Objects & Stories

explore the collections

Explore our world-class collection and discover the history of global communications and the people who made it happen. From the early days of the electric telegraph and undersea cables, to the invention of wireless, satellite, fibre optics and beyond.

Collections & archive

Monarch Under Fire

The history of the Second World War is one rich in stories and those of cableships are no less courageous and hazardous than those of warships. Learn about a 'friendly' fire incident with the cableship Monarch.

Collections & archive

What is a cableship?

Discover the history of cableships from the early ships repurposed to lay the first telegraph cables across the Atlantic, to the development of purpose built cableships that lay and repair fibre optic cables today.

Imporved mushroomsPK Stories

Autumn Fungi

Young Curator Maeve Cushla diverts our attention away from the sea and beach of Porthcurno and deep into the woodland that surrounds the valley.

Collections & archive

The Lady and the Wolfpack

Our cableship blog series continues with this account from the Second World War. In 1943, cable repair ship, Lady Denison-Pender, is escorted on hazardous duties by an armed convoy, in what is to be a very close call with a U-boat wolf-pack near the Spanish Sahara.

Collections & archive

The End of the Grappler

Duncan Mackenzie explores the fateful story of the cableship Grappler which got caught in the pyroclastic flow of the Mont Pelée volcano eruption of 1902. Part of our cableship blog series.

Collections & archive

Colonia vs the U.S. Navy

Duncan Mackenzie continues his cableship blog series with a story about the British cableship Colonia being fired upon by the US Navy in 1920!

Collections & archive

Congor Bay Satellite Earth Station Revisted

Explore the site of the Satellite Earth Station in Congor Bay, Barbados, with PK Porthcurno volunteer Robert de Corday Long, who worked for Cable & Wireless when the station was originally opened in 1972.

Collections & archive

The Great Eastern

Duncan Mackenzie, our Digital Collections Officer, explores the history of Isambard Brunel’s SS Great Eastern. The SS Great Eastern was a formidable but flawed iron ship that laid the first successful transatlantic cable in 1866.

PK Stories

Interview with Caleb Giddens

Planet PK talks to local ocean and lifestyle photographer Caleb Giddens and discuss the highs and lows of working in a field impacted by the environment and increased tourism.

Collections & archive

The Languages of Telegraphy

Citizen curator Hannah Reeves, researched the Marconi Map, created in 1917. The map is colour coded to show the language most used for communications in each country.

Collections & archive

Stamp into PK: Stamps from the G7 countries

The telecommunication stamps in the PK collection teach us about the history of communication. All the stamps in this blog were issued by the countries attending the 2021 G7 summit in Cornwall.

Collections & archive

Darwin subsea cables

Young Curator Raquel Coning, based in Australia, and inspired by information discovered in The Zodiac magazine, researches the heritage listed subsea cables that connected Darwin, Australia to the world 150 years ago.

Bobby & FamilyCollections & archive

Bobby’s Letters

Last year PK Porthcurno was gifted a collection of letters, written between the years 1915 to 1925, from the nephew of Edgar Lawrence Smith - who began his career working for the Western Telegraph Company.

Collections & archive

Sir Edward Wilshaw Family Films

In 2020, PK Porthcurno was gifted a collection of digitised films, the majority of which have been filmed by Sir Edward Wilshaw, Chairman for Cable & Wireless from 1936 to 1947.

Collections & archive


Introducing PK's 2021 Citizen Curators and International Research Interns and the projects that they will be undertaking using our archives and collection.

Collections & archive


Sophie Meyer, Collections Cataloguer at PK Porthcurno unearths a mystery during some recent research in the photography archive.

Collections & archive

SES Digitisation project

Learn about the SES sponsored digitisation of 448 engineers reports from our archive that is being undertaken by the collections team.

Family learning

British Science Week 2021

It's British Science Week and we are looking at the advent of the electric telegraph - the precursor to today's internet!

