used in the first East-West transatlantic transmission. On 15th June, 19120, Dame Nellie Melba broadcast a song recital from Marconi's factory in Chelmsford. This was the first advertised public broadcast programme in Britain. These transmissions were made under a general licence allowing for experimentation. Permission for entertainment demonstrations was soon withdrawn on the grounds that they interfered with legitimate services.Marconi himself was not particularly interested in developing television. In 1934 the television interests of Marconi were merged with EMI Ltd. By 1936, a system had been developed by the BBC for its public high definition television service.During his lifetime, Marconi won the Nobel Prize for Physics, The Albert Medal of the Royal Society Of Arts, The Kelvin Medal, and election to the presidency of the Italian Royal Academy and the Italian National Scientific Research Council. He died in Rome in 1937.

Featured People:

Mr. W.J. Davis ; Mr. W.T. Ditcham; Mr. Norman Lea; Mr. D. O'Donovan.Mr. E.E. Triggs ; Mr. R.S. Whiteman

Featured Organisations:

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company

Featured Buildings:

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company; Saracens Head Hotel

George Jessel-Broome

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