Hirst Research Centre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Hirst Research Centre, also known as the GEC Hirst Research Centre or GEC Research Laboratories, was established in 1919 at Wembley, Middlesex, by the General Electric Company.[1]


Formally opened in 1923,[1] the site at East Lane, Wembley was one of the first specialised industrial research laboratories to be built in Britain. The centre was named after Hugo Hirst, one of the founders of the company that would become the General Electric Company.

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 centre 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 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 for the British railway network.

In the 1990s the organisation moved to Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. After GEC left the Wembley site, it was used as the set for some scenes of the 1995 film The Young Poisoner's Handbook.

Notable Hirst employees and scientists[edit]

Clifford Paterson was the organisation's first director, and held that position until his death in 1948.[1] Others working there included:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Robert Clayton; Joan Algar (1989). The GEC Research Laboratories, 1919-1984. IET. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-86341-146-5. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°33′50″N 0°18′07″W / 51.564°N 0.302°W / 51.564; -0.302