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Press Release | Telegraph Museum Launches Anniversary Season | Easter 2020

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Please note our forthcoming rebrand

From 17thFebruary 2020, the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno will be rebranded asPK Porthcurno, a unique museum experience telling the story of how a tiny valley in Cornwall found itself at the heart of worldwide communications, how it remains so today, and what might happen tomorrow.


Press Release

10 | 01 | 20

Opening Easter 2020

A special anniversary season of exhibitions and events 

The Porthcurno Cable landing from Illustrated London News June 1870

The historic Cable landing at Porthcurno | Illustrated London News, June 1870

From Easter 2020, PK Porthcurno (previously Telegraph Museum Porthcurno) presents a series of events and exhibitions to mark the 150th anniversary of a moment that marked the beginning of our modern global communications network and transformed the way Britain communicated with the rest of the world.

In June 1870, the final section of a telegraph cable was landed on the beach at Porthcurno in Cornwall, enabling telegraphic communication between London and Bombay, with intermediate connections in Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria, Suez, and Aden. From this time forwards, messages that might have taken weeks, or even months to arrive, could be sent in less than 10 minutes. This landmark development was the brainchild of visionary entrepreneur Sir John Pender, founder of The Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph Company. The network rapidly spread around the world, making Porthcurno the world's first global communication hub, and by the 1920s Porthcurno was home to largest telegraph station in the world. In time, telegraph cables were replaced by co-axial cables and co-axial cables replaced by fibre optic cables. The Porthcurno Telegraph Station, known by its call sign ‘PK', became an international specialist training college operated by Cable and Wireless. Known collectively as ‘The Exiles', engineering students from around the world came to this remote coastal valley to study together before taking their skills to far flung locations. Today the college is gone, but the fibre optic cables still come ashore at Porthcurno, and other Cornish beaches, carrying over 98% of all communications between the UK and the rest of the world.

The Telegraph Museum now occupies the site of the former station and college, and that single cable landed 150 years ago has been transformed into a global communications network for internet, email, telephone and television traffic. To mark this historic anniversary, 2020 events and activities will include:


The ‘Cable King' Exhibition

This new temporary exhibition tells the story of communications entrepreneur Sir John Pender and the laying of the original telegraph cable into Porthcurno in 1870 by Cableship ‘Investigator'.


Unique ‘Lego' Commission

Lego designer Warren Elsmore Studio will create a scale model of the Cableship ‘Investigator' and an imagined scene of the historic cable landing in 1870, complete with mini figures depicting all of the event's main characters. The construction will be filmed and shared online, and the completed Lego model will be displayed in the museum throughout the 2020 season and beyond. 


Tall Ship Event and Historic Re-enactment

Working with Adventure Under Sail, Cornwall's spectacular clifftop Minack Theatre, the National Trust and the local community we will recreate the laying of the first cable as a ‘play in a day' on Porthcurno beach. The Cableship ‘Investigator' will be represented by the tall ship ‘Pelican of London', which will be moored at Porthcurno especially for the event, with a crew including 12 specially selected young people from Cornwall. Our Cornish recruits will join the crew of the training ship and will set sail from Cork on June 8th, stopping in Porthcurno on June 10th for the re-enactment, before sailing on to Bordeaux via Brest. As part of the re-enactment, local gig rowing clubs will be invited to attend and will race out to the Pelican to bring the cable ashore.


Minack Theatre Production

Working with the Minack Theatre, we have commissioned a new play from playwright David Lane which draws on the history of the Porthcurno Valley as a hub of global communication. The play will be presented on the Minack stage throughout the week of June 22nd.


Golowan Festival 'Gets Connected'

Between 23rd and 28th June 2020 we join forces with the Golowan Festival, Penzance, for the combined celebration ‘Golowan Gets Connected', marking both the 150th anniversary of the cable landing in Porthcurno and the 30th anniversary of the Golowan festival in Penzance.  Local schools will be invited to create processional images based on the theme of communications, there will be a pop-up Telegraph Museum exhibition, talks and events about the history of telegraphy,  and artists will be commissioned to create flags and images both for the festival and for the museum site at Porthcurno. 


Planet PK | June 2020 and beyond

Planet PK is our ongoing environmental programme which looks to the future of Porthcurno Valley and recognises our shared responsibility to the habitat, biodiversity and impact of residents and visitors on this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Working with the National Wildflower Centre at the Eden Project we will replant our carpark borders and beds with pollen producing wildflowers that support biodiversity in the Valley. These will flower for the first time in 2020 for the celebrations but will then be an established feature of the valley to be enjoyed by all.


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

01736 810966 ||



Print Ready 300dpi images for press use:

 CS Investigator landing the first cable 1870

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|


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