PK Stories

Dark Sky – Young Curator Blog

In our latest Planet PK blog, we discuss our work with Penwith Landscape Partnership, Cornwall AONB and Cornwall Council in supporting the West Penwith application aiming to become an International Dark Sky Park.

International Day of Women in SciencePK Stories

The Telcom Girls

To celebrate the International Day of Women in Science we highlight a groundbreaking unit of Cable & Wireless that launched with the first female employees to be stationed overseas.

PK Stories

Wave Action – Young Curator Blog

In our latest Planet PK blog, we look at the recent swell in Cornwall, and the potentially devastating effect these swells can have on our coastal landscape and coastal communities.

Family learning

Play in a socially distanced world

PK Porthcurno was selected to take part in a Kids in Museums mentoring project that explored ways of bringing play into the museum, in a socially distanced world.

Plastic beach wastePK Stories

Protecting our coasts – Young Curator Blog

In the fifth of our Planet PK blogs, Young Curator, Maeve Cushla, looks at how we can protect our coasts from pollution through careful consideration of what we purchase, take to, and safely remove from a day at the beach.

PK Stories

Kids in Museums – Young Curator Blog

As the museum is closed for lockdown 2, Maeve Cushla, our Young Curator, spent this week photographing and researching the local songbirds around Porthcurno valley for the Kids in Museums takeover day. 

storylines, sennen school, communityPK Stories

Storylines and Sennen School Project

Inspired by the uniformed Messenger Boys, who delivered telegrams by bicycle or foot, children from Sennen School will become ‘Messengers,’ sharing their own stories and collecting stories from their families and friends.

The Medical Side of Porthcurno

Citizen Curator Explores Medicine at the College Citizen Curator Susan Kersley brings her knowledge of medical matters to an exploration of the medical issues encountered in Porthcurno during the years of the engineering college in a video.  It can be found on our YouTube channel. A unique exploration into an aspect of Porthcurno’s history, the

The Development of the Telephone Box

New Videos on the Museum’s YouTube Channel Communications are all around us and have revolutionised our lives.  In our mini-series on classic public communication on the street, we look at the development of the iconic British telephone box.   And in a supplemental video, we take a little look at the curious meeting between the

Latest PK Videos on YouTube

Pillar Boxes, Telephone Boxes, and a Little Talk & Tea It has been an active month on the museum’s YouTube channel, with seven videos being uploaded in only three weeks.  These videos include ‘Talk & Tea’, created for an exhibition in our tunnels.  Between January to March 2019 pupils from St Buryan Academy Primary School

Citizen Curator Video: Once Upon a Time

Citizen Curator Lucy Coyne’s Video Now Showing! Lucy Coyne’s video – the result of her involvement in the Citizen Curators programme – focuses on the impact of the cable station and engineering college in Porthcurno on local people.  It is a video full of interviews and stories.  Find out about milk-bottle throwing and little boy

A Classic British Icon – the Red Telephone Box

Our Latest Video is on YouTube As part of our mini-series on classic public communication on the street, our latest video looks at the red telephone box, an icon of British design recognised across the world. We focus on the ‘K2’, which is recreated in the video using Blender software (that thumbnail image of a

Citizen Curators Present . . .

Our Citizen Curator Tiffany Coates’ Video Inside our collections, there is a mysterious object: a digeridoo!  Follow Tiffany Coates as she attempts to uncover the secret of how it came to be in Porthcurno, and what a close examination of it can reveal! Watch the video, ‘A PK Mystery: the Digeridoo’ to learn more!

Communication On the Street – New Video

Our Latest Video is About the Humble Police Box We have a new video on our YouTube channel, called ‘The Police Box – classic public communication on the street’.  It is part of a short series on communication before the wide-spread use of the telephone.  If you needed the police but the local station was

PK Stories

1870: The Year We Made Contact

In 1870, the cable to India was laid.  But it wasn't the only thing to happen that year.  Our latest video explores the events of 1870, a year that brought the modern world closer.

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