Artie Moore’s home made wireless

By | Category: Travel destinations

©The Winding House

At New Tredegar in the valleys of South Wales lies the Elliot Winding House, a relic of the mining industry in the area and also a small reminder of one of the greats of the Victorian mining industry, Sir George Elliot. Now it’s the county borough museum for Caerphilly. The recently reopened museum has an exhibition about the Titanic that has generated worldwide interest.
Called “The Titanic, the Mill and the Signal: Artie Moore and Titanic’s SOS,” it tells the story of a local boy, Artie Moore, who received the SOS signal from the Titanic on the night of 15th April, 1912. He got the signal on his homemade wireless radio equipment at his home, Gelligroes Mill. Although he reported it to the police, he was greeted with incredulity and no one took notice. Until two full days later when the news came through.
The Blackwood and District Amateur Radio Society has loaned the spark gap transmitter, the only surviving piece of his radio equipment. From an amateur of 100 hundred years ago to amateurs of today, it is surprising what is still not widely known to be available about our heritage.
We all know that interest in the Titanic has been huge and not only in this anniversary year. But, without wishing to be rude to The Winding House museum, it isn’t the biggest attraction in the world. Yet they have had stories from around the world written about this exhibition from the San Francisco Chronicle, Iran Daily News, The Hindu, the Washington Post to a Detroit radio station not to mention our own national press.
Today Gelligroes Mill is a storehouse. Maybe it should be restored as a reminder of the man who first heard in Britain the news of that fateful night. Or removed lock stock and barrel and placed in either St Fagans or with the Winding House (which no longer seems to be called the Elliot – a shame given how much Elliot did.) Does it deserve to be forgotten as Artie Moore nearly was?
More than that, it goes to highlight exactly how much local museums and galleries have in the holdings and what they have access to in their communities. Don’t necessarily think that the best – or the most interesting – is reserved for our national or London based museums.

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