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

CS Great Northern
by Bill Glover


Built in 1870 by Denton Gray and Company, West Hartlepool

Length 240.0 ft  Breadth 32.3 ft  Depth 23.9 ft  Gross tonnage 1422

Purchased in 1871 by Hooper's Telegraph Works Ltd., and fitted out for cable laying by the installation of a combined paying out-picking up machine, four cable tanks, and two bow sheaves. In 1879 the vessel was sold to the Eastern and South African Telegraph Company for use as a repair ship based at Zanzibar.

This watercolour shows (from left to right) CS Mirror (1), CS Chiltern, and CS Great Northern, berthed in Vigo for supplying, coaling, and other services. It was painted in 2016 by Roberto Hernández, and is reproduced here by his kind permission. More ship paintings may be seen at his website.

Great Northern remained at Zanzibar for the remainder of her career which came to an end on 5 December 1902 when returning to Zanzibar from Bawe Island she was wrecked on a reef named Fungu Ghawamba. The cable machinery was salvaged.


For Hooper’s:
1871 Vladivostock - Nagasaki - Shanghai - Hong Kong

Batabano - Cienfuegos - Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

Captain H. Manning:

Alexandria, Egypt - Larnaca, Cyprus

1878 Lemnos - Salonika No 1
With CS Mirror (1) and Chiltern for Telcon
1897 Vigo, Spain - Gibraltar

Cableships Index Page

Last revised: 22 December, 2019

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