Search This Blog

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Lest We Forget

The initial "cable rush" far more than a century ago was led by Britain, followed quite some time later by France and Germany.

This blog post can be read at

Queen Vic and US Pres Buchanan exchanged cable messages waaaaay back in 1859, but the cable packed in after a mere 732 messages had been sent. It was finally fixed once the Civil War was out of the way in 1866. (At least there was a pretty good reason for the delay).

In 1892 Britain had 66.3% control of all the cable on earth with a staggering 163,619km. By 1923, this had risen to 297,802km and we still maintained control of over half the cable on the planet. This meant that as we wandered into the 20th century (and a set of international crises the world is in some ways still recovering from), everyone had to send all international and diplomatic comms through us. No wonder we developed such a world-renowned spy network - the info was handed to us on a plate!

Great photos of Porthcurno in Cornwall where the first Transatlantic cables came ashore

In 1870, a cable was laid from Porthcurno to Portugal with a second going in just three years later in 1873. In 1887 and then again in 1897, the Brits managed to lay cables from Cornwall to Gibraltar. In 1901, we threw one in down to Madeira to complete a link to Cape Town and the undersea and under ocean cable laying just went on and on.

Considering the fuss made now about laying fibre down a street in UK, maybe we should be giving more history lessons to our MPs, councillors, citizens and civil engineers!! It clearly isn´t rocket science if we were laying thousands of miles every year over a hundred years ago.

No comments: