Sunday, 16 May 2010

Telling the tale of the telegraph at Brewster Ladies' Library

The French Cable Station Museum, Orleans
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A French flag hangs outside this old 19th century building in the town of Orleans, just a few miles east of Budleigh Salterton's sister-town of Brewster on Cape Cod. It's not just because the Cape Cod town of Orleans was named after the ancient French city. The flag reminds visitors that this building, completed in 1891 was the American termination point for a telegraph cable that came directly to the United States from France. It was installed in 1898 and was almost 3,200 miles long.

Click on and you can read the full story of the French telegraph and the Orleans cable station, which has been preserved as one of just three such marine telegraph stations remaining around the world. The others are in Newfoundland, and Porthcurno in Cornwall

On 18 May 2010 museum volunteer and retired electrical engineer Joseph Manas will present a talk at Brewster Ladies' Library on the history of the Transatlantic Telegraph and the French Cable Station, and show a short video produced by the Orleans museum. Mr Manas is keen to educate a whole younger generation about the importance of these pioneers of telegraphy, forerunners of electronic communication and the internet.

One day, perhaps, Budleigh Salterton will devote a corner of its Fairlynch museum to one of the town's famous former residents who played his own heroic part in the story of telegraphy.

Vice-Admiral William George Preedy, who settled in retirement at Park House in Knowle played a crucial role in establishing the first successful transatlantic link between England and America, 21 years before the installation of the French underwater cable. The full story is at

Above: Admiral Preedy's memorial window in East Budleigh church, where he is buried

For more information about Mr Manas' talk contact Brewster Ladies' Library on 508-896-3913 or email

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