04 October 2014

Helping to save Enderby House

I've just become president of the Enderby Group, which was formally set up in Greenwich last week to seek a long-term -- which means viable -- future for Enderby House, the early Victorian remains of the site which pioneered international subsea telecommunications.

Enderby House was the home of Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company, where the first Atlantic cable was built in the 1860s. For 100 years afterwards the factory -- under various names -- was the biggest maker of the subsea cables that revolutionised international communications. In its first century the factory in Greenwich made 82% of the world's subsea cables, 713,000 kilometres in length, joining up Europe with North and South America, Africa, India, Asia and islands around the world.

This all started in Greenwich. Find out more about the Enderby Group here.

These changed the way the world operates. Before cables, it took more than a week to get news from the US to Europe -- several weeks in the days of sail. After cables went into service, news became something we could share in hours -- and, today, with the internet, minutes. Cables brought families together, at first with telegrams and then with phone calls, and today with emails, text messages and Facebook.

11 August 2010

Bilbao, August 2010


Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, 9 August 2010: Anish Kapoor's cannon fires another bucket of wax at the wall.

13 March 2010

Brunel's Thames Tunnel

The Thames Tunnel was open to pedestrians today, but from tomorrow it's a railway again, for driver training in time for the re-opening of the East London Line, now part of the London Overground, in April.

More pictures at: http://picasaweb.google.com/alanburkittgray/BrunelSThamesTunnel#

05 April 2009

Rocket launch in Baikonur

Just back from a wonderful trip to the Russian cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, to see the launch of a Eutelsat telecommunications satellite, W2A, on a Russian Proton rocket on 3 April 2009.

While there we -- one British journalist (me) and three French, plus customers and executives of the satellite company from around Europe -- went on a tour of the vast cosmodrome, about the size of the Netherlands, and saw the pad from which Yuri Gagarin was blasted off in 1961 and the space museum, including the Soviet space shuttle, which made one unmanned flight before the project was abandoned in the 1980s.

Here's a camel just outside Baikonur town. I've posted more pictures from Baikonur at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/alanburkittgray/BaikonurCosmodrome34April2009?feat=directlink

08 January 2009

Foggy London

London tonight: St Paul's Cathedral just visible through the fog from the Millennium Bridge

07 November 2007

Blackheath fireworks 2007

Blackheath, where we live in south-east London, is home to a huge annual firework display, on the Saturday closest to 5 November. This year's was on 3 November.

20 April 2007

Midday bell in Venice

The whole family spent a few days in Venice in early April, having travelled by train from London via Paris. On Wednesday 11 April we were at the top of the campanile in Piazza San Marco when the bell started to ring for noon -- and continued for a full two minutes. The bell is just outside the door of the lift to the belfry -- and a few centimetres above the visitors' heads.