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

Cable Covers and Miscellaneous

Thanks to Bill Glover for providing the stamp images and text for this page.

All material on this page is copyright © 2006 Bill Glover

Ascension C&W 100 MS.JPG (143883 bytes)

Ascension C&W 100.JPG (102055 bytes)

St Helena C&W100 FDC.JPG (101494 bytes)

Centenary of Cable & Wireless on Ascension Island


Ascension 2d 1956.JPG (35996 bytes)

Seine Ascension 3p 1979.JPG (36637 bytes)

Anglia Ascension 8p 1979.JPG (35182 bytes)

Cable map Ascension 12p 1979.JPG (38013 bytes)

Seine Ascension 15p 1979.JPG (37481 bytes) Ascension C&W 25p 1979.JPG (39716 bytes)
Anglia Ascension 15p 1999.JPG (33146 bytes) Cambria Ascension 35p 1999.JPG (34380 bytes) Cable map Ascension 40p 1999.JPG (37814 bytes)
Colonia Ascension 50p 1999.JPG (37146 bytes) Seine Ascension £1.50 1999.JPG (199125 bytes) St Helena 20p Cable.JPG (35781 bytes)
Seine St Helena 25p 1999.JPG (34717 bytes) Anglia St Helena 30p 1999.JPG (38052 bytes) St Helena 80p Cable Station.JPG (36495 bytes)


Ascension 1956 2d Cable route map
1979 3p, 8p, 12p, 15p, 25p 80th Anniversary of the Eastern Telegraph Co. on Ascension
1999 15p, 35p, 40p, 50p Centenary of Cable & Wireless on Ascension
1999 £1.50 S/S Centenary of Cable & Wireless on Ascension
St Helena 1999 20p, 25p, 30p, 80p Centenary of Cable & Wireless on St Helena

On the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899 direct communication between the UK and South Africa became essential. The Eastern Telegraph Company contracted the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Company to manufacture and lay the cables. CS Anglia laid the 2065 nm first stage from Cape Town to St Helena, completing it by 26 November 1899. While CS Anglia returned to the UK for more cable CS Seine laid the section from St Helena to Ascension a distance of 844 nm completing it by 15 December 1899. CS Anglia then laid 1975 nm of cable from Ascension to St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands, completing the task by 21 February 1900. At St Vincent the cable connected with the Western Telegraph Company's cables to Carcavelos, Portugal, then via Eastern to Porthcurno, England. In 1901 the Eastern Telegraph Company contracted the same company to manufacture and lay cables from St Vincent to Madeira and from there to Porthcurno. CS Anglia and CS Britannia (2) carried out the work. As an alternative route in case of cable failure CS Anglia laid a cable from Ascension to Freetown, Sierra Leone a distance of 1125 nm in 1901.

In 1979 Ascension issued a set of stamps celebrating the 80th anniversary of the landing of this cable on Ascension, but inscribed the design as "80th Anniversary of the Eastern Telegraph Company". The Eastern Telegraph Company was formed in 1872.

A similar thing happened in 1999 when both Ascension and St Helena issued stamps to celebrate the centenary of the cable but inscribed the designs as "Centenary of Cable & Wireless". Cable & Wireless was formed in 1934.


Ascension 1899 FDC.JPG (159915 bytes)

CANTAT 2.JPG (77096 bytes)

80th anniversary of the Eastern Telegraph
Company on Ascension Island


CANTAT 2, 3230 miles in length, with 489 repeaters, runs from Widemouth Bay, Cornwall, to Beaver Harbour, Nova Scotia. The UK shore end was laid by HMTS Ariel, the main cable of 3033 miles was laid by CS Mercury and the rest of the cable by the Canadian icebreaker and cable layer, CCGS John Cabot. The cable can carry 1840 simultaneous telephone conversations or twenty times that number of telegraphic circuits. Standard Telephone and Cables Ltd. manufactured the cable and repeaters.


India.jpg (49706 bytes)

IOM Europa 1988 FDC.JPG (93185 bytes)

Indo-European telegraph line centenary

Isle of Man Europa 88


Dacia Canaries.JPG (37575 bytes)

Dacia St Vincent 70c 1997.JPG (28991 bytes)

Canaries Centenary.JPG (57411 bytes)


1883     Cover from CS Dacia written during the cable laying expedition.
1983    Special cover and cancellation for the cable centenary.
1997    St Vincent    70c    CS Dacia

In 1883 Sir Charles Tilston Bright and the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Company set up the Spanish National Telegraph Company to link the Canary Islands with Spain. The Spanish Government provided a subsidy on the condition that the cables would be handed to the state after a period of ten years. The cables were manufactured by the above company and CS Dacia and CS International were used to lay the cables.

Cables ran from Cadiz to Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) 827 nm. Confital (Gran Canaria) to Regla, (Tenerife) 55nm. Garachio (Tenerife) to Santa Cruz de la Palma 77 nm. A cable was also laid to St Louis, Senegal to provide a link into the French cable network.

Many additional stamps are shown on the pages linked from the Stamps Index page

Last revised: 18 May, 2010

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