Monday, 19 December 2011
Quite by accident I recently came across some additional material held in the National Archives at Kew.
1. Records referenced BJ refer to Records of the Meteorological Office and BJ1/33 cover a large selection of letters written by William Thomson between around 1860 and 1867
2. Records prefixed PRO/30 refer to a whole bag of domestic records of the Public Records Office and within PRO/30/69 we can find the 1835 files covering James Ramsey McDonald ( a period covering 1793 to 1937) and eventually at PRO/30/69/949 is a file "Lord Kelvin. Various letters . Cable Impulse tape - HMS Agamemnon"
Within that file was the bundled-up length of tape shown in the picture above with the note attached by a somewhat rusty paper clip. It was clearly in a delicate state and I pointed this out to an archivist who was not too concerned and only commented on what an awful lot of conservation work they had to do !!
Much more research is required on both items above and also the tape.
Where was HMS Agamemnon on the date shown ?
There we go .............research is fun and invariably leads on to just having to take a peep at totally unconnected material. If you go to PRO/30/69/1766 for example you will find a file entitled " Poem for H G Wells' Birthday "
Happy Christmas to anyone who reads this before Dec 25th 2011
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Thursday, 20 October 2011
"Many thanks for the speedy and full reply- I was thrilled to hear back from you so quickly and with so much info.
Sorry I don’t have any photos or letters, I have a silver plate (I think given to WH when he left London for Porthcurno in 1877, a slightly smaller version of the one in your exhibition at Porthcurno) and my brother has some other artefacts including a silver inkwell inscribed to WH from St Leven. We have been strangely very short indeed on family info. I knew only that a relative had had some involvement at Porthcurno. So you can imagine how very surprised I have been to discover more about WH’s story and his significant role there.
My grandfather was Arthur Stanley Ash (WH’s son), AS had one son – my father Gerald, and I have a younger brother (Roger Ash) and older sister. Arthur retired early to the Lizard from Essex/London so my brother and I spent all our childhood holidays in Cornwall. The only reference to local family history that I can recall were dire warnings about the dangers of the sea (Arthur had at least one brother who drowned [age 27] although I only discovered that recently). Roger [who has a smallholding near Helston and has talked a while back with some people at the Telegraph museum] is a hydrographic surveyor involved in the laying of deep sea cables for gas /oil. As an educationalist / psychologist I have always argued for nurture over nature so it is disconcerting to discover the close family involvement in the laying of deep sea oil pipes / telegraph cables over a century apart!
Yes please- re sending a copy of your exhibition booklet – that would be fantastic [am happy to pay any costs re copying/postage. If it is eformat pl send to this address; if hard copy pl send to my home address below].
I visited the museum a couple of weeks ago and thought it was excellent- indeed it has triggered my rooting around the web and contacting you. Roger is currently working offshore and has not seen the new exhibition- I know he’ll be similarly impressed and will visit again asap.
Friday, 30 September 2011
Saturday, 24 September 2011
Section of submarine cable made by Silvertown Telegraph Works:
It's amazing what you find on ebay. There was a sample of mumetal on there a while back, with the original Telcon label!
Enjoy, and happy bidding!
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
I've checked on the BFI catalogue and it's not there so maybe it's at PTM?
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
There's a comment at the bottom from one Bruce Henderson who says:
"I was very interested to see this item imcluded in the list of 100 objects. My GGgrandfather, George Draper was, for 35 years, secretary to Eastern Telegraph co, which was the company that operated the telegraph systems round the world. In the year of his retirement, 1903, there was an International Telegraph conference in London. I have a book of cuttings and invitations to the various events held. Telegraph Construction and Maintenace Co , of London, which manufactured and laid the cable; notably the original transatlantic cables, using the good ship Great eastern."
It would be fascinating to contact Mr. Henderson and find out what he's got -- unless PTM staff have already done so? Has anybody heard of him?
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
In PK NEWS Issue 46 John has written an interesting piece, 'Money Mistakes and the Birth of Science' which includes a section about the mid-atlantic ridge.
Making soundings across the Atlantic in the mid 1800's was a long and laborious task. The number of soundings made along a track would to a large extent dictate the accuracy and worth of the exercise. In mid-atlantic it took anything up to four hours to get a line to the bottom and back up again and in some cases bottom was not reached............Lieutenant Maury's measurements were taken as the best available and what he called the 'Telegraph Plateau' would have appeared as very good news to the Atlantic Telegraph Company. Unfortunately he and others who followed were quite wrong about the profile of the sea-bed along the track from Valentia on the west coast of Ireland to Newfoundland.
I have been doing some work recently on this subject with very helpful assistance from Global Marine Services who hold uptodate bathymetric surveys for many parts of the world's oceans including the Atlantic.
With their help we have superimposed a recent survey on the 1850's plots of Lieutenant Maury and British navy man Lieutenant Dayman RN in HMS Cyclops .
In the image above it is difficult to see much detail, however the RED line is the 21st century plot which shows some interesting features:
- The very steep transition where the Irish shelf ends.
- The area around 350 nm from the Irish coast which is the zone where it was believed the major fault occurred in the 1858 cable.
- Right in the centre the very pronounced Mid Atlantic Ridge which the two previous surveys of the 1850's had failed to detect.
The Ridge itself runs for a great distance (North / South) in the Atlantic extending from the arctic as we can see on the map above. Research continues on this topic particularly to look at just how much more was known ( not known) about the Atlantic sea bed and the Mid Atlantic Ridge by the time the next attempts to lay a cable were made in 1865/6.
Friday, 4 March 2011
Sunday, 20 February 2011
Friday, 18 February 2011
Saturday, 12 February 2011
I've just come across this Spanish map from 1882 of the Eastern Telegraph Company's cables (in the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana). It's a good deal clearer than most cable maps I've been able to find, and is going to be particularly useful in the telecommunications history course I'm currently teaching.
The map suggests that the ETC, or one of its subsidiaries, operated a cross-channel cable from somewhere near Hastings to Le Harve. Does anyone know which firm ran it?
On the subject of cable maps, the ever-brilliant Distant Writing website has just posted a link to a high-quality scan of the Electric Telegraph Company's routes in 1852:
Friday, 11 February 2011
This photo dated 1890 shows the Test Department at Telcon with some beefy looking buoys ( perhaps boys too !) in the background
have a good weekend, Libby