Grill Room at the Gaiety Restaurant and trainee radio operators at Marconi House, Strand, London|

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Grill Room, Gaiety Restaurant, Strand, London, 1908
© English Heritage: BL20400

Right: Trainee radio operators at Marconi House, Strand, London, 1913
© English Heritage: BL22054

Innovations in technology opened up new opportunities for Bedford Lemere & Co. Guglielmo Marconi, the radio pioneer, was a client before and during the First World War. A formidable business man as well as an inventor, it is possible that he commissioned these images for publicity purposes.

The Gaiety Restaurant formed part of a theatre development designed by Ernest Runtz and Norman Shaw. It opened in 1904 but its vast dining area proved uneconomic and it closed in 1908.

Bedford Lemere & Co. recorded this room twice: in 1908 as the Grill Room of the Gaiety Restaurant, and in 1913 as a Marconi training centre. In 1912 the British government awarded Marconi the contract for a chain of wireless stations to link the British Empire. Marconi ran courses and examinations to meet the fast growing demand for radio operators trained in Morse code.

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