The Marconi Centre

  • It is hard to imagine the tension felt by Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) and his colleagues when they received an extremely short signal from Poldhu (3 dots representing code letter "s") whilst listening in at Signal Hill, St John's, Newfoundland on 12 December 1901.   Marconi had previously intended to transmit from Poldhu to  Cape Cod, Massachusetts but prior to the event both transmitters were damaged in storms and Marconi changed the North American destination to St John's.
  • In 1899 the Royal Navy purchased three radios for their ships and several merchant ships followed suit.  It was common belief that radio waves could travel around the earth's curvature but could only travel along straight lines.  Marconi was determined to disprove this. 
  • In 1910 Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen boarded the SS "Montrose" bound for Quebec, with his mistress, Ethel le Neve having murdered his wife in London.  However, Inspector Dew of Scotland Yard contacted the Captain via the new fangled radio and taking a faster ship, SS "Laurentic" intercepted the couple on the St Lawrence River.
  • In 1912 Marconi was offered a free ticket on the wonderful new liner RMS "Titanic" but was too busy at the time and ironically travelled on RMS "Lusitania" instead (torpedoed  7 May 1915).  Although too many lives were lost after the "Titanic" struck an iceberg on 15 April 1912, those who were saved had radio to thank as the Marconi Station at Chatham, Massachusetts was able to alert RMS "Carpathia" which sped towards the disaster site. Although the ship had already sunk, "Carpathia" was able to pick up the remaining survivors.  International law changed for passenger ships after this event.  Radio watches were on hand 24 hours a day and vessels had to carry enough lifeboats for all on board. 
  • The 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.