At 1.45pm on Friday 7th January 1927, an historic event took place. The Secretary of the General Post Office, Sir Evelyn Murray spoke in person, across thousands of miles of ocean, to Mr. Walter S Gifford, President of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company.
That call originated in London and was transferred to Rugby via landline. From there, it was converted to a telephony radio signal and, thanks to Rugby Radio Station’s powerful transmitter, was beamed west across the globe where it was received at the Houlton Radio Receiving Station in Maine, on America’s East Coast.
Having opened to service the previous year, Rugby Radio Station was still brand new, but with this transmission and the launch of the first public transatlantic call service, it’s fair to say that the world of communications – indeed, the world itself – was forever changed.
TWO HOULTONS, CONNECTED - So that’s where the name of Rugby’s newest neighbourhood came from. That first call, all those years ago. By choosing the name Houlton, the developers have found the perfect way to commemorate this milestone in communications, ensuring that Rugby and the small town of Houlton in Maine are forever connected in a meaningful bond of friendship.
And there’s reason to think that serendipity has also played a part in the story, with the fact that the existing locations near to the old Rugby Radio Station site – Hillmorton, Clifton and Newton – and the new suburb of Houlton sound like they were always meant to be together.
For more information on the history of Rugby Radio Station, visit www.rugbyradiostation.co.uk