Sunday, 29 March 2015

Have you visited Lizard Wireless Station?

Marconi's Lizard Wireless Station, above Housel Bay

If you walk the Lizard’s coastpath regularly, you’ll be familiar with the little black huts perched high on the cliffs above Housel Bay. These unassuming wooden buildings have an esteemed history, and can rightly claim their place in the story of modern communications.

It was here that young Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi proved beyond all doubt that wireless was going to work beyond the horizon, when in January 1901 he received a transmission from the Isle of Wight. Doubters thought radio waves would disappear off into space, but Marconi showed they infact followed the curvature of the Earth. He pushed the limits of this new technology rapidly, and only 11 months later he completed the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission from nearby Poldhu to Newfoundland, to great applaud.

Lizard Wireless Station moved from being an experimental station to a commercial operation, handling ship to shore messages, in direct competition for a while with the Lloyds Signal Station next door at Bass Point. This distinctive white castellated building communicated with ships via flags and had a telegraph cable on to Falmouth and beyond. History has shown which of radio and flags won out in the end!

After claiming its spot in communications history, Lizard Wireless Station faded into obscurity. It was bought as a dilapidated holiday home in the 1990s, and it is 15 years since the National Trust started to renovate and restore the station. It reopened as a little museum in time for the centenary of its January 1901 over the horizon transmission, and we haven’t looked back since!

Take a tour inside the station today with one of our guides

From the beginning of April until the end of October 2015 our opening will be Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 12 noon – 3pm weather permitting. Come along to see just how the station would have looked in Marconi’s day, and hear some fascinating tales from our knowledgeable volunteer guides. Entry is free, but donations are welcome. There is no vehicular access to the station (but do call if you have mobility difficulties and we can make special arrangements) so the best way to arrive is on foot, via ½ mile of spectacular coastpath from Lizard Point, or from Lizard Village via Housel Bay lane.

Cwmbran Amateur Radio Society visit March 2015

If you live locally, have an interest in history, like chatting to people, and can spare as little as 3 hours a month, we would love to hear from you, as we are always on the look out for more folk to join our dedicated team of volunteer guides so we can expand our opening and welcome more visitors. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a radio expert! Please do get in touch on 01326 291174 if this interests you.

And if you have never visited Lizard Wireless Station? Easter is almost here, so do pop in and see us this season!


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