Marconi Revisited - Reflections of a Radio Pilgrim to Poldhu, Cornwall, England
by Virginia Dahms, KD9E

In April, 2002, I had the pleasure of revisiting Cornwall, England, which has special significance for radio enthusiasts throughout the world.

The author in Cornwall, England, ecstatic about finding the remote location of the Marconi Monument commemorating the famous transatlantic radio transmission in 1901. Photo by J.B. Dahms

Above tiny Poldhu Cove on the Lizard Peninsula in southwest Cornwall, England, the first transatlantic radio signal was sent across the ocean from Poldhu Wireless Station to Guglielmo Marconi at Signal Hill in St. John's Newfoundland , Canada on December 12, 1901.

Locating the Marconi site became an odyssey in itself and finding it was one of my goals during a recent trip to England. There was a distinct lack of signage as we homed in on the location that we thought must be near the famous Marconi site & granite monument overlooking the sea.

The road that wends past Poldhu Cove is a tiny rural road. I had heard and read that there was to have been a significant celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the famous Marconi transmission, and that a new structure had been built to house an interpretive center, but of it we could find no sign from any roads. A query to the local postman brought us closer until we located a small sign on white copy paper, indicating the existence of a Marconi Exhibit which we thought looked promising.

The new Marconi Center is a hike up a hill to the top of the cliff or a drive up a narrow road to a small set of parking spaces designated for handicapped visitors only or members of the Poldhu Amateur Radio Club. As we were were neither handicapped nor members, but as the area was entirely deserted, we parked there. Our quest led us to a brand-new building that looked to house transmitting equipment and exhibits, but it was closed up tightly that day. The visitors site is still in its developmental stages, so hopefully signage is forthcoming for future pilgrims to the site.

Either Keep Reading (more story below) or
Go to more Photographs and additional Marconi information

One of the present-day towers of the Poldhu Amateur Radio Club outside the newly-built Marconi Centre over- looking the sea in Cornwall, England.
Photo by Virginia Dahms

As a show of goodwill, we positioned my U. S. ham radio license visibly inside the windshield, hoping that if any Poldhu amateur radio brethren happened by, we would be forgiven for parking in the forbidden spots as we hiked off into the cow pasture where the ruins of the Poldhu Wireless Station lie. British ham operators are known for their hospitality and enthusiasm for visitors.

The photographs accompanying this article tell part of the Marconi story and show what is left of the original Poldhu Wireless Station which existed from 1900 - 1933, when it was taken down.

The new Marconi Centre at Poldhu was erected at a cost of £300,000, funded by the National Trust and Marconi plc to commemorate the Centenary of modern-day radio wave transmission. The Marconi Centre was given over to the Poldhu Amateur Radio Club to operate. The Centre was not open when I visited the area. For more information and opening times of the Marconi Centre you can visit the club's web site: Poldhu Amateur Radio Club

Go to more Photographs and additional Marconi information


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