IT'S doubtful whether even Marconi, listening on Signal Hill, St. John’s, Newfoundland
in 1901 could have imagined the significance of an extremely short signal he had
just received, nor what it would lead to.
From little acorns.... that first transatlantic radio signal introduced everything
from broadcasting to satellite communications, mobile phones, broadband, the internet
and the world wide web - and Poldhu was at the forefront of it all.
The Marconi Centre Poldhu, Cornwall
Marconi's pioneering work cannot be overstated and his genius and legacy is physically
commemorated by the Marconi Centre, just a few yards away from the site of that original
transmission, still overlooking Poldhu Cove.
The Marconi Centre was built to commemorate the Centenary of that momentous event
and was opened on the 12th December 2001. At four pm local time, exactly one hundred
years later, Lady Mary Holborow, the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, sent the three
dots of the letter ‘s’ and this signal was received at St. John’s. This time, however,
the signal was sent by amateur radio rather than by a spark transmitter!
Visitors can watch a short video presentation showing the significance of Poldhu
and Marconi’s work and can then gain further information from well-designed wall
panels. There are short wave radios to listen to and it is well worthwhile to take
an interpretation sheet for a self-guided tour of the adjoining field, where the
ruins of the old transmitter building can be seen.
The building is owned and maintained by the National Trust and run by the Poldhu
Amateur Radio Club. Admission is free, but the Radio Club do have expenses involved
in opening it. A donation is much appreciated!
There is also an extensive range of souvenirs available. The Centre is manned by
volunteer members of the Radio Club, who are only too happy to share their enthusiasm.