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Press Release | Summer Season at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno

Press Release

26 | 04 | 19


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Summer at the Telegraph Museum
 Visit Us and Explore a World of Secrets, Spies and Space Missions

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Escape stairs from Porthcurno's secret underground telegraph station emerge on the clifftop above

This summer, enjoy a fascinating season of interactive exhibitions for visitors of all ages. Big ideas and amazing histories are explored in a series of must-see exhibitions which showcase the science, the people and the stories that make up the history of global communications, from the very first undersea telegraph cables to the wonder of modern fibre optics.

Did you know that the tiny Cornish village of Porthcurno was once at the heart of international telecommunications, boasting the largest telegraph station in the world?

Did you know that during World War II, the Porthcurno Telegraph Station was the hub of wartime communications in Britain, and was deemed so strategically important that it was moved lock, stock and barrel, underground, and protected by bomb-proof doors, military guards and flamethrowers?

Did you know that Cornwall is still the main landing site for international communication cables in Britain, and that 98% of all email, web, data transfer and financial trading communications are now carried by optical fibre?

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The Telegraph Museum Porthcurno, once the world's largest telegraph station, is situated in the beautiful far west of Cornwall

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The tiny Cornish village of Porthcurno was once at the heart of international telecommunications 

Explore all these histories and more through a wealth of inspiring activities, interactive technologies and hands-on experiments. 2019 Exhibitions include:


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Staff of the 'Blue Train' mobile wireless unit, Jerusalem, 1946, capable of handling up to 40,000 words a day


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Telcom Unit, Batavia, 1945. No other accommodation being available, they lived in a former Japanese prison. 

Telling the story of how ordinary people did extraordinary things to keep communications between Britain and her Allies open during World War II. Discover the daring work needed to keep cable ships operating across our oceans, and the important role telegrams played in the war. Read extracts from diaries written by employees taken as prisoners of war while they protected our communications networks around the world, and learn how Telcom Girls were sent abroad to re-establish communications centres as the Allied Forces pushed forward. See inside telegraph stations from London to Malta and find out how the war transformed the tiny valley of Porthcurno and the lives of the people who lived and worked here.


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I SPY is curated by our specialist team of Engineer Volunteers, many of whom are ex Cable & Wireless staff

Exploring how the telegraph was used to spy on, and intercept, messages, both at home and abroad. Learn how the Eastern Telegraph Company spied on Marconi's early wireless tests at the turn of the 20th century, and how the telegraph was used during both World Wars to maintain secrecy. This exhibition is curated by our fabulous team of Engineer Volunteers, many of whom are ex-Cable and Wireless staff who possess an extraordinary and irreplaceable wealth of knowledge on our history and collections. They will be on hand during this exciting new exhibition to answer your questions on all things espionage.


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Visitors can explore the secret underground tunnels where the Telegraph Station was hidden during WWII

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Telegraphy workers and equipment were moved to rooms in secret underground tunnels during the war 

This exhibition tells the story of the men who dug into and dynamited the Porthcurno hillside in 1940, building secret tunnels to house the Telegraph Station during World War II. To maintain secrecy, curious villagers were told that a shortcut to the local pub was being built. The tunnels are now Grade II listed and open to visitors. They include an authentic telegrapher's workshop and a fully working automated relay station. A secret door leads to the original escape stairs - 120 steps hewn through the solid granite bedrock to the clifftop above, giving a covert way out should the tunnels be overrun.



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Ascension Island Earth Station nearly completed

This summer, we mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing with an exhibition that tells the story of the role Cable and Wireless played in this historic event, through the installation of an Earth Station on Ascension Island, designed to support the NASA Apollo moon missions. The exhibition includes an opportunity to view the film ‘Apollo in Ascension' commissioned by Cable and Wireless from director Michael Orrom with narration from young actor Julian Glover (Game of Thrones, The Empire Strikes Back, Quatermass and the Pit). The exhibition also draws on photographs, drawings and testimonies from Cable and Wireless staff based on Ascension Island during the moon landing, who now serve as expert volunteers at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 20 July and runs throughout the year.



