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

1946 Long Service Certificate
W.T. Henley’s Telegraph Works Co. Ltd.

Introduction: By 1946 Henley’s had been out of the communications cable business for some time, but the vignettes on this elaborately decorated and calligraphed long service certificate reflect many aspects of the company’s long history at its North Woolwich and Gravesend works.

See this page for a general history of Henley’s and this page for a detailed index listing of archive material on the company.

—Bill Burns

Long Service

Presented to

Rupert John Clarence Graham

By the Directors of

W.T. Henley’s
Telegraph Works Co. Ltd.

In Appreciation of
Faithful Services Rendered During

Twenty-two Years

Montague Hughman Chairman
Date 31st October 1946

At the top centre is a stylized small boat with “Henley” on its sail, and the words "Trade Mark" underneath.

Woven through the floral border on the right side of the certificate is a blue ribbon bearing the words ‘Integrity” “Industry” “Prosperity”.

Four coloured illustrations show a cross-section of underground electric power cable; an electrical supply feeder pillar; power transmission lines on pylons; and a multi-strand telephone cable.

Of more interest are the historic photographs at each corner of the certificate. The one at the top left shows what appears to be a tug out on the water, with three men and a boy on a beach handling either a rope or a cable.

At the top right, large drums of power cable marked “33,000 Volts SL Type Cable” are shown at Blackfriars Railway Bridge in London (with St Paul's Cathedral in the background). This scene probably dates to the 1920s, as 33kV cables were not introduced until after the First World War, and the article linked above was published in 1927.

The two photographs at the bottom of the certificate show the company’s Gravesend Works (opened 1906); and the North Woolwich Works (opened 1853).

Landing a shore end cable?

Henley’s electrical cable at Blackfriars Railway Bridge. The cable drums appear to be on the adjacent road bridge.
Current view of the scene at Google Maps
(the old railway bridge was removed in 1985)

Henley’s Gravesend Works

Henley’s North Woolwich Works

The certificate was designed and produced by Alan Tabor of Manchester, a well-regarded calligrapher and artist who produced similar certificates for a number of companies.

The Rylands Library in Manchester has Tabor’s Illuminated Manuscript of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in its collection and provides this biographical note:

The Manchester artist Alan Lansdown Tabor (1883-1957) was born in Bedminster, Somerset. He established himself as a “commercial and artistic designer” in Manchester in the early years of the 20th century (he first advertised in the Manchester Guardian in January 1908). He produced illuminated addresses and certificates from a studio in St Ann’s Passage, moving to premises in Albert Square in around 1933. In 1937 he produced a loyal address from the City of Manchester upon the accession of George VI (Manchester Guardian, 4 March 1937, p. 13), and in 1943 he designed the scroll conferring the freedom of the city upon Winston Churchill. Tabor died on 28 September 1957.

Last revised: 23 January, 2023

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—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: Atlantic-Cable.com