Porthcurno was the great telecommunications hub of the nineteenth century, starting from 1870 when the first underwater telegraph cable from India came ashore at Porthcurno. The transatlantic cable and twelve others followed, and the Cable and Wireless company set up a global training centre for their technical staff at Porthcurno. When C&W closed this Cable College in the 1990s, they set up on the site the Museum of Submarine Telegraphy, now rebranded as the Telegraph Museum.
This fascinating home of the Victorian Internet offers a history of telecommunications, and visits to the wartime control bunker and fortified tunnel. As well as a sculpture garden and cafe, the museum now features a new education centre in a building purpose built in 2014, with solar panels added in 2019. Ironically this museum is located in narrow valley with no mobile phone reception, except more recently for Vodafone due to a discreet new mast, but fiber optic broadband was finally added in 2014 - surprisingly late, given the large number of fiber optic cables that actually come ashore at Porthcurno and connect the world of today.
The remodelled museum re-opened in summer 2014, with a fantastic new cafe and ultrafast free wifi, and is in the process of digitising their extensive archive. The museum has a new Director named Julia Twomlow from June 2018. Distinguished former Director Tim Cooke of Northern Ireland had started in 2016, as the previous Director had made an unexplained departure in early 2015 after a very short tenure. 2016 also saw the launch of the excellent Valley Tales & Trails project, which signposts important points in this historic valley and maps out two pleasant and informative circular walks from the site. Free leaflets mapping the walks and explaining the sites are available from the reception desk at the museum.
The Museum is also one of the six major partners in the new Porthcurno Coastal Communities Grant project, which is Lottery funded specifically to bring economic development to the area and benefit local residents.
Address and postcode: Eastern House, Old Cable Lane, Porthcurno TR19 6JX | Typical Summer Hours: From April untll the end of October, the Museum, the cafe and shop open every day from 10:00 to 17:00, with last admission at 4pm. Access to the shop and cafe are free, and the cafe has very pleasant outdoor seating overlooking the valley. Winter Hours: subject to change, but normally open, Saturday Sunday and Monday only, with more openings at holiday periods. Current date and pricing information is available at TelegraphMuseum.org.