Radio Station Rugby’s history supports Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance


Radio Station Rugby has an impressive history which is woven into the future of Houlton as an amazing place to live, work and play. In celebration of this past, Urban&Civic and Aviva, recently published “The History of Rugby Radio Station”. All proceeds from sales are donated to Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance. Wth over two thousand pounds raised so far a second print run has been commissioned to meet continued demand.

The new community of Houlton, which will see 6,200 new homes, three primary schools, a secondary school, new businesses and open space, is situated on the 1,200 acre former BT radio station site and is making a significant contribution to the area’s high demand for new housing and is on the government’s list of national priority sites.

The History of Rugby Radio Station, a semi autobiographical memoir, written by local historian and former radio station manager Malcolm Hancock, recounts Malcolm’s 38 years of experience working at the site. Malcolm’s laconic narrative includes, how 12 800ft radio masts were erected in the 1920’s, the groundbreaking first telephone transmission to Houlton, USA in 1927, stories about a surprise visit from a future King, NASA, Concorde, ‘Messages to Mars’ and the life-saving work of the station during WW2 and The Cold War.

The book brings to life the vibrant heritage of the site and has captured the hearts of many in both Rugby, given over 800 local people worked on site and from around the world, given the sites global reach.

Johanne Thomas, Communities and Partnerships for Urban&Civic confirms, “We knew from early community engagement that the radio masts and the station’s history was really important to local people. Working closely with Malcolm on publishing his book as well as a heritage website, street naming and calling the new place Houlton, after the receiving station in the USA, has been really valuable in fostering a real sense of place and building lasting relationships.”

Jo Payne, senior fundraising manager for Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, comments; “I am thrilled to see the book has generated so much interest in the history of Radio Station Rugby, such an iconic feature which represents so much to all of us that live (and fly) in the area. We are so pleased that the proceeds from the sale of the book have been donated to keeping our team saving lives by road and air across the region and would like to thank everyone involved”.

Sales of the first homes at Houlton, by Davidsons Homes, have now commenced with Morris Homes and Crest Nicholson due to start selling later this year. The Tuning Fork restaurant (continuing the heritage tradition) opened on site earlier this year and is now a popular destination in its own right.

The book, which makes a great present, is available to purchase for £5.99 in Rugby’s independent book shop Hunts and at Rugby’s Library and Tourist Information Centre, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. You can also buy the book on site at both the Visitors Centre and Tuning Fork and online at

Rugby’s local air ambulance service flies two regional helicopters providing a rapid response to trauma and medical emergencies over an area of 3850 square miles. With an average response time of just thirteen minutes, between them the helicopters attend on average six missions a day.