Permanent Radio Station

Royal Needles Hotel, Totland Bay, Isle of Wight, PO39 0JD, UK


Built in December 1897


Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi


In early December 1897, to investigate and experiment with transmission to ships at sea, Guglielmo Marconi set up his revolutionary wireless equipment in the Royal Needles Hotel, above Alum Bay, and sent the very first wireless transmission.
A huge 168 feet high mast was set up outside the hotel and over the next couple of years Marconi conducted ever more complex experiments with wireless transmissions. In 1898 messages were received from Marconi at Queen Victoria’s Osborne House and on the royal yacht.
Little now remains of Marconi’s experimental stations, as the hotel and masts have long since gone. However, a monument to him stands on the cliff top within Needles Park and information lecterns provide a detailed history of radio, Marconi and the role played by Alum Bay.


Tim Wander is a Chartered Engineer, author, lecturer, broadcaster, museum curator and playwright.

He is widely considered to be a world authority on the history of the Marconi Company, Guglielmo Marconi’s early work and the birth of radio and television broadcasting.

He has just published his 12th book along with four stage plays and three radio plays and regularly acts as a technical and historic consultant. He has extensive TV and radio experience, everything from Antiques Roadshow to Songs of Praise and provides radio and television interviews and articles on the early history of radio and broadcasting.

Over the last five years he has also published two books and presented numerous lectures on the Second World War, focusing on personal accounts and oral histories of people and soldiers who were actually there.

In 2016 he took over as Consultant and Curator for Science and Industry for Chelmsford City’s museum service.

Tim is a well-known and in demand lecturer, and provides interviews and articles on the early history of radio and broadcasting across all media streams. He has been working with museums around the world for over 20 years and lectures all over the UK (and on cruise ships) on the history and career of Marconi, wireless communication and the early days of radio broadcasting.

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