PO Telegraph 3d

Telegraph stamps of Great Britain.

Until recently, only the Post Office telegraphs were well known.
This is changing but the printed information is still out of date.
I hope to gather further information and present it here.

This site has been expanding. Click here for a site-map.

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Contributors:

Jeff Turnbull.
Jim Hammond.
RL - Rolf Lamprecht.
Bill Glover.
Soleryllach.com

 

Eastern Telegraph Company (ETC).

 

Shortcuts to different sections
1868-70 Precursors Eastern in Britain UK Stationery Non-UK Stationery Receipts Money transfers Tariffs Eastern Associated Eastern Extension Cable & Wireless GB Companies Stationery

Once the largest cable operating company in the world.
It originally had offices at 66 Old Broad street, but moved to a new
Head Office at Electra House, 84 Moorgate, London, EC2., in 1902.
A 1915 form gives it as Electra House, Finsbury Pavement  (London, E.C.)
Sometime between 1922 and 1927 it also opened Tower Chambers at Moorgate.

This page is new and very much a 'work in progress',
Try not to trip over the scaffolding.

Eastern Telegraph Company Logo

THE EASTERN TELEGRAPH COMPANY
(for a reasonably complete history, see Atlantic-cable.com)

Reasons for inclusion.

This is a rather isolated page.

My website is primarily about telegraph stamps, though it now has a new section of Telegram Seals that includes quite a lot on telegrams.
I have also been able to add a lot of stationery recently to some sections, notably the British Electric Telegraph Company.

As I have gradually expanded the scope of the website, the 'elephant in the room' has become harder to avoid.
Though not, as far as I know, issuing its' own stamps or even telegram seals, this company was the glue that eventually, largely held most of the rest together.

Not having been there at the time, I need sources of information.
Firstly, Distant Writing by (the late, and great) Steven Roberts.
Other sites worth a look are Atlantic-Cable.com.
and Having the Revenue on a Line (PDF)

 

According to Grace's Guide, John Pender created the company in 1872
by amalgamating and reorganising several companies (starting in 1868). These were:

Mediterranean Extension Telegraph Co (1868)
Malta and Alexandria Telegraph Co (1868)
Anglo-Mediterranean Telegraph Co (1868)
Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph Co (1869)
This was the link with Britain, but despite the name, they switched to Porthcurno, Cornwall
which was chosen rather than Falmouth to reduce the risk of cable damage from anchors.
British-Indian Submarine Telegraph Co (1869)
Marseilles, Algiers and Malta Telegraph Co (1870)

This network created a near monopoly for many destinations from Britain.

When the Post Office took over operation of the private telegraph companies, it left a lot of loose ends.
The Submarine Telegraph Company (STC) was not taken over since the nationalisation was limited to the inland telegraphs.
The STC maintained control of its submarine cables until 1889 when the 40 year monopoly it had been granted, expired.

1868-70 Precursor companies:

Mediterranean Extension Telegraph Co,

- My Ref. MET-STC-1859-1
Mediterranean Extension-Malta receiving - 18
- My Ref. MET-STC-1862-1
Mediterranean Extension-Malta receiving - 186
Receiving forms used at Malta, dates unclear, images courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

- My Ref. MET-Malta-1866-1
Mediterranean Extension-Malta receiving - 18
- My Ref. MET-Rec-1862-1
Mediterranean Extension-Malta receipt
Sending form from Malta, 1866 or 1868, Courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com Receipt used at Malta, clearly dated 9 May 1862 ! Courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

Malta and Alexandria Telegraph Co.


A Forwarding Form of 9 September 1868 to Bengasi.
- My Ref. MAT-F-1868-1

Form of September 1868 - front   Form of September 1868 - back
Front and back courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph Co.


Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta Telegraph Co., receipt of 1871, courtesy of Jim Hammond.
- My Ref. FGMT-Rec-1871-1

Falmouth, Gibraltar and Malta receipt
For a telegram from Malta to Dublin, 10 September 1871.

