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CORPORATE and SUPPORT

Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 6 years, 8 months ago

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 Introduction

In addition to the Product Divisions designing, engineering and selling equipment the Company had other equally important divisions and functions to ensure its smooth and effective operation, working on behalf of corporate management and in support of divisional management's day-to-day business activities. These ranged from front-end activities such as Publicity and Travel through Manufacturing to Transport for deliveries to customers, Field Services on-site for installation and maintenance with a requirement for Documentation, all calling on back-end Secretarial, Accounting and Personnel facilities, which included training for staff and shop floor with particular emphasis on Apprenticeships.  Some of these operations had both central and individual components, others one or the other depending on both product type and geographical location.  The evolution of these activities and their detailed operation are covered in the following sections.

 

Background

The life of the Company developed through several major stages; its formation in 1897 as "The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company Ltd" in London; the opening in 1898 in Chelmsford of the Hall Street factory, the first wireless factory in the world; a significant change in 1900 to "The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company" coupled with the important founding of "The Marconi International Marine Company"; the opening in 1912 of the New Street Works in Chelmsford, the first purpose-built wireless factory, and the corporate headquarters Marconi House in London; the opening in 1920 of Marconi College, establishing the in-house training of staff and customer personnel; the enforced amalgamation in 1929 with Associated Cable resulting in ownership by Cable and Wireless (Holding); the opening in 1939 of Baddow Laboratories to consolidate research activities; the enforced takeover in 1948 by English Electric triggering the first major reorganisation which resulted in massive expansion over the next seventeen years  - illustrated in these articles  1. 2. - and in 1965 the second reoganisation; the merger of English Electric and GEC  in 1968 created GEC-Marconi Electronics resulting in a group of individual trading companies in 1969 which successfully lasted until 1990; there followed a series of management changes, restructuring and sell-offs until in 1999 GEC changed its name to Marconi Corporation and the Company effectively disappeared.

 

It was a consequence of this progressive development that the governing structure evolved into the mix of technical, administrative and personal skills and jobs that typified the Company. However, there was the vital thread maintained throughout all of these changes, namely the close-knit relationship between management, staff and workforce, that operated within the internal structure of the Company that provided the drivers for the resulting high quality of the products and the service to customers. The prevailing feeling was of all being members of a family, and in fact there are many examples of four generations of an actual family being simultaneously employed. This aspect is illustrated in the Foreword to this wiki and indeed in its title. This link continued during and after completing service through the inauguration in 1928 of the Marconi Veterans Association which employees were eligible to join after 25 years service, and many members remained in employment many years beyond this (the qualifying period was reduced to 21 years in the final life of the Company). Now the informal forums and wikis have continued the tradition and attract both surviving and family members who can make online contact through this open website. In particular already nearly a thousand  ex-apprentices have joined the Marconi Old Fellows Society through this site.

 

Sections

Central Division  1. 2.

Packing and Transport

Carpenters

Instrument Shop

Skating Rink

Nursing Division

Fire Team

Plant Engineers

Riggers

Marconi College

 


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