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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

Charles Henry Baker

Charles Henry Baker and the Central & South American Telegraph Company, Barranco, Peru.

Charles Baker

Charles Henry Baker was born 28 May 1846 at Southwick in Hampshire, England. He married Florence Annie Mary Hardy (the daughter of an English family living in Galveston, Texas), in Palestine, Texas, USA, 2 December 1885, possibly a second marriage.

He is believed to have worked on the Great Eastern in 1866, perhaps as an engineer, but his movements from 1866 until his marriage in Texas in 1885 are unknown. It is possible that he worked in Galveston for the Central & South American Telegraph Company on the links between North and South America, eventually moving to the company's branch in Barranco/Lima, Peru. He left Texas with his family in 1890.

The photograph (full image below; detail right) shows Charles Baker as Superintendent of the Barranco office of the C. & S.A. Tel. Coy., a subsidiary of All America Cables. The photograph is undated but a reproduction of it in the All America Review of May 1928 dates it as 1895.

Charles Baker returned to England before the outbreak of the First World War, where he worked for the English Cotton Sewing Company in Stockport. There were possibly previous connections with the cotton trade in Texas.

He died 9 May 1915 in Levenshulme, Manchester, England.

Barranco Office
Central & South American Telegraph Company

Click on the image for a larger view

C. Ireland  G.Powell  J. Emson  H. Howard
M. Bullard  J. Pescod  C.H. Baker (Supt.)  H. Pescod  G.J. Pescod  T. Morris  G. Woolldridge


In 1993, an enquiry to the British Embassy in Lima, Peru, produced the following additional information:

"…. We have spoken to an 88-year old Mr. Pescod, whose father is the H. Pescod in the photograph you sent (J. Pescod was an uncle and G.J. Pescod presumably his grandfather). He recalled that his father worked with an Alfred Samuel Baker (presumably the son of C.H. Baker), who was subsequently transferred to Salinas in Ecuador as manager of the cable station there. This is confirmed by our consular records, which show the birth of a son, John Vernon Baker, to Alfred Samuel and Elizabeth Maude Baker at Barranco in 1910 … in 1913 the family were living in Salinas…"

The photograph and history of Charles Baker are published here by kind permission of Jan Warwick, Baker's great-granddaughter. Jan would appreciate any further information on Charles Baker and the Barranco cable office; she may be contacted through the Atlantic Cable website.

Bill Glover adds these notes on the Central & South American Telegraph Company's cableships. See also Bill's complete article on the C & SA


Built in 1890 by R. Thompson and Son, Sunderland

Length 240.0 ft. Breadth 32.2 ft. Depth 14.2 ft. Gross tonnage 1198

Built for the Central and South American Telegraph Company and used primarily for repair work, but did on occasions lay short cables.

Transferred to All America Cables in February 1920 and remained in service until 1932 when sold to the Dutch East Indies Exploring Company, Nevada. Sold to a Chinese company in 1937 and was named Elli. Wrecked in 1940 but salvaged and renamed Bjornefjell. Changed hands again in 1947 and was then renamed Bota. Finally renamed Finn in 1948 keeping this name until scrapped in 1952.

(see photo of Relay, misidentified as Riley, in the 1898 article Submarine Cable Laying).


Built in 1907 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. Newcastle upon Tyne.

CS Guardian

Built for the Central and South American Telegraph Company and used primarily for repair. Transferred to All America Cables in February 1920 and based on the west coast of South America on cable maintenance. Sold to the United Fruit Company in 1940 but retained the name Guardian. Sold in 1946 to the Caribbean Atlantic Shipping Corporation and renamed Ceibar. Sold again in 1948 this time to Ships and Vessels Ltd., Israel, again with a name change to Theodore Herzel. Sold for scrap in 1951.

1913 postcard showing the Central & South
American Telegraph Company cable office
on Front Street in Colon, Panama.
The sign says:
"Cables Via New York & Via Galveston"

Research Material Needed

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You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

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