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Guglielmo Marconi

1874 -1937

Marconi (Wikipedia)

Plaque to commemorate Marconi Station at the Needles, Isle of Wight.

Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor and pioneer of radio transmission. He worked from an early age on the idea of ‘wireless telegraphy’, the transmission of messages without connecting wires. He experimented using homemade equipment and eventually produced a signal that could be sent and received over two miles (3.2km) away. With improved antennae and transmitters further distances could be achieved.

The Italian government declined funding for development so he moved to London in 1896. The British Post Office saw its potential and soon he was sending messages over greater distances, even across the English Channel.

In 1897 he built a 168ft (51m) mast at Alum Bay on the west of the Island and set up a permanent wireless station at the Royal Needles Hotel. He soon realised the benefits of being able to transmit to ships from the shore.

He was invited to Osborne on 11th August 1898. Marconi installed radio equipment at the house. When Victoria saw him setting up in her private garden she ordered her staff to “Get another electrician.” It was explained to her that similar equipment was installed on the Royal Yacht which was moored off Cowes and that the Queen could soon communicate with the Prince of Wales who had injured his knee and was convalescing on board. Victoria showed her gratitude by inviting Marconi to lunch with her.

She sent, in morse code: “The Queen hopes the Prince has had a good night and hopes to be on board a little before five” A further 150 messages were exchanged during the two weeks of Marconi’s stay.

Marconi went on to develop successful radio communications worldwide.

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Funded by the

East Cowes Community Partnership