150th Anniversary of the Telegraph
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the day Guernsey was first connected to the world via the electric telegraph Guernsey museums opened a new display.
Key and Receiver. Courtesy Guernsey Museums
The new display at the Guernsey Telephone Museum is about the laying of the first telegraph cable in 1858.
In spring 1858, proposals were made to the Chambers of Commerce of Guernsey and Jersey to extend the new 'Electric Telegraph' from Southampton to the Channel Islands.
Discussions in Westminster led to H.M. Treasury issuing a letter on 19 May 1858 offering to underwrite the dividends of the proposed company during its successful operation. The Channel Islands Telegraph Company was formed.
By June trenching was begun for the land sections of the proposed cable and during August the SS Elba, assisted by the tug Resolute, laid a submarine cable.
Telegraph Agreement. Courtesy Guernsey Museums
The official opening of the complete telegraph system was scheduled for the 7 September 1858.
However, Guernsey sent a message a day earlier, ironically to enquire as to the expected arrival of the mail-boat!
The formal opening included the despatch of a telegraph message to Queen Victoria and a reply was received on 8 September.
Guernsey Telephone Museum is open on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 1400 to 1630.
last updated: 19/05/2008 at 16:35
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