Marconi Open Day

Hello again. Well, what a day we had at St Lawrence on Saturday, May 20th! The moment 10 am struck visitors started to pour into the little former church. We had arrived earlier – members of the Barry Amateur Radio and the Vintage Radio Societies at about 8.30 am; they were setting up an aerial in the churchyard and running an electricity cable from the neighbouring Church House’s garage to St Lawrence. That was to provide juice to the BARS radio desk set up in the former chancel; we used three 2.5 litre Thermos Pots for visitors’ hot drinks…which soon emptied themselves, so Michael Lawrence popped up to Pat Jerome’s Garage for replenishment, and later in the day, to Rob and Madeline next door in Church House. The biscuits were welcome, too.

One very obvious feature of Saturday morning was the nearly incessant rain, but – alleluia! – it didn’t seem to deter the many hardy souls who turned up. As for those of us who manned (and womanned?) the church, Helen Joy was with Michael and me for most of the day, supplemented from time to time by Elizabeth Wreford, Pete Bird and Sheerine Davies, other members of the Working Group that set up most of the artefacts, the timeline and the kite corner, as well as organising the day. Trustees Maureen Kelly Owen and Julian Owen and Secretary Carole Alexander came around lunch time. Ken, Phil, Gordon, Bernie and other members of BARS stayed all day, as did Merfyn of the VRS, chatting away almost continuously with the many (200+?) visitors.

Ken Eaton’s NASA onesy and mission operations jacket were too tempting for Helen and Sheerine who donned them and entertained us with their antics. Ken’s NASA Visitor’s Pass was admired, too. Messages were sent via short wave radio and distances demonstrated on computer (wi-fi supplied through a dongle).

To everyone’s delight the sun broke through the cloud in the afternoon and brightened and warmed us up. The AA were summoned to attend to Mary Ponting’s car which had sadly blown a gasket (or something similar) in getting to us from Cowbridge. Her father and Dr Joan Andrew were obliged to revisit our display more than once as they awaited the AA mechanic; but eventually they were able to sail (sorry, motor) off into the sunset.

That’s enough from me, I think, until the next inspiration I get. My thanks go to everyone who gathered at the former church on Saturday and made such a success of the day, especially in terms of rejoicing in Marconi’s legacy and that of the other brilliant engineering pioneers we highlighted in our timeline.

For a detailed account of what we had on offer in the old church, please click on News & Events and, for photos, the Gallery page.

Finally, Helen Joy interviewed me about Marconi, etc. on Monday, 22nd on her Radio Cardiff Show ‘Cardiff at One’ at 1.05 pm. Here is a link if you are brave enough: