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We are the 'Chelmsford Calling Network' - an enthusiast organization & somewhat grand title for yours truly Jim Salmon, friends & colleagues.
Previous projects include a number of local RSL's (short term limited coverage radio broadcasts) under the station name of 'Chelmsford Calling' with our unique radio programmes playing vintage music & comedy for the 'mature listener'.
Between July 2001 & February 2007 we carried out 4 successful broadcasts & a short lived community radio service. Chelmsford Calling then disappeared for some time - as all good things do !
We then entered the world of radio experimentation with amateur 'ham' radio, & as members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society have transmitted from an unusual wooden hut in Sandford Mill Museum - a hut with a curious history...
In 2014 & 2015 we produced the 'Chelmsford Calling World Service', a monthly one hour information & music programme broadcast on various outlets including short wave relay transmitters across America & Europe; an enjoyable return to broadcasting !
For some strange reason the history of the hut, & moreso the people who worked therein, has become intriguing. We were briefly aware of the '2MT' story over the years & recent research has raised our interest & curiosity, leaving us with an unusual idea.
In 1922 the team working at Writtle in a cold wooden hut in a sometimes waterlogged field appear to have been a fascinating group of enthusiastic, cheerful, high spirited, irreverent, young & very clever individuals. Not only did they go on to play major roles in the BBC & with Marconi, but they also - perhaps unintentionally - created the UK's first regular broadcast wireless station !
So here is our unusual idea... How about paying tribute to those Writtle hut pioneers with a radio project which revives the spirit of 2MT, & at the same time rekindles & brings to a new generation their passion for radio experimentation ?
Details of our first radio events are on this website (look at 'Broadcasts' in the menu above). We'll keep you posted on future events !
Here's a taste of one of our Chelmsford Calling broadcasts - reported on Anglia News
For further details of our radio activities visit our Chelmsford Calling Network / Chelmsford Calling World Service pages. Click on the logos below...
''I have chosen to think that ideas are more important than organizations, and, if that has been, as some might think, my mistake, it has nevertheless been my inspiration.''
Peter Eckersley - The Power Behind The Microphone
It is difficult to imagine how those young Marconi engineers felt in the early 1920's working in the relatively new world of radio communications - a time of exploration, discovery & achievement. The world of radio & technology has moved on to new levels, but many of the basic principles remain the same as in those early days.
2MT came about after the radio 'hams' of the day petitioned for a regular experimental wireless service. 'Hams' - amateur radio operators - shared the same passion for radio exploration & experimentation, & whilst 2MT has long ago passed into history, amateur radio is still alive & thriving.
It would be a fitting tribute to the 2MT team if we raised further awareness of technology & amateur radio & thus shared their enthusiasm & discoveries with new generations.
Here's two introductory videos giving an insight into today's fascinating world of amateur radio.
You can e-mail us at the following address :
NB - All items on this website have been obtained from the public domain & where possible we have gained permission for items published. Our intention is to acknowledge & celebrate the work of 2MT & those involved. If anything on this site gives cause for concern then please get in contact with us.
'Radio Emma Toc' & the websites 'www.emmatoc.co.uk' & 'www.emmatoc.com' are produced by the Chelmsford Calling Network - promoting & celebrating radio technology past, present & future. For further details, visit www.chelmsfordcalling.co.uk.
Information about 2MT is - not surprisingly - scarce ! We are looking back over 90 years at a radio station that existed for approximately 30 minute per week for less than 1 year ! That said, perhaps the information that actually is available gives some measure of the impression that this short lived station had at the time & later in the minds of those involved & those who listened.
A tremendous amount of research has been carried out over the years by author Tim Wander who worked for the Marconi Company & who has an obvious passion for not only the 2MT story but also the whole Marconi history. Tim has written various books relating to the Marconi story & I recommend his 2010 book (2nd edition) '2MT Writtle - The Birth Of British Broadcasting' as a comprehensive guide to the history of 2MT. See our 'Links' page for further details.
Other publications are rare to find. Interestingly, the next 2 on my list are not on the shelves of the Chelmsford Library, but thankfully the very helpful people there located copies from the British Library & other interlending libraries ! 'The Power Behind the Microphone' was written by Peter Pendleton Eckersley in 1941 & details his major involvement with the BBC & early broadcasting. 'Prospero's Wireless', written by his son Myles Eckersley & published in 1997, gives a fascinating insight into his father's life & achievements. Both books provide further observations on the 2MT story.
Audio sources are also rare. No actual recordings of 2MT were made at the time although the sound of the station was recreated by Peter Eckersley in later celebrations of the BBC & 2MT. 2 excellent documentaries were made in the 1980's - 'Sounds from the Ether' by BBC Essex & '60 Years of Radio' by Essex Radio. Both contain interesting interviews & the 2MT recreation recordings. A collection of gramophone recordings was also made of a lecture given to the BBC Engineering Society by Peter Eckersley & others including Noel Ashbridge & Rowland Wynn in 1960, with various lighthearted recollections of the time in Writtle.
Perhaps one of the best ways to experience the atmosphere of the 2MT Writtle 'long low hut' is to actually visit it ! We are fortunate that this has survived & is preserved in the excellent Sandford Mill Museum in Chelmsford, where on public open days you will often find members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society operating on the amateur radio bands, using traditional methods not far different from those early days together with current day technology. The history of the hut is well documented on display boards within.
An informative display board is also sited at Lawford Lane / Melba Court in Writtle, just a short distance from where the hut was originally sited, & a short walk from what used to be the Cock & Bell pub.
So -to date that sums up the extent of our research sources. Whilst this provides us with enough to gain a reasonable understanding of the sound & ethos of wireless station 2MT, we are curious as to whether any more information exists ! Therefore - as the title of this page implies - if you have any further information relating to 2MT then please help us & get in touch !