 

 

In Britain:

ETC early envelope
An early envelope courtesy of Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com


ETC at Porthcurnow
In 1902 the Eastern Telegraph Company erected a Wireless Telegraph mast at Pedn-men-an-Mere, near Porthcurno where they had a submarine cable since June 1870.
Porthcurno is near Land's End, Cornwall and was the terminus for submarine telegraph cables from 1870 to 1970, connecting with the Americas and India via Europe.
This Telegraph Station was once the largest cable station in the world, and also had a Telegraph training school. It now acts as a Museum of Global Communications.

 

UK Stationery


Eastern Telegram and registered envelope of 1915, courtesy of Jim Hammond.- My Ref. East-5/17A-1915-1

Eastern Telegram and registered envelope of 1915
Alexandria to Newbury, Berkshire, England, 12 December 1915.
Does anyone know the significance of the "Paslondon 83" or perhaps "Paslondin 83" cachet on this and the first shown below ?

It is not clear from this image (on a white background), but at the top the telegram has a Perfin of PBC9.
The two (half size) images below on a black background make it clearer:

The form number at top-left is illegible, but printed in red. - My Ref. East-5/17A-1917-1
PBC11 (from Alexandria, Egypt) PBC26 (from Iringa, GEA)
PBC11 (from Alexandria, Egypt), courtesy of Edward Coombes. PBC26 (from Iringa, GEA), courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.

The Perfins appear to be World War I censorship marks, with PBC indicating "Passed by Censor" and the number presumably designating the specific Censor.
Numbers known are 9, 11, 16, 26 and 45.

 

- My Ref. East-Dec26-GT-1
ETC Telegram of 25 December 1926
- My Ref. East-Dec26-Env-1
ETC Envelope of Xmas 1926
A Cablegram of 25 December 1926 from Buenos Aires, with envelope promoting Unity, Goodwill and sales "Via Eastern". Images courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

- My Ref. East-5/17A-90-1927-1
ETC Telegram of 31 December 1927 - front   ETC Telegram of 31 December 1927 - back
A Telegram of 31 December 1927, front and back used at Tower Chambers, Moorgate, London. The back still shows Electra House as the head Office though. Images courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

ETC Telegram   ETC Telegram
Received in London, England in 1928 and posted to Hamburg, Germany.

 

 

Non-UK Stationery (though printed in London)

An undated form for use at Cairo. The address is a pre-1922 address. Courtesy of Jim Hammond.- My Ref. East-FW-1920-1
This is for "Telegrams to all parts of the world".

Eastern, Cairo Telegram - front

There is nothing on the back, but abbreviated terms and conditions at the bottom. No printers imprint or date.

 

"(Message Forms 5/20)" dated 14 March 1925, for use at Trieste. - My Ref. East-MF5/20-1925-1
This was from Las Palmas.

Eastern, 1925 Trieste Telegram
No printers imprint, Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

An undated Message Form 5.1,2,3 & 10 for use in Malta, courtesy of Jim Hammond.- My Ref. East-MF5123-1920-1
This is for "Deferred Plain Language Telegrams".

Eastern, Malta Telegram - front

This was presumably never sent, since it was mostly not filled in. There is also no indication of the date of it.

Eastern, Malta Telegram - back

It does though give the terms and conditions. It was printed by Waterlow & Sons, London Wall.

 

 

Non-UK envelopes

Montevideo, Uruguay to Lisbon, Portugal of 1876

Eastern, Montivideo to Lisbon, 1876
Courtesy of Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions. (click on image for listing).

 

Eastern Spain to Germany Envelope - 1910   Eastern Spain to Germany Envelope - 1912
Messages received at Vigo, Spain and mailed to Germany. Left 1910 and right 1912.
Images courtesy of Soleryllach.com.

 

 

Receipts

In Pera (Istanbul):- My Ref. East-SB9/57-1921-1

Eastern Telegraph Co., Pera reseipt
A receipt of 1921 - from RL.

