There is very little information that we have been able to find prior to the outbreak of World War I other than an article in the "Leicester Daily Mercury" dated 16th May 1914, where the "Leicestershire Wireless Society" held a meeting at the premises of Mr George Tarrratt on Market Street in Leicester. At the time Mr C R Chadfield was elected Chairman with Mr P Holyland as Secretary. It is our understanding that the gentlemen had been meeting for a number of months at the millenary shop of Mrs May on Churchgate prior to their decision to form an "official" society.
Following the war, it was decided during a meeting at the Turkey Cafe (Granby St) in May 1919 that the club be renamed the "Leicestershire Radio Society". the chief object of the Society was stated as: "To assist amateurs to study wireless in all its branches". There were also several speakers at this meeting who outlined the great advances made in wireless telegraphy during the war, and added that the instruments confiscated by the government, although workable, would be very much out of date by the time they were returned to the members
Under the name Leicestershire Radio Society, the club continued to grow, meeting in various locations in Leicester, including the Turkey Cafe, Y.M.C. Buildings and the Daily Mercury offices. From what we have been able to find, these meetings were originally every other Monday evening, we still meet on Monday evenings but now it is every week.
As was common practice at the time, the club again closed during World War II and resumed following the cessation of hostilities. This time, the club was renamed again, to the "Leicester Radio Society". There were some mentions of Leicester Radio Society during the war, mainly the exploits of the clubs then President, Capt W. Winder who was the commander of an anti-aircraft battery.
Various newspaper stories show the rest of the decade was quite a busy one for the Leicester Radio Society, and then in 1952, it was reported that various club members successfully received an SOS message from the Kon Tiki Raft.
Another busy decade for the club with various articles, including mention of the lack of interest of club members to the Soviet "Sputnik" satellite, which was launched in 1957.
The 1960s saw many "improvements" in amateur radio, specifically the club being able to move into its own premises (where we have remained ever since) and the availability of "ready-built" radios from companies such as Icom and Yaesu. Prior to that most amateur radio equipment was either "homebrew" or re-purposed military equipment.
It is also the first mention of long-standing member (and then Chairman) Deryk Wills G3XKX in 1969. Deryk is a life-member, although he sadly isn't able to make it to club meetings.
At the start of a new decade, practically a full-page article in 1970 Leicester Chronicle (available here) shows that the club was literally thriving.
For the next 50 years the Leicester Radio Society saw the usual ups-and-downs experienced by practically every club of any sort, but through it all we have had a strong "core" of membership always willing to take part in Contests, Special Event Stations and other meetings. Sadly, it has been a number of years since the club has been in a position to enter NFD (National Field Day) or VHF-NFD but these were VERY well attended events throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s and into the early 2000s.
Today we are still very much an active club and will be celebrating our 110th anniversary by operating the Special Event Callsign GB1LRS throughout the month of August 2023.
Please see below for various other articles about the Leicester Radio Society and amateur radio in Leicestershire.