Provided Marconi with hardware

AS A committee member of Weston Radio Society I have been asked to respond to the letter from Mr Westman in your issue of July 3. Mr Westman is quite correct in saying that the transmission across the Bristol Channel in 1897 was from Lavernock Point to B

AS A committee member of Weston Radio Society I have been asked to respond to the letter from Mr Westman in your issue of July 3. Mr Westman is quite correct in saying that the transmission across the Bristol Channel in 1897 was from Lavernock Point to Brean Down. However, I cannot accept Mr Westman's implication that Weston played no part in this historic event. It is recorded that Mr Leaver's ironmongery business, then located in High Street, provided Marconi with hardware and that Mr Badman, an electrical engineer in Weston, used to charge his batteries. Boatman Frank Watts, who was also coxswain of the Weston Lifeboat at that time, was employed to ferry men and equipment to Brean Down and Flat Holm.It could be argued it need not have been Marconi who personally took advantage of these facilities. But I do believe there are other indications of his visits. I have read he was affectionately referred to in the town as 'that foreign-looking young gentleman', and that many locals came into contact with him. While in Weston it was said he stayed at the coastguard cottages at Uphill. Also I remember seeing somewhere (in an old edition of the Mercury?) a photograph of him with a local resident apparently admiring the latter's motorcycle. If he did stay in Weston it would seem unlikely that he would not take the opportunity to visit the Brean Down site. In 1997 the Radio Society celebrated the centenary of the 1897 event by operating a special event amateur radio station on Brean Down. I was chairman at the time and arranged for permission from the National Trust to do this. About 2,000 other amateur radio stations were contacted worldwide, each one being sent a special card to confirm the contact. Sedgemoor District Council generously contributed to the printing costs. STEPHEN COLE - Bridgwater Road, Sidcot


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