• Home
  • News
  • Exhibition celebrates Chelmsford innovation
Chelmsford Innovation: Marconi and Beyond

Exhibition celebrates Chelmsford innovation

Throughout June and July 2022, ARU hosted a special exhibition showcasing Chelmsford innovation from the last 100 years to the present day.

Chelmsford has been a world-renowned centre of scientific and technological innovation for well over 100 years, and still is today. Among other things, Chelmsford is home to the world's first wireless (later radio) factory, the world's first river water treatment plant and the world's first colour digital camera – and that's just from within the last century. Today, companies in Chelmsford continue to build the technology of the future, with high-tech developments in fields as diverse as space, healthcare, communications and defence. The impact of industry in Chelmsford on all of our lives is incredible.

A collaboration between ARU, CSES, Chelmsford Civic Society and the Marconi Veterans' Association, this exhibition told a part of that story, revealing how household names such as Marconi are echoed in the modern age.

Exhibits from Teledyne e2v, Tim Wander, the Marconi Veterans, CARS (Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society), Paul Green (radi0paul), BBC Essex, the Sandford Mill volunteers and a number of privately held collections – covering 1885 to 2022 – showed just how Chelmsford has been at the forefront of innovation, from some of the earliest wireless telegraphy and voice communication equipment right up to today's leading imaging and microwave systems. Nearly all the items on display were invented or created in Chelmsford, and some people present will have worked on them! The story of broadcast, which also began in Chelmsford in 1920-22, was celebrated with a special appearance from Dave Monk (BBC Essex) with a school party, and a wealth of visual displays contributed by Essex Record Office, the Marconi Museum in Bologna and others accompanied the artefacts.

CSES was delighted to include the exhibition in Do and Discover weekend on 25/26 June, with special activities for families and children and a world-class thermal imaging demonstration from Leonardo, and to give the winners of our 2022 TEXPO a private viewing of the exhibition at our awards evening.

Our sincere thanks and congratulations go to Pam Swaby of Chelmsford Civic Society and Helen Sheen of ARU, without whom the exhibition simply wouldn't have happened. A final word from Pam:

We were overwhelmed by the generosity of ARU and pleased to see so many visitors engaging. It was heart-warming to see children bringing their parents and grandparents ... keen to indulge in the history of Marconi, where they enjoyed working.

CSES looks forward to working further with Chelmsford Civic Society, ARU and others to develop this into a more permanent community asset that celebrates Chelmsford's industrial heritage, and brings science and technology to life for families across Essex. Watch this space!

Print Email