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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 15:17 GMT
Marconi archives move to Oxford
Guglielmo Marconi at work
The collection marks the achievement of Guglielmo Marconi
The Marconi collection - made up of memorabilia marking the birth of radio - is being given to Oxford University.

The archive is leaving its home in Chelmsford, Essex, where the items have been stored since radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi's death in 1937.

Marconi Corporation fears the 250 artefacts in the collection cannot be looked after properly at its rented building in the town.

They will now be kept at Oxford's Museum of the History of Science.

It would be vandalism to break the collection up into little bits and sell it off
David Beck, Marconi spokesman
A full-time archivist will catalogue each item.

The Bodleian Library, next door to the museum, will now house the thousands of papers, letters and other items of printed material dating back to 1895.

They will be available for viewing and research access.

David Beck, a spokesman for Marconi, said: "It would be vandalism to break the collection up into little bits and sell it off, so we're gifting it to Oxford University."

He said the decision was made because the university would know how to look after the archive and more potential viewers pass through Oxford than Chelmsford, the original home of the Marconi Company in 1898.

'Significant acquisition'

Included in the collection are early patents, such as the famous 7777, which in 1900 allowed radio stations to operate without interfering with each other.

Other material includes the apparatus used in Guglielmo Marconi's first transatlantic wireless transmission in 1901 and telegrams sent during the Titanic disaster of 1912.

Dr John Hood, vice-chancellor of the university, described the gift as a "significant acquisition for Oxford, which will enhance the university's standing as a major cultural and scientific repository".

The archive's website is also to be transferred to the university, which is aiming to open a major Marconi exhibition in spring 2006.

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