Marconi in Wales

Marconi in Wales

Parent & Teacher Guidance
Marconi in Wales

Wales has an important place in the history of communication.

Did you know that one of the world’s greatest inventors carried out much of his work around the coast of Wales, both in the north and south? Though this gentleman was of Italian birth he spent much of his youth working with British born scientists and inventors here, including in Wales. His name became famous as he was one of the pioneers of radio communication. He is considered to be the inventor of radio telegraphy.

Guglielmo Marconi commenced an experiment in which he attempted to transmit Morse Code signals across the Bristol Channel to the island of Flat Holm in 1897. He was seen by many onlookers as somewhat eccentric however his perseverance paid off when the first message was transmitted, and an answer was received from his team on the Island where he installed a similar set of equipment.

The radio equipment became very popular and Marconi Radio Telegraphy was eventually used by luxury liners around the world. Eventually in 1914 he managed to transmit Morse Code all the way to north America. His transmitting station at Waunfawr, approximately 6 kilometres east of Caernarfon, near the Snowdonia National Park was a very sturdy building. During World War 1 (1914-1918) it was heavily guarded by British soldiers as it was seen a very sensitive military site of significant importance for communication.

In July 1910 there was an extraordinary story in the national newspapers of the wonder of the first “wireless” arrest being made on a ship as a result of a radio telegraph message in morse code.

Marconi’s equipment was also involved in the saving of lives. Most people will have heard the true story of the tragic loss of the Titanic. The ship was on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic when it hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on the April 15th 1912. Some 1500 people lost their life that night, but more lives could have been lost. As the ship began to sink the radio operators Bride and Phillips stayed in what was known as the “Marconi Room” on board the Titanic and continued to put out a “mayday” call or SOS message by radio telegraphy. Other ships in the area including the RMS Carapathia picked up the radio telegraph message also called “marconigrams” and were able to pick up over 700 survivors from lifeboats including those clinging on to floating wreckage just as the dawn was breaking.

Recently Marconi and the Titanic have been in the news again. The Smithsonian Museum in New York recently reported that divers are proposing to cut into the Marconi Room which is still in the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor. They wish to recover the Marconi equipment and put it on display in the museum.

Relatives of those who perished and others are arguing that the ship should be left undisturbed as it is a “sea grave” and bodies of the unfortunate people who were never rescued or recovered should be left to “rest in peace”.

Something, typically a process or device, that has been created from an idea by a person or team.
Morse Code
Morse code is a method used in telecommunication to communicate text through a sequence of dots and dashes.
Kilometer is a unit of length in the metric system equal to one thousand metres.
A polite way of saying someone has died most commonly in an accident
Radio Telegraphy
The sending of messages usually by Morse Code using radio waves from one place to another
Smithsonian Museum
An important and very large institiution of museums, galleries and zoo in the United States of America
Diary entry
News article
News article
Image & text