What connects Putney with Chatley Heath in Surrey?

Published: 06/01/2019 By Allan Fuller

The Telegraph Pub on Putney Heath has very sadly closed, hopefully to re-open soon. The inn was named after the admiralty telegraph that stood nearby. It had been there since 1796 and was originally a shutter station – a large frame with six shutters. This was replaced in 1822 with a mast and two ’arms’.

The Telegraph had been set up to convey messages between London and Portsmouth at a time when fears of a Napoleonic attack were rife. The chain of 10 telegraph stations started with the Admiralty, then continued at Chelsea, Putney, Kingston Hill, Cooper Hill and so on down to Portsmouth. The last remaining link in the chain is the semaphore tower at Chatley Heath in Surrey near Cobham ( KT11 1PQ)which has been restored and is open to public. The Telegraph system survived until December 1847 by which time electronic systems, invented in 1838, were being used.

Chatley heath tower It is the best preserved remaining tower and has a working semaphore mast which is 60 feet (18 m) high with five storeys topped by a parapet built of red brick. It is open to the public on Sundays in summer, and contains hands-on working semaphore models and displays on the history of overland naval communications in the early 19th century.