SECRET OF THE
SEA BEACON
REVEALED

Western Daily Press Reporter

  An office in Richmond Street, Weston-super-
Mare, has been open every hour of every day since
1885, but few people in the town know it is there.

  Soon it will have gone,
closed in the interests of
efficiency and economy.
  Yet through this office pass
hundreds of messages a day,
going out from London to the
world, or coming in to Britain
and the continent.
  The office belongs to the Com-
mercial Cable Company, an
American-based firm. Few cables
were transmitted from Weston,
although some firms still make
use of the service.
  But the office, just off the sea
front is the company's relay
station in England.
     Cable marker
  Here is the starting point of
their Atlantic cables, stretching
from Weston out to Waterville,
County Kerry, and then on by
way of the Azores or Newfound-
land to the United States.
  That marker beacon in the
middle of Weston Bay. which
most people assume is simply to
show the height of the tide. is
actually above the spot where
the cables run.
  The Weston relay station
began life in a cottage on the
site of the present building.
  Eleven technicians work a
round-the-clock system to ensure
that the service is always avail-
able.
  They have all been offered
other jobs. Some, nearing pen-
sionable age will retire.
      Keeping watch
  Mr. E. F. A. Mullholland,
superintendent there since 1958,
has already taken a similar post
at the firm's offices in Bristol.
  The rest of the steadily
dwindling staff stay on, keeping
watch over the amplifiers which
boost the messages across the
Atlantic.
But very soon now these mes-
sages will go through the new
trans-Atlantic telephone cables
running out from Scotland.
  The future of the building
which houses the Weston office
is unknown. Whether the cable
itself will be left underwater
or not is problematical.
  But never again is there likely
to be the need-as there was
during the second world war
for troops and barbed wire to
bar access to Richmond Street
and the top secret messages
passing through No.3.

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