Weston Bay cable
beacon blown up

FAMILIAR LANDMARK, DAMAGED IN
STORM, DEMOLISHED

THE cable beacon, for so long a familiar landmark in Weston
Bay, has been demolished. It was blown up last week-end
by a local man, Mr. Gordon Holtby, of 1 Furze Close,
Worlebury, on instructions from the cable company which used
to have offices in Richmond Street.

  Mr. Holtby told the Mercury that
the cage on top of the cable beacon
was washed away in a storm during
the winter,. This damage was reported
by a Trinity House survey ship on
its routine patrol of buoys, beacons
and marks in the Bristol Channel.

DEMOLITION

  Trinity House contacted the cable
company's head office in New York
asking if the beacon could be repaired
by replacement of the cage. Other-
wise it was suggested, it should be
demolished.
  The company decided on the latter
course, and the beacon, some 30 ft.
in height and mainly of steel con-
struction, was demolished by Mr.
Holtby. The steel structure would
have been of no value even as scrap
metal, for to dispose of it would have
meant, in the first instance, the some-
what expensive task of hauling the
steel "remains" all the way back to
Weston.
  The beacon, which stood about a
mile out from Weston sea front, used
to be maintained from the offices of
the Commercial Cable Company in
Richmond Street. From that office,
four cables can out to sea. Their
route was marked by the beacon, and
the thousands of trans-Atlantic
I messages passing through the cables
were boosted by the Richmond
Street relay station.

NAVIGATIONAL AID

The beacon was originally erected
as a navigational aid to cable-repair
ships needing to locate the trans-
Atlantic cable link. The metal cage
surmounting the beacon, which was
washed away in a storm last
November, had been replaced about
ten years ago.
  In 1962, however, the cable com-
pany, an American concern, decided
to close the Weston offices in the
interests of efficiency and economy
as they had obtained facilities in the
new trans-Atlantic telephone cables
which cross the Atlantic from
Scotland.
  The laying of the first cables took
place in Weston Bay in 1885 when
the Weston office was opened in two
small cottages. As the years went by
this accommodation proved in-
adequate, to deal with the ever-
increasing flow of messages across
the Atlantic so the offices were
enlarged.
  A second cable was laid in 1901, a
third followed nine years later and
the fourth was put down in 1926.
  During the 1939-45 war when
important Government messages and
secret information went through the
cables, the building in Richmond
Street was surrounded by barbed wire
and guarded by troops. Access to
Richmond Street was barred except
to those with special passes.

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