Sir Stanley Angwin

An Electrical Engineer and early resident

By Robert Gill

Sir Stanley Angwin
Launch of CS The Stanley Angwin 11 February 1952
Porthcurno Museum

Sir Stanley Angwin lived in Welwyn Garden City from around 1926 till his death in 1959 hence having the distinction of being one of the towns earliest residents.

Sir (Arthur) Stanley Angwin was born in Penzance on 11 December 1883. He studied engineering at East London (now Queen Mary) College where he obtained his B.Sc. (Eng) in 1907. He entered the Post Office Engineering Department and went to work in Glasgow where he was engaged in telephone installation work.

While in Scotland, he created the Lowland Division Telegraph Company of the Territorial Army that was mobilized in 1914 as the 52nd Divisional Signal Company. As Officer-in-Command of this company he served in Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine and France being awarded the M.C., D.S.O and was mentioned in dispatches 5 times.

In 1921, he married Dorothy Gladys Back, they had three sons and a daughter and came to live in Welwyn Garden City in around 1926.

After the war he joined the wireless section of the Post Office Engineering Department where he was concerned with the design and construction of the Leafield (Oxfordshire), Rugby and Cairo radio stations and in the inauguration of the transatlantic telephone service. In 1928, Sir Stanley took charge of the Post Office radio section and which, under his leadership, went on to develop shortwave radio installations giving Great Britain a predominant position in world telephony. He was appointed Assistant Engineer-in-Chief of the Post Office in 1932, Deputy Engineer-in-Chief in 1935 and Engineer-in-Chief in 1939, a position he retained until 1946.

In 1945, Sir Stanley accompanied Lord Reith on a tour to discuss with Commonwealth governments the future of the then privately owned Cable and Wireless Company. In 1947, the government took over the company and Sir Stanley (having retired from the Post Office) became its chairman where he had the difficult task of merging a private enterprise into a government owned organisation. In 1951, he left Cable and Wireless to become chairman of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Board, a post he filled with distinction. After many visits overseas, he retired due to ill health in 1956.

Sir Stanley was a member of council of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. In the latter he was chairman of the wireless section (1931-2), vice president (1939-42) and president (1943-4); he was awarded the Faraday medal in 1953 and became an honorary member in 1956. Sir Stanley was knighted in 1941, appointed K.B.E. in 1945 and K.C.M.G. in 1957. In 1946 he was made a Fellow of Queen Mary College and the honorary degree of D.Sc. (Eng) was conferred upon him by the University of London in 1953.

On 11 February 1952, a new cable repair ship built at the Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tyne was named CS The Stanley Angwin and was launched by Lady Angwin.

Sir Stanley died at his home 32 Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire on 21 April 1959.

Lady Angwin played a role in the organizing of the WVS during and after the war and was a member of the Welwyn Garden City Urban District Council. She was also instrumental in the building of Woodside House in Bridge Road in Welwyn Garden City.

For more on the history of telecommunications visit the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno, Cornwall (

See also the following linkĀ for more information on the family of Sir Stanley Angwin and growing up in Welwyn Garden City.

This page was added on 28/02/2013.

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