 

More receipts are shown in the  HAVING THE REVENUE ON A LINE (PDF).

 

 

 

Money transfers


Money transfer from Spain to Gibraltar, courtesy of Jim Hammond.
Money transfer to Gibraltar, 1906
This was sent, 21 April 1906.

 

 

Tariffs

Here is a leaflet detailing tariffs as of 6 June 1922, courtesy of Jim Hammond.

Tariff-1922-1  Tariff-1922-2  Tariff-1922-5
Front cover,    inside  and   back.

Tariff-1922-3

Tariff-1922-4

Note the frequent "ALL RATES ARE SUBJECT TO ALTERATION WITHOUT NOTICE" - prices could be affected by business decisions, sabotage and/or acts of war. Rates for other years would be very welcome.

 

 

Eastern Associated

In 1902 the Eastern Telegraph Company and The Eastern Extension, Australasia & China Telegraph Company, together with 10 other smaller companies, created The Eastern & Associated Telegraph Companies' Cable System.
Map circa 1922.
Eastern Associated Telegraph Companies Cable System
Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Eastern Telegraph Co. in 1922, a commemoration was held in London with a souvenir book that included maps of the system in 1872 and 1922:

Eastern Associated Telegraph Companies Map 1872

Eastern Associated Telegraph Companies Map 1922

Images courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

1922 brochure - front 1922 brochure - reverse Greetings Telegram Form
The two images on the left are from the 1922 booklet.
This map must be a little after 1922 since it shows red lines within Europe,
Australia, India and South America, as well as lines from
Shanghai northwards, and to Japan.
It also refers to Tower Chambers in Moorgate rather than Electra House.

Images courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

 

Eastern Extension Australia & China Telegraph Co. Ltd.

Around about 1875, the British India Extension Co., China Submarine Telegraph Co., and the British Australian Co., amalgamated to form an extension to the existing Eastern Telegraph Co.
This became known as the Eastern Extension Telegraph Co.

MEETC seal
EEA & CTCL Perfin EEA & CTCL Perfin
EEA / & / CTCL Perfin on a 4c Straights Settlements stamp of 1883.
The Eastern did not produce telegraph stamps, but like any other company
Straights Settlements included Singapore, Penang and Malacca.
needed to use postage and fiscal stamps. Some can be found with their perfin.
Images courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.

 

Here is an example of an Eastern Extension - Receiving Form used at Penang on 16 July 1924 for a telegram from Madras. - My Ref. EEAC-65-Penang-1
It was printed in England by "William Brown & Co. Limited, Export Stationers, &c., London, E.C."

MEETC Telegram, 16 July 1924

 

Here is an example of an Eastern Extension - Receiving Form used at Singapore on 26 February 1920, or is it 1926 ?, for a telegram from Madras. - My Ref. EEAC-65-Sing-1
Again it was printed in England by "William Brown & Co. Limited, Export Stationers, &c., London, E.C."

MEETC Telegram, 26 February
Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

A similar style to the above, - Telegram received at Singapore on 12 June, ostensibly 1933, for a telegram from Saigon. - My Ref. EEAC-RT-Sing-1
It has a printers imprint at the top, but I cannot make it out. It does not look like William Brown.

Telegram, 1933 ?
Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com


This envelope appears to go with the above.- My Ref. EEAC-131-Env-1
It is to the same person at the same address and also on 12 June, but has a handwritten 23 for the year. Was it 1923 or 1933 ?

Envelope, 1923 ?
I suspect the handwritten date is more likely to be correct. Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

Here is an example of a Receiving Form used at Singapore on 24 September 1924 for a telegram from Karaikudi, India. - My Ref. EEAC-Sing-1924-1
Again it was printed in England by "William Brown & Co. Limited, Export Stationers, &c., London, E.C." I see no Form number or company logo.

MEETC Telegram, 24 September 1924
Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

An example of an Eastern Extension - 'Typing Received Form' used at Singapore, for a telegram from Saigon dated 24 January 1922. - My Ref. EEAC-66-Sing-1
It was printed in Hong Kong by "Tho Kae Shean & Co."

