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Page history last edited by Alan Hartley-Smith 1 year, 10 months ago



A Timeline of all the different ownerships related to the Marconi Company as a whole is available as a pdf file.

Please note - subsequent to publication the author has notified that errors and omissions have been identified so please treat content with caution, but it is nevertheless a useful guide.  


Here is a condensed timeline for the GEC-Marconi relationship


This chronology is work-in-progress (note version number and date) so always verify independently if using content for any specific purpose. If you can provide corrections or additions please email them. 


WJB - The History of the Marconi Company – WJ Baker – 1970

GG – Marconi a War Record – George Godwin - 1946


Version 16 - January 2022


There are links to specific details incorporated in the entries for many dates.





1897 The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company Ltd. is founded in London on 20th July
1898 Wireless factory opens in Hall Street Chelmsford  
1899 The Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America is formed


Name changes to Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company (MWT) Ltd. on 24th March


The Marconi International Marine Communication Company Limited (MIMCO) founded as a subsidiary of MWT Ltd., to administer the maritime wireless services then being established. It became prominent in the provision of radio officers for merchant shipping. [Editors note - after a number of new owners this has now "returned home" in the form of SIRM.]

1901 Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Training College set up
1901 First transatlantic radio transmission. A temporary receiving station at Signal Hill, Newfoundland, received a Morse code signal representing the letter "S" sent from Poldhu, in Cornwall, United Kingdom.  
1903 Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada incorporated  
1907 First commercial transatlantic radio communications between the Marconi high power long wave wireless telegraphy stations in Clifden, Ireland and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
1911 First publication of "The Marconigraph" later "Wireless World" as a public periodical  
1912 Marconi House opens in London  






1914 - 18

The Marconi Works at New Street, Chelmsford were designed and erected to replace the works at Hall Street, which had become inadequate for the needs of the growing Company. New Street was the first purpose-built radio factory in the world and ultimately became the Marconi Company headquarters. The site, part of which faces onto New Street and is Grade II listed, remained a Marconi site until 2008

First World War - extensive use of wireless by all three armed services - details

1920 In June the MWT Company was licensed to conduct an experimental wireless broadcast from the New Street Works factory, featuring Dame Nellie Melba. The centenary is being celebrated in 2020.

In February the MWT Company was issued a licence for experimental transmissions under the call sign 2MT . Peter Eckersley was given charge of providing both the broadcast entertainment and the engineering. The station operated out of a hut in a field at Writtle near Chelmsford, commemorated in 2012 by a special event  (very large file download). Further events are planned for 2022, and there will also be celebrations of the formation of the BBC

1922 In May the MWT Company was issued another licence for experimental broadcasts from a station identified as 2LO which was located at Marconi House in the Strand, London. The programme consisted of a boxing commentary of the fight between Kid Lewis and Georges Carpentier. Further tests were also advertised as demonstrations of "Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony" which were "subject to permission from the Postmaster General". These demonstrations were performed by the "Demonstration Department (of) Marconi's London Wireless Station 2LO". Following a chequered  career the transmitter is now held in the Science Museum
1929 Vacuum laboratory created at New Street which eventually led to MO and EEV  







Associated Cable Companies and The Marconi Company forced by government intervention into a complex amalgamation which resulted in Marconi being owned by Cables and Wireless (Holding) Ltd. with a second new company, Imperial and International Communications Ltd. (later renamed Cable and Wireless Ltd.) acquiring the rights to traffic undertakings, assets and licences. This meant Marconi lost the revenue from its message handling, a severe blow.

Marconi-Ekco Instruments formed as a private company




The Marconi Research Laboratories open in Great Baddow,

Marconi-Ekco Instruments bought out to form Marconi Instruments Ltd.



Baddow Laboratories taken over by Air Ministry, Admiralty and also become an operational RAF station.

Instrument Section plus Eckersley Group become the Kemp Group

(Comment by WJB (1970)

These measures, while necessary to the war effort, were a serious blow to the Company as a private manufacturer. Quite apart from the loss of research staff and loss of independent control over the laboratories, the patents taken out by the seconded staff became the property of the Ministry concerned, and as one minor result the Company’s real contribution to the war effort in this connection is masked.)





Following a review of the company’s commercial position from 1943 and the decision by the 1945 Commonwealth Telecommunications Conference to nationalise the activities of the Cable and Wireless Company the Marconi companies are purchased by the English Electric Company.



F.N.Sutherland appointed General Manager of Marconi



Creation of six new divisions. Each has its own engineering and sales forces with full business authority, drawing on the resources of a common works floor.



R.J.Kemp appointed Chief of Research for Marconi with Dr. Eric Eastwood as Deputy.


1963 MWT changes to The Marconi Company Ltd. on 19th August


The Marconi Company is split into three main groups



In  November 1967, the General Electric Company acquires Associated Electrical Industries,



English Electric - parent of Marconi since 1946, and recently owner of Elliott Automation - merges with GEC. This results in a collective of the whole UK electronics industry





New company structure implemented with units becoming independent trading entities.


A major restructuring within the GEC-Marconi Electronics Group brought MCSL, Marconi Radar, Marconi Space and Defence Systems, Marconi Electronic Devices and McMichael Llmited together as The Marconi Company Limited under the Chairmanship of Sir Robert Telford C.B.E. also as a Director of GEC and Managing Director of GEC-Marconi responsible for the management of the major electronics interests of GEC. The Managing Director of The Marconi Company is Mr. Arthur Walsh C.B.E. who was formerly Managing Director of Marconi Space and Defence Systems.

1990 The Marconi Company Ltd changes to GEC-Marconi Ltd on 24th April

GPT changes to Marconi Communications Ltd


GEC-Marconi Ltd changes to Marconi Electronic Systems Ltd on 4th September


Marconi Electronic Systems Ltd acquired by British Aerospace and merged to become BAe Systems Electronics Ltd on 23rd February 2000


The Marconi Research Laboratories changes to BAe Systems Advanced Technology Centre Great Baddow no longer has a Marconi presence after 60 years.


Following the merger of Marconi Electronic Systems business with British Aerospace GEC acquires the US telecommunication network products company RELTEC, and announces the proposed acquisition of US internet switching equipment company FORE Systems. In November, GEC changes name to Marconi Corporation plc

















Marconi Selenia Communications Ltd changes to Selenia Communications Ltd

New Street factory no longer a Marconi establishment after 92 years - only the name

remains carved over the front door of the preserved front office building.   











The Marconi name and most of the assets were bought by the Swedish firm Ericsson on January 23, effective as per January 1. The Marconi name to still be used as a brand within Ericsson.


The remainder of Marconi Corporation plc changes to Telent plc

The end of an era after 106 years but the name had outlasted all of its rivals

 Last public edition of "Electronics World" - the final manifestation of "The Marconigraph" after a century on the news-stands.

BAe Systems Advanced Technology Centre Great Baddow sold with front building leased back by BAe Applied Intelligence Laboratories, now known as Chelmsford Technology Park.












Comments (2)

David Samways said

at 3:32 am on Feb 23, 2016

Link to condensed timeline for the GEC-Marconi relationship 1937-1999 not working.

Alan Hartley-Smith said

at 12:08 pm on Feb 23, 2016

All the links to this site have gone down - I'm seeking explanation

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