The essential journalist news source
Press Release| Cornwall celebrates its part in the Apollo 11 Moon Landing | July

Press Release

29 | 04 | 19


A close up of a signDescription generated with very high confidence

Space History Celebrated in Cornwall

Telegraph Museum marks its role in the Apollo Moon Landing

A picture containing outdoor, sky, train, trackDescription automatically generated

Cable & Wireless's Ascension Island Earth Station nears completion

This July marks the 50th anniversary ofNeil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's first steps on the moonas part of NASA's pioneering Apollo 11 moon landing. In celebration, the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno presents an exhibition that tells the story of the role the museum's founders, Cable and Wireless, played in this historic event, through the installation of a satellite 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, which was commissioned by Cable and Wireless to document the installation of their satellite station on a barren, volcanic landscape in the southern Atlantic, a place which became a modern communications centre for international space travel. The Ascension Island Earth Station was used for all nine of the Apollo moon shots during the 1960s and 70s, six of which landed astronauts safely on the surface of the moon.

Directed by Michael Orrom, the film includes original narration from a young actor named Julian Glover, known today for his roles in Game of Thrones, The Empire Strikes Back and Quatermass and the Pit. The exhibition also draws on photographs, drawings and testimonies from staff who were based on Ascension Island during the 1969 moon landing, and who now serve as expert volunteers at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno.

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

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

01736 810966 ||




Print Ready 300dpi images for press use:

Please credit photos ‘courtesy of the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno archive'.

The Ascension Island Earth Station nears completion  

Editors Notes

The Filming of Apollo in Ascension

In 1966, film director Michael Orrom was commissioned by Cable and Wireless to document the installation of a satellite communications' station on Ascension Island. Cable and Wireless' links with Ascension Island (part of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha) date back to 1899 when, under its original name, the Eastern Telegraph Company, it had installed the island's first underwater cable system linking it with South Africa and later the UK.

Michael Orrom had previously directed three Cable and Wireless films: Call the World (1962), Ring Around the Earth (1964) and East West Island (1966), all of which were produced by Eyeline Films. However, by his fourth commission, Orrom decided to produce independently as well as direct through his own company, Film Drama Ltd (BECTU Interview, 1992). It was an ambitious undertaking for a nascent production company, but the resultant film was widely acclaimed and ran throughout Expo '67 at the British Pavilion (held April - October in Montreal) as well as representing Britain at the Scientific Film Festival in Belgrade in 1968.

Whilst the construction of the earth station proceeded with military precision, the filming of it was beset by difficulties from the moment that Orrom and the Film Drama crew arrived on Ascension Island on 5 August 1966. Cable and Wireless imposed a dauntingly tight schedule, ordering that the station be fully operational by September. This deadline, coupled with the remoteness of the location, caused formidable logistical difficulties for the Film Drama crew.  Furthermore, the volcanic island with its all-pervading lava dust created interminable problems for cameraman David Muir who had to spend hours cleaning the equipment. Progress was also drastically hampered when, whilst climbing out of a satellite dish onto 100-foot high scaffolding, Orrom sustained a serious back injury that rendered him incapacitated at the Georgetown Hospital for the remainder of the production. Orrom's stand-in, John Crome, who had edited Ring Around the Earth, was flown in on an RAF training flight as replacement director and received a co-director credit for his efforts. Having completed the shooting on schedule, the crew returned to the UK to face the major task of editing 20,000 feet of 16mm footage, for which, Orrom, who was somewhat revived by now, appointed, in his own words, ‘the best editor around', R.Q. McNaughton of Night Mail fame. Film Drama would go on to produce a further four films for Cable and Wireless.

Info from:

Ref: BECTU History Project interview with Michael Orrom by Norman Swallow, 3 March 1992, accessed at the BFI.


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.


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 |