Porthcurno Telegraph Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

Porthcurno, England, United Kingdom

The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum examines the history of telegraphic development as well as housing Britain’s vital World War Two underground communications centre.

Lily Johnson

05 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Wikimedia: Tony Atkin / Porthcurno Telegraph Museum / CC BY-SA 2.0

About Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of telegraphic development and is the site of one of the most historically important communications centres in the UK.

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum history

In what would become one of the most ground-breaking events in modern communications, the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cables were laid in the 1870s and came ashore in Porthcurno, one of the westernmost points in Britain. Vital in keeping contact with other parts of the world, Porthcurno soon became the gateway to the Empire.

The original cables used binary telegraphy and Porthcurno soon became the busiest (and probably the most important) communications station in the world. From its establishment in the 1870s to its closure in 1970, telegraphy underwent huge changes, and as technology evolved so Porthcurno became redundant in its original purpose.

Cable and Wireless, who by this time owned the business in Porthcurno, made good use of the buildings as a training school for their workers from around the world. The museum was established when the college was moved in 1993.

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum today

One of the most spectacular aspects of the museum is the underground World War Two tunnels, from which vital communications between Britain and her allies were run. These caves and tunnels have been left more or less as they were throughout World War Two.

Overall, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is a fascinating place to visit, and has a lot of interactive activities for children (and/or adults) as well as exhibitions on the development of modern communications technology, mobile phones and the internet.

You should allow no less than an hour and a half to explore it, while the nearby Minack Theatre is also a must-see while in the area.

Getting to Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is in Penzance in Cornwall just off the B3315, and can be reached via the A30 from Exeter. There is a car park adjacent to the site, where the A1 and Land’s End Coaster bus services also stop.