This group comprises the records of a number of private telegraph companies.
Private Telegraph Companies
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- ReferenceGB 1814 TG
- Dates of Creation1846 - 1899
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description15 companies
Scope and Content
The development of the telegraph system in the United Kingdom closely followed the growth of the railways with telegraph offices often being located at stations. The Government allowed the network to develop under private ownership and did not intervene significantly in its running. This was in sharp contrast to the telegraph system on the Continent which had been under state ownership since its inception.
By 1868 there were five major telegraph companies operating the inland network, all of which were open to criticism regarding errors, delays and high prices. Frank Ives Scudamore campaigned on behalf of the Post Office for them to be nationalised citing how unfavourably they compared with those on the Continent. Despite protestations from the companies a series of Acts of Parliament were passed and the inland telegraph system came under control of the Post Office in 1870.
For more information about each company please refer to its catalogue entry.