Have you ever heard the exciting story of the English Cable?
In 1873, the Eastern Telegraph Company, the world’s biggest telegraph operator, set up its head office at nº 20 Calle Real, in the very heart of the city’s old quarter.
The security that the city’s port and Ria provided for the cable support frame was one of the main factors that enabled Europe, through Vigo, to find out about news and events of great importance in the course of history.
The arrival of the submarine telegraph cable and the British team that worked on it transformed society and customs in Vigo. The first news agencies were established and beer factories were built. Meanwhile, the first matches of football, rugby and table tennis were played.
Shall I let you into a secret? If you go down to the beach at Alcabre at low tide, the sea will give you a glimpse of the remains of one of the submarine cables that connected Vigo to the rest of the world. When you get there, look at one of the houses next to the beach and you can still see the initials ETC on its façade.
In Calle Taboada Leal on the slopes of the O Castro Park in the city centre, you can also discover the place where the telegraph operators lived. The company’s first and second head offices were located in the current Post and Telegraph Office and Casa Bárcena, respectively. The latter of these was home to the English Cable’s clock, which set the time for the entire city, synchronized to the second with the Greenwich Meridian.
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Photography: José Ramón Cabanelas