Search On For Help To Recreate Scilly’s Telegraph Semaphore Station

The image of a semaphore mast on the memorial to Sir Home Riggs Popham memorial

The image of a semaphore mast on the memorial to Sir Home Riggs Popham

The hunt is on for technically minded islanders who can help reconstruct the semaphore, once used on the Telegraph Tower, to mark it’s bi-centenary.

The facility closed in 1816 after just two years of operation. Fog rendered the flags useless on too many occasions.

Leaseholder Peter Laverock is keen to involve the community with an event to mark the 200th anniversary of the landmark building.

Peter has a blueprint for anyone interested. He’s sourced it from a Berkshire graveyard.

The array is depicted on a memorial to Rear Admiral Sir Home Riggs Popham who designed the signal.

It is a two-vane semaphore with louvered arms, each eight feet long and fifteen inches wide.

The arms could be set at 45-degree angles, like railway signals, using a mechanical drive operated at the foot of the tower.

Peter would like someone with engineering ability to build the 30-foot high mast structure, consisting of the mechanical parts and wooden boards in a hexagonal shape.

The semaphore messages would have been seen from 6 miles away on a clear day and Peter hopes that if the signal can be recreated, then it could provide some interest for visitors arriving on the boat.

Peter says he’d be like to make the commemoration into a celebration to entertain visitors.

He’s keen to don the outfit of the 19th century military lieutenant who lived at the station, complete with tri-corned hat, if he can arrange an open day.

Peter has been talking about his idea with the Islands’ Partnership. You can contact him through Radio Scilly.