Albert Francis Lorens is a much loved and respected past volunteer at PK Porthcurno and had a long career working for the Eastern Telegraph Company/ Cable & Wireless as a technician, mechanic, and engineer.
Born on the 4th October 1921 in Nazareth, Palestine, Albert arrived at Porthcurno in 1958, after training to be an engineer in Haifa, Israel. He was to spend several years working at the Porthcurno Engineering College.
In 1960, he married Wendy James of Newlyn, Cornwall.
Working and Living Overseas
In 1967 Albert was posted to Gibraltar, one of several overseas postings that included Algiers, Bahrain, Yemen, Muscat, and the Seychelles. A son of French and Italian parents, Albert embraced the opportunities provided by living in such diverse places and can speak an impressive five languages!
Returning to Cornwall
Upon retirement in 1979, Albert returned to live in Cornwall with his wife Wendy and children Amanda, Peter, and Jeremy. Since the first undersea cable arrived in 1870, the cable station, and the engineering college, attracted (mainly) men from across the world to live, work and train in the coastal valley of Porthcurno. Like Albert, a number met and married women local to the area. This familial connection to Cornwall drew many back to Cornish shores in later years.
Volunteering at PK
At PK, we appreciated Albert’s knowledge and ability to fix and restore almost anything mechanical or electrical. He was an active part of the dedicated volunteer team at PK that helped (and continues) to repair and maintain the old telecommunications equipment.
Over the years, Albert generously donated items that are now part of the PK Porthcurno Collection. These have included :
- Vertical needle galvanometer used on inland telegraphy circuits, manufactured by H.W. Sullivan, London.
- Photocopies of postcards sent from Porthcurno showing the Eastern Telegraph Company buildings dated 1921.
- Brass drawer handle engraved ‘ETC’ from the staff quarters at the telegraph station in Gibraltar.
- Brass clock from the Head Office in Gibraltar inscribed ‘The Eastern Telegraph Co. Ltd’, acquired during a refurbishment of the Gibraltar Head Offices around 1969.
- Scanned copy of a mess bill given to Albert Lorens following a stay at the Porthcurno Engineering School in 1960 (pictured right).
At PK celebrating his 100th!
The PK Porthcurno team is honoured to have hosted a party to celebrate Albert’s 100th birthday. It was wonderful to have friends and relatives join him at PK for a chat, tea, and a slice of cake.
In true PK Porthcurno style, Albert was presented with a telegram to commemorate the occasion!
Image: Albert Lorens with his daughter Amanda and son Peter, holding his 100th birthday card from HM The Queen.
Photo credits: with acknowledgement and thanks to Albert’s family for allowing us to share their photographs.