1955 – RUGBY RADIO, AT ITS PEAK
The post-war period saw demand for overseas telephone circuits increase dramatically. Although the Post Office had taken over all British Cable & Wireless Radio Stations in 1950, most of the radio-telephone circuits still came through Rugby, so it was clear that an expansion was required. A further 700 acres of land was purchased on the Northamptonshire side of the A5 Watling Street. Here the ‘B’ Building, was constructed to house 28 short wave (high frequency) Marconi transmitters. New directional rhombic (diamond shaped) aerials were also created, giving almost 360 degrees coverage to anywhere in the world.
With a total of 57 transmitters, Rugby Radio Station was at its peak in the mid-1950s and was generally considered to be the largest transmitting station in the world.
The new ‘B’ Building was opened on Thursday 28th July 1955 by the Postmaster, General Dr Charles Hill, who had become widely known as the Radio Doctor during World War II. In his opening speech he talked about the first transatlantic telephone cable which was set to launch in September 1956. Sadly, this undersea cable was destined to be the undoing of Rugby Radio Station.
Today the site is scheduled to become the area of the expansion of the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, known as DIRFT III.