On the 15th June 1920, the world-famous Australian singer, Dame Nellie Melba, broadcast a song recital from the Marconi Works in Chelmsford. This was the world’s first advertised broadcast, the very beginning of radio broadcasting for the general public.
Up to that time the experimental broadcasts from Chelmsford were largely received by amateur radio enthusiasts, many having made their own “cat’s whisker” crystal receivers.
After the Melba broadcast, there was a dramatic upsurge in the demand for further entertainment programs.
The Post Master General, whose job it was to control the airwaves, was not amused. In November of that same year he suspended all broadcasts from the Marconi Works on the grounds that they would “interfere with legitimate services”. In other words, he wanted control of all radio communications.
It was another two years before permission was given to the Marconi company to recommence public broadcasts from their experimental station at Writtle. The call sign of this station was 2MT, better known as “Two Emma Toc”.
I joined the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company in 1942 and I remember meeting men who had worked alongside Marconi at Writtle.
During my 45 years with the company, I was privileged to work 16 of those years at the same historic site, originally located in the wooden WWI huts which the great man himself used as laboratories.
Politicians please note, Guglielmo Marconi was Italian. I’m so glad he was allowed to come to this country, thus providing employment to many thousands, and entertainment to many millions.