Newsletter 2012

The Old Telegraph Tower on St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

From Peter Laverock, 24 August 2011

I’m writing to let you know that I have leased the Telegraph Tower on St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, from the Duchy of Cornwall.  The tower was built in 1814 for semaphore and then from 1904 was a Marconi wireless station operated for the Admiralty with the call letters TVP.  The tower is my home, but I am willing to show people round if they contact me first. It’s the highest building on the Isles of Scilly and has wonderful views.

This is a postcard of unknown origin showing the tower, probably in the 1920s, with a large wooden mast nearby.  The coastguard houses behind lasted up to the early 70s when they were demolished and replaced with concrete bungalows. The smaller photo, by Dave Dunford, is of the tower as it is today.

I’m also interested in finding more information about the wireless station so that I can make a small museum on the ground floor of the building.  Virtually no physical evidence of the wireless station remains but I do have plans, correspondence and photographs, mostly from the Bodleian Library.  They came up with about 12 documents on the Telegraph Tower, including a black and white photo and some correspondence sent by Marconi to the Admiralty when he found out that they were trying to poach one of his best engineers!

There’s a bit more information which I have from the Cornwall Archaeological Unit, which also goes into the semaphore era.