Coulsdon Art Trail marks Clapp’s big hand for Logie Baird TV

TV mast: the eighth Coulsdon Art Trail finial, marking John Logie Baird’s transatlantic television transmssion, has just been installed

The latest finial to join the Coulsdon Art Trail commemorates John Logie Baird’s transatlantic television transmission from the home of his chief engineer, Benjamin Clapp, in Warwick Road, Coulsdon, almost 100 years ago.

The new finial is situated on the corner of Chipstead Valley Road and Woodcote Grove Road.

It is the eighth finial in a series of 12, commemorating the history of Coulsdon. The others will added be as soon as the local residents’ association can raise the funds.

Finials are small, stylised metal models, and have been placed at the top of signposts and lampposts in Coulsdon town centre.  The first three were unveiled in early 2021, with a further two put in place 12 months ago.

“These finials commemorate the history of Coulsdon and Smitham Bottom and were selected from a list of suggestions that were put together from a public consultation by East Coulsdon Residents’ Association,” Charlie King, one of the movers behind the project, said.

Finials No6 and No7 were put in place late last year, commemorating a royal visit to an illegal prize fight during the Regency era and the now-demolished Reed Lion pub.


In February 1928, Logie Baird and Clapp developed the idea of using wireless transmission for their new invention, television.

To prove this, they decided to transmit a broadcast from London to New York. In their London laboratory studio, a man and a woman sat before an electric eye. The pictures were transmitted by telephone to Clapp’s Coulsdon house, where he had a 200-f00t radio mast running around his garden on a number of large polls.

From there it was transmitted by wireless using short-wave radio to New York (amazingly this only required 2KW of power).

Logie Baird and Clapp repeated the experiment on their journey back to Britain on board the Cunard liner Berengaria, where they set up their equipment and successfully made the first ship-to-shore TV transmission via the ship’s radio.

The Pathe News video has a picture of the machinery and the aerials set up in Clapp’s back garden. What would the neighbours have said? It’s unlikely that anything as mundane as planning permission was requested, or granted.

One website carries much technical information on Logie Baird’s television system.

If you would like to make a donation to the future finials please contact
East Coulsdon RA on

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