Telegraph Path

PUBLISHED: 16:52 19 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:52 19 August 2014

Telegraph Path.

Telegraph Path.


Have you ever wondered about the origins of local street names?

Telegraph Path, a long footpath that connects Green Lane and White Horse Hill in Chislehurst is named after a visual telegraphy signalling device developed by Lord George Murray (1761-1803) on behalf of the British Admiralty in 1795. This was due to the threat of invasion by Napoleon.

Lord George Murray’s Shutter Telegraph was commissioned by the Admiralty for use across the South of England and with a payment of £2000 Murray supervised the construction and running of the shutter system.

This consisted of a large framework tower, with six five feet high octagonal shutters on horizontal axes that flipped between horizontal and vertical positions to signal.

They were placed on the rooftops of specially constructed cottages on high ground at regular intervals, in line of sight of the next shutter.

The first chains ran between London to Deal and London to Portsmouth. One set of shutters was placed in open fields at the top of Green Lane.

An average message could be conveyed from London to Portsmouth in 15 minutes and a pre-arranged signal in two minutes.

By the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars the shutters were no longer necessary, and were closed down by the Admiralty in March 1816.

– Information supplied by Bromley Local Studies
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