Telegraph Museum Opening times for Summer 2019

10:00am to 5:00pm

Last admission 1 hour before closing.


Admission Prices

Adult: £9.00

Child - under 18: £5.50 (under 5s go free)

Family £26.00 (2 adults and up to 3 children)

Senior: £8.00

Student: £8.00


Getting Here

BY BUS: Receive 50% OFFmuseum entry when you travel to see us by First Bus. Take the A1 service from Penzance and simply present your bus ticket at the museum.

See for travel times.


By Car: There are two large car parks in Porthcurno valley. The museum's car park (nearer to the museum) accepts cash and card payments. Charges: £6.50 all day. No charge from 6.00pm to 9.00am


Present your car park ticket at the museum to receive a £2.50 refund when you spend £5.00 or more on museum admission.

For disabled parking and our drop-off point, follow the road signs.

By Coach: For information on coach parties and group bookings, please ring 01736 810966.


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The Telegraph Museum is situated in beautiful gardens above Cornwall's Porthcurno beach


Telegraph Museum Porthcurno, Eastern House, Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall, TR19 6JX

01736 810966 ||




Print Ready 300dpi images for press use:

Please credit all colour photos to ‘', and credit black and white photos ‘courtesy of the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno archive'.

Escape Stairs 

The Telegraph Museum Porthcurno

Little girl visitor and globe 

The Blue Train in Jerusalem

Telcom Unit Batavia 

I SPY Engineer Volunteer

Going Underground 

Telegraph Equipment in the TMP tunnels

Ascension Island Earth Station circa 1968

For further press information and additional high-resolution images contact Mercedes Smith || Tel 07825 270235 |


Editors Notes

Telegraph Museum Porthcurno

The tiny Cornish village of Porthcurno was once the heart of international telecommunications, boasting the largest telegraph station in the world. Today, the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno is a vibrant and captivating heritage attraction. Discover our World War II tunnels, which were the secret hub of Britain's wartime communications; visit the Cable Hut where the UK's network of underwater telecommunication cables came ashore; explore exhibitions and interactive displays telling the amazing story of global telecommunications. from the first practical use of electricity to how we communicate today using fibre optic cables that still run beneath the world's seas and oceans.

A Unique History

The Telegraph Museum is unique amongst Cornwall's heritage attractions and illustrates the crucial role Porthcurno and its residents played in the development of modern communications. In particular it tells the story of the people who came to train at the telegraph station, the friendships and romances they formed, the extraordinary lives they led as Cable & Wireless employees in far flung locations across the British Empire, and the vital role they played in defining the Allies' strategy during World War II.

For Families

Designed for all ages, this family-friendly interactive museum showcases the science, the people, and the amazing stories that made developments in global communications possible, and demonstrates how advances in digital communications are changing the world forever. Immerse your family in Porthcurno's lasting legacy and spend the day exploring science, technology, history and the world around us. With secret tunnels, trails, codes to crack, interactive technology, hands-on experiments and creative seasonal events, families can take advantage a wealth of inspiring activities throughout the year, as well as enjoying our onsite café, and browsing our museum shop.

For Schools

Our varied programme of school workshops combines engaging hands-on activities with time to explore the Museum. Our experienced learning team will work with you to plan your visit, tailoring workshops to meet your groups' needs or specific learning outcomes. Activities are hosted at our onsite Clore Learning Space - an accessible and flexible space designed for both formal and informal learning.

For Students and Researchers

Available by arrangement to school students, undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers, the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno houses the business archive of Cable & Wireless, an enviable collection that includes thousands of unique records from Porthcurno's lasting communication legacy, including an estimated 10,000 photographs from the 1850's to the present day. Following the closure of the original telegraph station and training school, many historically significant objects were kept and now form the basis of the Museum's unique collection, which has designated status in recognition of its national and international significance.

Additional Information

Telegraph Museum Porthcurno is owned by the PK Trust which is a registered educational charity no. 1062233.

Telegraph Museum Porthcurno, Eastern House, Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall, TR19 6JX | 01736 810966|


A close up of a logoDescription generated with very high confidence| Tel 07825 270235 |