CELEBRATING 150 YEARS OF OUR CONNECTED WORLD

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our 150th anniversary has been moved on a year! Join us for Porthcurno 150+1.

PORTHCURNO 150+1

In June 1870, the final section of an undersea telegraph cable was brought ashore on the beach at Porthcurno, enabling the very first direct communications between Great Britain and India, with connections in Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta and Egypt. This huge leap in global communications was the brainchild of entrepreneur Sir John Pender, founder of The Falmouth, Malta and Gibraltar Telegraph Company.

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By the 1920s, Porthcurno was home to the largest telegraph station in the world, known by the codename ‘PK’. Over the next century, telegraph cables were replaced by co-axial cables and co-axial cables replaced by fibre optic cables that still come ashore at Porthcurno today, carrying nearly all of the day-to-day phone, email and internet communications between the UK and the rest of the world.

PK Porthcurno now occupies the site of the former telegraph station, and that single cable landed 150 years ago has been transformed into a global communication network for the 21st century.

NEW FOR 2021

MORGY THE GIANT SQUID

In association with design collective Moradavaga, our museum gardens will play host to ‘Morgy’ the giant squid, an interactive sound-experience which brings people together and explores ideas of human connectedness.

MEET THE ‘CABLE KING’

Discover the remarkable story of communications pioneer Sir John Pender, and the laying of the first undersea telegraph cable into Porthcurno in 1870 by Cableship ‘Investigator’.

THE RED SEA LINE

The ‘Red Sea Line’ was the name given to the original telegraph cable which came into Porthcurno in 1870. Curated by our Engineer Volunteers, this exhibition explores the cutting-edge Victorian technology which made this extraordinary undertaking possible.

FOR LEGO LOVERS

See our specially commissioned scale model of the 1870 cable landing at Porthcurno beach, complete with a tall ship and mini figures. Created by famous Lego designer Warren Elsmore. From May half term.

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150 EVENTS

TALL SHIPTASTIC

DATES – TBC

Join us for a spectacular re-enactment of the 1870 cable landing, including the arrival of tall ship ‘Pelican of London’ which will drop anchor at Porthcurno for the event.

‘THE VALLEY’ BY DAVID LANE

DATES – TBC

A Minack Theatre & PK Porthcurno Production – This specially commissioned play spans two centuries and begins hours after the first telegraph cable linking Britain to India is laid in Porthcurno, when a farmer finds an abandoned child on his doorstep.

GOLOWAN GETS CONNECTED

DATES – TBC

PK Porthcurno is partnering the Golowan Festival in Penzance to celebrate 150 years of global communications in Cornwall with the theme ‘Golowan Gets Connected’.

ARTIST COMMISSIONS

Artist Lucy Birbeck is creating a bespoke set of silk flags commemorating the 150th anniversary, to decorate the museum exterior and the Porthcurno valley site throughout the summer, and sculptor Graham Jobbins is creating a large-scale processional 3D image commemorating the 150th anniversary, for participation at the Golowan Festival.

UPCOMING PROJECTS

PLANET PK

2020 & BEYOND

Working with the Eden Project, our 2020 wildflower planting scheme is designed to support and enhance the habitat and biodiversity of the Porthcurno Valley.

GEEK WEEK

DATES – TBC

A family oriented mini festival of immersive experiences. Join us to discover ways in which Cornwall’s Museums have been experimenting with augmented and virtual reality. A collaboration with wAVE Immersive Experiences in Museums and Falmouth Games Academy.

MINI SYMPOSIUM

DATES – TBC

Working with University College London and the current incumbent of the Pender Chair of Electrical Engineering, we will host an academic symposium on global communications.

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