Category Archives: Announcements

“Making Telecommunications in the First World War”, Oxford, 24 January 2014

Online registration for our “Making Telecommunications in the First World War” conference on Friday 24 January 2014 is now closed.  The one-day conference will take place at the University Club, Oxford on Friday 24 January 2014 from 9.15 to 5.30pm.

A map and directions for the University Club are available at The University Club has plenty of bicycle parking but limited on-site car parking, this being reserved for the use of disabled visitors. Pay and display on-street car parking is available on Mansfield Road in front of the club and surrounding roads, although most of it is not suitable for long term stays. For full details of parking, see

The final programme for the conference including abstracts is available here.

The conference will be preceded by an evening lecture “Patriotism and Profit during World War One” given by Elizabeth Bruton and Graeme Gooday at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford on Thursday 23 January at 7pm.

The lecture is free to attend and doors open at 6.30pm.  The lecture will be followed by a reception at the museum from 8-9pm.  Directions to the Museum are available here.

If you have any further questions, please email Elizabeth Bruton at

October and November update

Upcoming “Innovating in Combat” conference: “Making Telecommunications in the Great War”, Oxford, 24 January 2014.

“Innovating in Combat” are pleased to announce that we will be holding a conference “Making Telecommunications in the Great War” in Oxford on 24 January 2014. The CFP is available at and the deadline for abstracts is 4 December 2013. All enquiries about the conference should be sent to Elizabeth Bruton at

Recent news

“Innovating in Combat” have a busy and exciting October and early November and delivered four public lectures delivered in the UK and the US.

First up was ““Sacrifice of a Genius”: Henry Moseley’s role as a Signals Officer in World War One”, a lunchtime lecture delivered by our postdoctoral researcher Dr Elizabeth Bruton at the Royal Society, London on Friday 11 October. A video of the lecture consisting of the PowerPoint slides and an audio recording of the lecture is available on the Royal Society’s website at

The following day, Elizabeth travelled to Horwood House near Milton Keynes to deliver a talk on radio amateurs in World War One at the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) Centenary Convention. The talk, which was delivered twice, was well attended and was followed by engaging questions from the audience. For further details of the convention and the programme for the weekend, see

Between 14 October and 28 October, Elizabeth travelled to New Jersey where she visisted the Edison papers at Rutgers University and AT&T archives in Warren, New Jersey – more on this at a later date. As part of this research visit and supported by the IEEE History Center, Elizabeth gave the inaugural public history lecture at Rutgers University. An audio recording of the lecture is available at, courtesy of Bill Zukowski, a member of the New Jersey Antique Radio Club, member of the AWA (Antique Wireless Association), and holder of radio amateur call N2YEG.

Last and more definitely not least on Saturday 2 November, Graeme Gooday and Elizabeth Bruton delivered a joint lecture at the Science Museum entitled “Patriotism and Profit during World War One”. We also wrote a short blog post on the subject in advance of the lecture and this was published on the Guardian‘s H-Word history of science blog at The lecture was well attended and an audio recording of the lecture will be available soon on our events page at

See our project website at for further details of our project and events listings.

Podcast from Royal Society lecture: “Sacrifice of a Genius”: Henry Moseley’s role as a Signals Officer in World War One

The podcast from our recent lecture at the Royal Society, “Sacrifice of a Genius”: Henry Moseley’s role as a Signals Officer in World War One, delivered by Elizabeth Bruton on 11 October is now available on the Royal Society website at

The podcast also incorporates the PowerPoint slides from the lecture.

Public Lecture: Patriotism and Profit during World War One, Science Museum, London, 2 November

Patriotism and Profit during World War One

Fellows’ Room, Science Museum, London

Saturday 2 November 2013 at 11am

Supported by the AHRC-funded project:

Innovating in Combat: telecommunications and intellectual property in the First World War

University of Leeds and Museum of the History of Science, Oxford

Delivered by Graeme Gooday and Elizabeth Bruton, University of Leeds

This lecture explores the different motivations of individuals, the military, industry, and commerce in relation to World War One telecommunication innovations – were they motivated by patriotism, profit, or both?

