Writtle History


Captain P.P. Eckersley

In 1922 from a wooden hut in Writtle, Captain P.P. Eckersley, who worked for Marconi, broadcast a "one man show". The name of the station was 2 M T.
The Captain, likeable and quite a character, obviously added great appeal to these very first regular public entertainment broadcasts. He broadcast music and live singers from Writtle, contrasting sharply to the "reading train timetables" tests! Although the purpose of this station was to test industry knowledge of radio transmitter, receiver, antenna technology and the behavior of the "ether", generally, Captain P.P. Eckersley may well have pioneered entertainment radio. He was almost certainly the first Disc Jockey! Amateur Radio Operators, "HAMS" were also eager to take part in this exciting project as well as rich people who could afford to buy the expensive radios receivers.

The Maconi Station 2MT Writtle had been granted a licence to transmit using 500 watts. This wattage had to include the power to heat the filaments of the valves, which took 2 Kilowatts alone! Captain Eckersley commented that they still owed the Postmaster General 1500 watts!

The "long low hut full of long low people" as the Captain humorously recalled was then moved to King's Road School, Chelmsford, in 1978, with a commemorative plaque. It remained until around 1990. The hut was then moved to Sandford Mill where it  was restored to its former glory for a radio exhibition in the Mill's engine house, it remains there today, with displays celebrating Chelmsford's radio history, as well as a "hands on" display of science and technology. The 2MT Hut and other displays are available to visitors by appointment.

did you know?

In 1895 Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi built the equipment and transmitted electrical signals through the air from one end of his house to the other, and then from the house to the garden. These experiments were, in effect, the dawn of practical wireless telegraphy or radio.

Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi was born in Bologna, Italy. His father was Italian, his mother, Irish. He was educated first in Bologna and later in Florence. Then he went to the technical school in Leghorn, where he studied physics.

Following the successes of his experiments at home, Marconi became obsessed with the idea of sending messages across the Atlantic. He built a transmitter, 100 times more powerful than any previous station, at Poldhu, on the southwest tip of England, and in November 1901 installed a receiving station at St. John's Newfoundland.

On December 12, 1901, he received signals from across the ocean. News of this achievement spread around the world, and he was acclaimed by outstanding scientists, including Thomas A. Edison.

Marconi received many honors including the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909. He was sent as a delegate to the Peace Conference in Paris in 1919, in which capacity he signed the peace treaties with Austria and Bulgaria.


Did you know?


Twice a year the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society operate an Amateur Radio station from the original 2MT hut which is now at the Sandford Mill Museum.

Website of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society;