|[26 MAR 99] MARCONI
COMMUNICATIONS PRESS RELEASE
Marconi Celebrates Radio World First
global information age was born exactly 100 years ago tomorrow, when Guglielmo Marconi
sent the first radio message from one country to another.
On 27 March 1899 the communications pioneer himself sent a
wireless message in Morse code 32 miles across the English Channel from Wimereux, near
Boulogne, to the South Foreland Lighthouse, near Dover.
To commemorate the event Marconi's historic transmission
will be re-enacted tomorrow in the presence of his daughter, the Princess Elettra Marconi.
A group of radio amateurs will send the historic message once more using the special radio
callsign GB100SFL, with the co-operation of the National Trust, custodian of the
lighthouse, and sponsorship by Marconi Communications.
Mike Parton, Coventry-based managing director of Marconi
"Today's information society has everything to thank
Marconi for; although there were landline communications before his crucial transmission
100 years ago, it was the unlocking of the airwaves (then the most advanced technology
available) that made mass-communication between continents a reality. On this basis the
crucial importance of this first international contact cannot be underestimated; it was
the first milestone along the road to creating a global village.
"Our company is extremely pleased to help celebrate
this milestone and his achievement and it is particularly fitting at a time when the new
Marconi Communications, heir to his genius, is still breaking new ground in state of the
art communications technology."
The South Foreland Lighthouse will be open 27-28 March from
10.30-17.30 and 29 March-2 April from 12.30-17.30. Members of the public are most welcome
to come along and join in the celebration.
Paul Pontone, Public Affairs Manager for the National Trust
in Kent and East Sussex, said:
"We look forward to seeing many visitors on the day
and over the following week. They can participate in the Marconi reconstruction, discover
the lighthouse's fascinating history and climb to the top for stunning views over the
surrounding countryside and even across to France!"
Marconi Communications is a world leader in smart broadband
transmission and network integration. Based in the UK and Italy, it has sales to more than
140 countries and is wholly owned by GEC, a global manufacturer of intelligent electronic
The National Trust is the country's leading conservation
charity. It was founded in 1895 to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty
permanently for the nation to enjoy. The National Trust:
- is independent of government
- relies solely on the generosity of its supporters, through
membership subscriptions, gifts, legacies and the contribution of many thousands of
- protects and opens to the public over 200 historic houses
and gardens and 49 industrial monuments and mills
- owns more than 603, 000 acres of the most beautiful
countryside and 575 miles of outstanding coast for people to enjoy
- has the unique statutory power to declare land inalienable -
such land cannot be sold, mortgaged or compulsorily purchased against the Trust's wishes
without parliamentary procedure. This special power means that protection by the Trust is
for ever for everyone.
The radio amateurs involved in the re-enactment ceremony
are all members of the Barry Amateur Radio Society and have decided to enter the spirit of
the occasion by wearing period Victorian costume. Self-declared 'Marconiphiles', they will
use a self-built replica of Marconi's transmitter to send messages to other amateurs
Marconi Communications Press Office
Steve Judd at The National Trust on 0468 027034
Glyn Jones at the Barry Amateur Radio Society on 01446 774522.