Wednesday 16th January

Jeremy Batch

'Allo, 'Allo: the Story of Communications



To send a signal from your boat to the Moon was once thought more likely than reaching another ship below the horizon; talking to (let alone seeing) your granny on the other side of the Earth was definitely out.   We'll see how a combination of sums, styluses, soldering and stubbornness enabled Maxwell, Hertz, Marconi, Arthur C. Clarke, Julius Caesar and many others to predict, prove, build and strengthen the communication systems we now take for granted, bringing us from flags and flares, semaphore and cyphers to VHF, SSB, G&T and GMDSS.

We shall learn how Brunel's Great Eastern began to spin the worldwide web, how "the tapes that span on silver wheels" (linked to the world's first electronic digital computers at BP) gave the go-ahead for the Normandy landings, how a device that once posed a worrying threat to James Bond now helps put you through to Granny, and why every vessel should still carry a printed copy of the International Code of Signals.