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.