Over 100 former staff from Highbridge Radio Station (known locally as Portishead Radio) gathered at the Ritz Social Club on Saturday (28th July) to mark the 90th year since the station officially opened.
The long-range maritime radio service commenced in 1920 from a site in Devizes, but the transmitters were moved to Portishead in 1928, with an associated receiving/control centre at Highbridge opening at the same time.
The station provided essential ship-to-shore communication facilities for 72 years before closing on April 30th, 2000.
Numerous celebratory activities have taken place this month, including special amateur radio stations which incorporated the station’s callsigns (GKA, GKB and GKC), articles in the regional press, culminating in the staff reunion.
“It proved to be a successful evening, with a celebratory cake being commissioned, and an original ex-radio station morse key being auctioned for charity, raising £520,” says organiser Larry Bennett.
“It was a rare opportunity for ex-staff to meet each other again, some having left the station over 30 years ago. Staff from all over the country attended, including one who travelled from Australia to join the celebrations.”
“Plans for a memorial at the former radio station site are ongoing, and with the support of local MP James Heappey it is hoped that something can be arranged during this year.”
Further information about the station and its history can be found at the website www.portisheadradio.co.uk