Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

Useful Information

Location: Porthcurno.
Open: APR to 05-NOV daily 10-17, last admission 16.
11-NOV to 10-MAR Mon, Sun 10-17, last admission 16.
Fee: Adults GBP 4.95, Children (5-18) GBP 2.75, Children (0-4) free, Seniors GBP 4.40, Students GBP 3.50, Family GBP 12.
Groups (10+): pre booked 10% discount.
Classification: SubterraneaWorld War II Bunker
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Eastern House, Porthcurno, Cornwall, TR19 6JX, Tel: +44-1736-810966, Fax: +44-1736-811914. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1914 .


The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is located underground. It is located inside an underground bunker from World War II. Two parallel tunnels were created, huge enough to be called chambers. The reason was the importance of Porthcurno as a hub of the Eastern Telegraph Company's international links.

The fortification of Porthcurno started in 1914, during World War I. A detachment of 43 soldiers was billeted in the theatre. They fortified the village by sandbagging windows, erecting barbwire fences, and digging trenches. During World War II the measurements were much more dramatic. Local miners built underground tunnels which were used to move the whole telegraph system underground. And the beach was fortified with trenches and flamethrowers.

The tunnels were constructed during 10 months. The entrance tunnel was shaped to prevent blast from hitting the door directly, nevertheless the doors were blastproof. The tunnels had their own power plant. A staircase to the hilltop above was built as an escape route. The tunnels were camouflaged and guarded, in order to prevent an invasion, which never happened. The area of the bunker was never hit by a bomb, but nearby Roskestal Farm had a few hits on its fields.

Today the excellent preserved tunnel are used for the museum. The exhibition is primarly dedicated to the trans Atlantic communication. A main topic is Brunel's Great Eastern designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This huge ship, constructed between 1851 and 1859, was a steamer with paddles wheels, built to transport emmigrants to America. But it was too late and so after some bad luck and desaster it was used as a cable layer for a telegraph cable from the UK to America. In 1870, it was laying the Porthcurno to Bombay cable and during 9 years it laid 26,000 miles of cable.