Pupils travel to London for lesson in the history of their Rugby school - The Rugby Observer
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18th Aug, 2022

Pupils travel to London for lesson in the history of their Rugby school

PUPILS from Houlton School took a trip to a London museum to find out more about their school’s unique and ground-breaking history.

They went to see the iconic Rugby Tuning Coil, which is now on display in the Science Museum’s Information Age Gallery, but was once at the heart of Houlton School’s campus during its former life as Rugby Radio Station.

The Rugby Tuning Coil, also known as the Aerial Tuning Inductor, was used to tune antenna to the right frequency at Rugby Radio Station.

When it began its service in 1926, the Tuning Coil transmitted “British Official Wireless News Messages” across the British Empire and to ships at sea.

At that time, it was at the centre of the world’s most powerful radio transmitter, allowing the UK to communicate throughout the globe.

The technological innovation also played a vital role in British communications during teh Second World War and throughout the Cold War, before it was decommissioned in 2003 and passed on to the Science Museum.

The site itself has since gone on to become the home of Houlton School, which opened last September in the grade II listed buildings of the former radio station.

Thanks to the support of Urban&Civic – who were among the key partners involved in the development and opening of Houlton School – every pupil and member of staff was invited to take part in the visit.

Johanne Thomas, regional director at Urban&Civic, said: “The experience of seeing the Tuning Coil and the information dedicated to Rugby Radio Station was a perfect way to celebrate this history, remember the importance of the radio station to our country’s communications advances and the sense of pride that comes with that. It was a great day!”

Making the most of their time at the museum, pupils also had the chance to learn more about the impact that technology has had on society and the wide-ranging reach of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), throughout our lives.

Chloe Buckenham, vice principal at Houlton School, said: “Every day our pupils and staff are inspired by the unique heritage of Houlton School, so it really was extra special that our first whole-school trip was to visit such an important part of our school’s history.

“Pupils and staff alike were blown away by the opportunity to see the Rugby Tuning Coil in real-life, and to find out more about the global impact that Rugby Radio Station had on communications and technological innovation during the last century.”



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