Wartime developments in telecommunications were especially reliant on pre-war commercial development and innovation. But what motivated commercial companies such as the Marconi Company and others to assist with wartime military demands for telecommunication? Was it, as was often claimed during and after the war, patriotism or did the pursuit of profit and expectation of post-war reward also motivate their contributions to Britain’s wartime efforts?

Based on material from BT archives and IET archives, we will explore the roles of individuals, members’ institutions, state bodies, the military, and commercial bodies in the development of telecommunications during World War One. We will also draw out a strong degree of tension between military demands, civilian innovations, and commercial profit. We will uncover voices left out from the traditional narrative of wartime patriotism and explore how wartime activities influenced post-war developments, successes, and technologies.

Light refreshments will be provided before and after the lecture. The lecture will be followed by a discussion which will last about an hour in total.

Location: Fellows’ Room, Science Museum, London.

The Fellows’ Room can be accessed via the Director’s Entrance which is separate to the main Science Museum entrance and is located at the Imperial College end of the Science Museum building. The entrance will be clearly marked.

Directions to the Science Museum are available here

Cost: Free. Spaces are limited – early registration via is strongly recommended.

For any questions about the lecture, please email Elizabeth Bruton at

About the Project

Innovating in Combat is a one-year collaborative project between University of Leeds and the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Other partners include BT archives, IET archives, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Science Museum, and University of Leeds HSTM Museum.

Further details about the project and partners can be found here on our project website at

Educational Resources updated

We’ve updated our educational resources with the first draft of our educational pack on cable telegraphy during World War One, based on archival holdings from Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.

See for full details.

All feedback on this educational resource should be sent to Elizabeth Bruton at If you have found this educational resource useful or would like to adapt it, please do get in touch with Elizabeth Bruton at the same email address.

Elizabeth Bruton on “Seven Ages of Science”

Our post-doctoral researcher, Elizabeth Bruton, appeared on Lisa Jardine’s series “Seven Ages of Science” on BBC Radio 4 on 10 September discussing the complex relationship between military demands and science in World War One and in the Inter-War years.

The episode, “Age of War”, began with a discussion of how military demands mobilised science not in World War II, but in World War I.  The episode continued with an exploration of the impact of the military on science and vice versa between World War One and the Cold War.

The full episode is available to download and listen at

Upcoming talks in Cornwall!

I know it is quite far away from Leeds but for those of you who may be interested, I am giving a talk on the history of the Marconi wireless station at Poldhu during World War One at the Marconi Centre at Poldhu on Tuesday August 6th at 7.30pm. The talk is free to attend and there is no need to register. Further details of the centre and how do get there are available at

I’m also giving an evening lecture on cable telegraphy during World War One at Porthcurno Telegraph Museum on the evening of Wednesday August 7th from 6-8pm. For full details and to register for the Porthcurno event, see I will also be running family-friendly table top talks throughout the day at the museum so please do feel free to pop along during the day too!

The poster for the evening lecture is available here.

Registration now open for 28 June workshop!

Registration is now closed, as of 14 June. If you have any questions about this event, please get in touch.

We are hosting a workshop for museum interpreters, archivists and historians in the Brotherton Room at the University of Leeds on Friday 28 June from 9am to 4.30pm.

Registration is now open and the programme is also available.

The deadline for applications is 14 June 2013 and we will be providing bursaries to assist with attendance.  If you have any questions about the workshop, please do get in touch.

For further information, see

Project update

Lecture room

Lecture room by Sean MacEntee. Image licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

We are pleased to announce that we have some very exciting events coming up so do check out our events page!  Upcoming events include Interpreting Telecommunications in the Great War: A workshop for museum interpreters, archivists and historian to be held in the Brotherton Room at the University of Leeds on Friday 28 June and will be preceded by a pre-workshop reception on Thursday 27 June. We will be also holding lectures and public events in Cornwall and London.  We have many exciting events coming up and so please do check our events page for regular updates!

We are also pleased to announce a new project partner: the Science Museum, London. We are delighted they’ve decided to join the project and we look forward to a very fruitful partnership.