Our collections chronicle the enormous contribution made by the ‘Big Three’ industries in Chelmsford, Marconi, Hoffmann and Cromptons. We display products from the companies and objects connected with their employees, as well as some of the smaller lesser celebrated industries. 

Discover more about our exhibitions.

Marconiphone V2 radio receiver

A Marconiphone V2 radio receiver from 1922.

Marconiphone V2 radio receiver, 1922.

'Chelmsford from Springfield Hill'

By John Colkett. Oil on canvas, 1847. This painting shows the railway which had come to Chelmsford in 1843.

'Chelmsford from Springfield Hill'

Motor Generator (comprising an engine and dynamo)

Made before 1890 by Cromptons to run the Toastrack Railway along Southend Pier.

Motor generator


This crown was made by an apprentice for a competition run by Chelmsford Engineering Society, and was made from Hoffmann’s ball bearings and other products.

Hoffman Crown

Arc Lamp

The arc lamp was manufactured by Col. R.E.B Crompton at his Arc Works in Anchor Street in c1890.

Crompton placed the arc at the bottom of the lamp, so that no shadow was cast by the casing, giving a steadier light.

Arc Lamp

Marconi coherer

Made in the Hall Street factory in 1905. The glass tube contained silver and nickel filings which were continually aligned, shaken and re-aligned to allow the radio signal to be generated.

Marconi Coherer