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This was our pitch to Caroline Dinenage in January 2020 - the minister listed as responsible for Festival 2022 - and most other aspects of the BBB2022 proposal...


Minister of State (Minister for Digital and Culture)

  • Online Harms and Security
  • Digital and Tech Policy including digital skills
  • Creative Industries
  • Arts and Libraries
  • Museums and Cultural Property
  • Festival 2022

(also copied to The Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, Minister of State at the  DCMS with responsibility for broadcasting and media - and whose Maldon constituency contains historic Marconi locations. Also copied to Chelmsford MP, Vicky Ford - the constituency where all the main Marconi development and manufacturing action took place).


Dear Ms Dinenage

I am aware of the protocol for routing MP contact, but this is not any sort of regular constituency matter.

I see that you have inter-alia picked up the responsibility for Festival 2022!

I got the impression as Mrs May was making the original “fuzzy” announcement that it was going to be a political challenge to find a focus and deliver demonstrable taxpayer value.

But as it happens, a Marconi company skunkworks operating from a hut in Writtle (Chelmsford -10 miles from me here) in February 1922, accidentally invented the compèred studio broadcast.

There is an important distinction - Radio was discovered (not invented!) by maybe 10 separate groups of physicists experimenting with electricity and magnetism at the end of the 19th century in as many countries – Marconi was one of the best known and most commercially astute  – but “Broadcasting” was definitively created when a Marconi manager - Capt Peter Eckersley connected the technology of wireless with the idea of content (and audience) in 1922.  Up to then, radio had not really gelled outside the nerd community – but this moment transcended the technicalities, and took “wireless” into every living room. This of course lead directly into the creation of BBC.

If that is not a perfect theme for Festival 2022 – unifying all the aspects of DCMS - I do not know what is.

I have done some work outlining a proposition that even suggests an ideal location in Chelmsford’s Hylands Park – 500 acres with a glorious Repton Palladian Mansion – but it is a serious commercial challenge for Chelmsford City Council. 30 acres of Hylands would be ideal for a permanent exhibition and companion techno park. 

Marconi and broadcast is not just about former glory and historical perspective, there is are significant future opportunities that can provide positive diversions from the hysterical reaction to the BBC makeover proposals from the BBC’s vast media lobby. 

“…In fact, the only good bit of news comes for the BBC World Service, which The Sunday Times is predicting will receive heavier investment.“

There is new radio platform technology (field proven at scale in India) that re-validates the whole idea of radio as valid in spite of assumptions that online and streaming have taken the entire market - although radio is the only “on the move option”.

Online and cellular are throwing up ever more challenges around security, reliability and sustainability in times of emergency. But the new radio broadcast platform has created  the opportunity “to pass” every citizen on the planet at cost to a broadcaster of 0.1p per listener where receivers cost from £15 – and could include patented UK technology.

Content was and remains, King. A revamped World Service delivering via this platform should be a route into the lives of billions of listeners and open new markets for creative British Businesses.

I have lots more to add, but for now I would like to observe that Marconi Chelmsford provided the radio on the Titanic that saved many of the unfortunate victims.  The City that built the ship that sank has thus far received £100m in funding for the Titanic exhibition.

So can I please talk to the team on this project and see if I cannot get some of the funding allocated to “Marconi’s World of Wireless and Broadcast” ?

Best regards