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One of Woolton's least known celebrities , Edgar Menzies , lived quietly in the area for 16 years , never seeking , nor receiving , the recognition he undoubtedly deserved .
During the 1920's when he lived in the caretaker's house at Higher Lane School , Fazakerley , Edgar developed an interest in radio transmitting . Unfortunately , at that time , Fazakerley was very much "out in the country" and his house lacked the advantage of electricity , so Edgar was forced to use a battery set .
When he joined the Liverpool City Police Force in January 1921 Edgar realised that the wireless was going to play an important role in police work , so he devoted all his time and money to its study . His efforts led to the opening of a wireless station at Old Swan transmitting to three special police cars fitted with his equipment . In 1936 Edgar , now promoted to sergeant , saw three more cars added to the fleet and two-way communication established , initially using morse code .
Edgar had moved to Linkstor Road , Woolton , in 1934 and , after conducting experiments using his own radio equipment , he managed to convince his superiors that it would be to the police's advantage to open a radio workshop on high ground in the vicinity of Woolton where a better signal could be transmitted .
In 1938 G.T.M. , a new police wireless station , situated at the corner of Allerton Golf Course , was opened at a cost of 2,000 . It was staffed by sergeant Menzies and five men and boasted two 120 foot high masts with a transmitting range of thirty miles , a poison gas decontamination room , and was also , reputedly , bomb-proof . On a map in the control room coloured electric light bulbs indicated every beat in Liverpool on which there was a radio-fitted car or motor cycle . A red bulb denoted a car , a green bulb indicated a motor cycle . When G.T.M. transmitted a bulb on the dashboard of each car was illuminated and some of the cars could respond in morse code . There were also 200 pushbike patrols fitted with tiny receiving sets , another of Edgar's inventions , and the forerunner of "walkie talkie" . This invention , which took Edgar two years to perfect , was one of his greatest triumphs and was patented throughout the world . Typically , and despite the possibility of substantial financial rewards , he presented his invention freely to the police .
Edgar claimed another unusual "first" when he became the first Woolton resident to appear on a cigarette card. He was featured , sitting in a radio-equipped police car , in a set of cards issued by Mitchell's Cigarettes entitled " Wonderful Century 1837-1937 " . The card is No. 22 in a set of 50 .
During the Second World War , when all Government and police installations were regarded as potential espionage targets , Edgar was given a revolver by his superiors to protect the radio workshops . His ammunition consisted of six bullets - five to use on the enemy and one for himself ! Fortunately , he wasn't called upon to use any of them !
By 1944 Edgar had been promoted to the rank of Inspector and commended by the Radio Security Service for his voluntary assistance in apprehending a spy transmitting classified information from a house in Edge Lane .
In January 1949 Edgar was in the news again when the B.B.C. sent two of their senior television engineers scurrying to Linkstor Road to watch a ballet on Edgar's home-made TV set , made for about 10 from ex-radar equipment . One surprised engineer told Mr Menzies - " We have seen poorer reception in London ! " .
Edgar left the police force on the 1st September 1950 , after 29 years service and retired to North Wales . After a short period he returned to Liverpool and settled in Tynwald Hill , Stoneycroft , where he resided until his death on the 14th December 1979 . Hopefully, this short article has finally served to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of a very intelligent and modest man - Edgar Menzies , the Woolton Wireless Wizard ! Forum Index -> Liverpool and Merseyside History & Nostalgia
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