Optical Telegraph station, Netley Heath

Nearby Routes

One of the line-of-site stations between London to Portsmouth used in the Napoleonic wars from 1795-1816. Lord George Murray, stimulated by reports of the French Chappe semaphore, proposed a system of visual telegraphy to the Admiralty in 1795. He employed rectangular framework towers with six five-foot-high octagonal shutters on horizontal axes that flipped between horizontal and vertical positions to signal. The Admiralty accepted Murray's system in September 1795, and the first system was the 15 site chain from London to Deal. Messages passed from London to Deal in about sixty seconds.

Chains of Murray's shutter telegraph stations were built along the following routes: LondonDeal and Sheerness, London–Great Yarmouth, and London–Portsmouth and Plymouth. The shutter stations were temporary wooden huts, and at the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars they were no longer necessary, and were closed down by the Admiralty in March 1816.