History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
Commercial Cable Company:
These photographs of the Commercial Cable Company’s station in Antwerp are courtesy of the collection of MAS | Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp, Belgium. The museum’s curator, Jef Vrelust, notes that the photographs are dated March 3rd 1928 and the photographer was Louis Claes. Evidence from city directories shows that the CCC moved to these premises in 1928, so perhaps the photographs were taken on the occasion of the opening of the new office.
An earlier photograph showing the CCC's 1927 premises, courtesy of the collection of the Felix Archief in Antwerp, is at the end of this page.
Thanks to site visitor Jan Verhelst for locating the photos and requesting permission from the museum and archive to reproduce them here, and for further research on the CCC in Antwerp.
As the photographic negatives from which these images are taken are of quite high resolution, several of the descriptions have links to individual detail enlargements.
The signs in the office window offered the following services:
The Commercial Cable Company occupied a number of different premises in Antwerp over the years. Prior to 1921 all traffic was sent to the company’s main cable station at Le Havre in France and from there to London and the USA. In 1921 the company leased a cable direct from London to Antwerp.
The August 1st issue of Telegraph and Telephone Age, a New York trade paper, carried this story:
From Moodys Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities, Issue of 1922:
Jan Verhelst’s recent photograph of Huidevetterstraat 28 shows many changes to the building after eighty years:
Jan Verhelst’s research in city directories has provided this comprehensive list of the Commercial Cable Company’s addresses in Antwerp between 1888 and 1931. Jan’s notes are below the table.
The Commercial Cable Company was founded in 1883. The 1885 Antwerp City directory does not show an entry for the CCC, and the 1886/1887directories are not available (or do not exist?). The first appearance is in 1888
The 1920 and 1922 city directories do not show the CCC.
In 1927, the company is listed at Meir 18. This photograph shows the Commercial Cable Company's building at the left, evidently shared with several other businesses. To its right are the offices of the shipping company Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (French Line).
Until approximately 1930 street names in Antwerp were bilingual. The “upper class” used to speak French, and the French street names are needed to look up in the city directories of this period. The Dutch street names may be used to find a location on Google Maps today.
Source: Livre d’adresses de la ville et la province d’Anvers, issued by Frères Ratinckx, Grand Place, Anvers, consulted at the Antwerp city archives (‘Felixarchief”)
See also the page on some of the Commercial Cable Company’s other offices and the main Commercial Cable Company page.
The Commercial Cable Rehabilitation Society [archive link] hoped to restore the Canso cable station. Unfortunately, after many years’ work the effort failed and the building was demolished in September 2017. Ivan Smith’s page on the Commercial Cable Trans Atlantic Park at Hazel Hill gives an excellent view of the state of the site in 2005, and is a sad reminder of what could have been.
See also At an Atlantic Cable Station, an 1895 article on Hazel Hill
Last revised: 24 December, 2019