Monday, 31 July 2017

Liverpool and Holyhead Telegraph

Prior to the establishment of the Semaphore Telegraph ships approaching Liverpool were signalled to their owners by means of flags on Bidston Hill. At its peak there were 103 poles and masts sited on the hill. The watchman who reported the signals was initially located on a warehouse in Chapel Street, then on the tower of St. Nicholas Church and lastly on Tower Buildings.

In 1824 the Liverpool Dock Trustees applied to Parliament for authority to make improvements to Liverpool Docks and in response an Act of Parliament was passed on 27 June 1825 ‘for the further improvement of the Port, Harbour, and Town of Liverpool,’ which authorised the Liverpool Dock Trustees to:

“establish a speedy Mode of Communication to the Ship-owners and Merchants at Liverpool of the arrival of Ships and Vessels off the Port of Liverpool or the Coast of Wales, by building, erecting and maintaining Signal Houses, Telegraphs or such other Modes of Communication as to them shall seem expedient, between Liverpool and Hoylake, or between Liverpool and the Isle of Anglesea.”

The following year the Trustees authorised Barnard Lindsay Watson to carry out a survey. Watson reported back that the cost of the line he proposed would be £1700 for the stations and appropriate equipment. He recommended stations at Liverpool, Bidston, Hoylake, Golden Grove, Hill Beyond Abergele, Great Ormes Head, Round Table Penmon, Llaneilian, Llanfaithlu, Holyhead. On 1 August 1826 the sub-committee set up to oversee the project reported in favour and work commenced immediately. The line was amended and stations were erected at Liverpool, Bidston, Hilbre Island, Voel Nant, Foryd, Llysfaen, Great Ormes Head, Puffin Island, Point Lynas, Carreglwyd, Holyhead.

Route of the telegraph after the 1841 changes Holyhead Mountain - Cefdnu - Point Lynas - Puffin Island - Great Ormes Head - Llysfaen - Foryd - Voel Nant - Hilbre Island - Bidston - Liverpool Read More

Lowry refers to the Liverpool and Holyhead Telegraph in Chapter X111 of In Ballast to the White Sea; "A lone airman, that wintry Easter, was flying over the Irish Sea. Now that the fog had cleared completely he was following the line of the old telegraph stations to Liverpool: Holyhead, Cefn Du, Point Lynas, Puffin Island, Great Ormes Head. Making a spurt, he covered the seventeen miles between Llysfaen over Veryd to Voel Nant in seven minutes."

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