Discover PK: Coastal Timetripping

Discover PK: Coastal Timetripping

PK Porthcurno

Porthcurno

17 May 2021 onwards

Famous for its iconic beach and unique open-air theatre, the lesser known story of Porthcurno lies beneath its golden sands. Hidden under the feet of unsuspecting beachgoers is a network of cables that once made this tiny village the largest telegraph station in the world and the first ever global communications hub. Since 1870, when the first telegraph cable arrived in Porthcurno, connecting Britain to India, Porthcurno has played a pivotal role in global communications. Today, fibre optic cables still come ashore at Porthcurno and a handful of other beaches around the Cornish coast, carrying 99% of all communications data between Britain and the world. 

In the 1800s, each telegraph station had an international call sign – rather like a ‘handle’ in today’s terms. The code for Porthcurno Telegraph Station was ‘PK’, and it was used for decades to communicate between Porthcurno and other stations across the globe. Today PK Porthcurno – Museum of Global Communications -is a multi-award-winning heritage attraction which tells the extraordinary story of the history and science of global communications and the role Porthcurno played in that story.

Porthcurno’s very nature means it is a coastal timetripping experience in itself from the first undersea telegraph cable to the new world of fibre optics today. The easily downloadable Coastal Timetripping app allows adventurers the chance to traverse the valley, the beach and the grounds of PK Porthcurno as layered sets of information and content arise.

The Discover PK project brings a new historical experience, deepening the understanding of the valley’s place in global telecommunications, allowing visitors to feel the significance of what was once, in the late Victorian era, the most important station in the world. Stepping from the external, technology based experience into the intriguing museum itself allows adventurers the opportunity to transport between the centuries, all joined by the strands of technological development.

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