MEETC Received Form 1922
Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

Here is an another example of a 'Typing Received Form' used at Singapore, 2 days later on 26 September 1924 for a telegram from Saigon. - My Ref. EEAC-64-Sing-1
This was printed in England by "William Brown & Co. Limited, Export Stationers, &c., London, E.C."
This is similar to the last, but with form number and Reply Advice. No company logo.

MEETC Telegram, 24 September 1924
Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

Another printed by "William Brown & Co., London. - this a Transmitting Form used in Madras on 22 May 1923, for a telegram to Madras? From who ? - My Ref. EEAC-TF-Madras-1
Perhaps this was used as a receiving form for a telegram from Penang.

Transmitting Form - Madrass 1923
Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

 

 

Cable & Wireless.

Competition between The Eastern cable, Marconi wireless and the GPO Imperial Cables was hurting all of their finances.
By 1929 the spirit of cooperation had held sway over cutthroat competition and Cable and Wireless Ltd. was formed to share out the cake between them.


Imperial and International Communications Ltd. 20 January 1931.  (Message Form 5/17A-50) - My Ref. IICL-5/17A-50
Sent from Oxford to London.
Imperial & International Telegram of 20 January 1931
Printed by L & P. This is very similar to a 1927 telegram of the Eastern Telegraph. Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

Cable and Wireless Ltd Via Imperial with a map of the world. The form is dated June 1934 and it was used 15 January 1935. (Message Form 5/—158). - My Ref. CW-5-158-1934
Night Letter Telegram.
Imperial Telegraph Form - 15-1-1935 - front

The back has information about the location of Telegraph Offices.
Imperial Telegraph Form - 15-1-1935 - back

 

Cable and Wireless Via Imperial wartime telegram. The form is dated September 1942 and it was used 15 August 1943. - My Ref. CW-1942-1
It is stamped "OVERSEA" and the origin is coded as ISA1069. It has a "Passed by Censor"" mark.
Imperial Telegraph Form - 15-8-1943 - front

The back has a lot more information about the location of Telegraph Offices and the head office.
Imperial Telegraph Form - 15-8-1943 - back

 

This printed in Australia. - A Receiving Form used in Adelaide 9 May 1947, for a telegram from a Pyrologist somewhere ? - My Ref. EEAC-CW-1947-1
Perhaps that was on the 1ST SHEET ? It has a nice map.
Notice "CABLE AND WIRELESS" at the top and 'MARK YOUR REPLY "Via Imperial"' at the bottom.
This appears to be to Sir William Goodman.

Transmitting Form - Adelaide 1947
The connection to Madagascar here is different to the 1927 map showing it connected to the mainland instead of Mauritius. Image courtesy of Bill Glover at Atlantic-Cable.com

 

This is printed in England. - A Receiving Form used in Valetta, Malta 19 August 1953, Printed Feb. 1944 (10,000 pads.) Top-right Form No. 5/-168 - My Ref. CW-5-168-1944-1
Notice still "CABLE AND WIRELESS" at the top and 'MARK YOUR REPLY "Via Imperial"' at the bottom.

Telegram, Valetta, Malta 19 August 1953
Image courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.

 

This is printed in England. - A Receiving Form used in St. Georges, Malta 22 September 1959, Printed Aug. 1946 (10,000 pads.) Top-right Form No. 5/-168 - My Ref. CW-5-168-1946-1
Notice still "CABLE AND WIRELESS" at the top and 'MARK YOUR REPLY "Via Imperial"' at the bottom.

Telegram, St. Georges, Malta 22 September 1959
Image courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.

 

 

I would welcome other images for this page.

 

BT plc currently holds many documents relating to the early history of the Telegraph Companies.
An overview of their archives can be seen in this pdf document.

 

Telegram Seals
Seals
A World Catalogue

 

 

Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.

Contact:     Emale

Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.

 

Last updated 29th. November 2021

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/20/21 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.

 

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