Hirst Research Centre

GEC Hirst Research Centre was one of the first specialised industrial research laboratories to be built in Britain, and was part of the General Electric Company plc empire. It was demolished in the early 1990s primarily because GEC had stopped funding serious research, as it was not immediately profitable.

It was named after Hugo Hirst, one of the founders of the company that would become General Electric Company plc. One of the centre's most famous achievements was the production of the cavity magnetron during World War II, the concept of which was established by Randall and Boot working at Birmingham University. Staff of the center were also important in developing radars for use during the war. The 60 m Radio mast at the back of the building became, along with Wembley Stadium, one of the landmarks of the area. Hirst was also instrumental in setting up the National Grid system which provides power to the whole of the UK. The centre also worked on the design of electrical power systems used on the British railways network.

The research centre was based in East Lane, Wembley, Middlesex, UK, and then in the 1990s moved to Borehamwood, UK.

After GEC had left the Wembley site, it was used as the set for some scenes of the 1995 film, Young Poisoner's Handbook.

Notable Hirst employees and scientists

See also


  • R. Clayton and J. Algar, The GEC Research Laboratories, 1919–1984 (1989)

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