City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

National Museum of Scotland Inviting Public to Bring Along Old Telegrams on Saturday


By Editor - Posted on 18 July 2013

Museum of Scotland

"Take a Telegram, boy!" was the call. The National Museum of Scotland is inviting people to bring their telegrams to the Museum this Saturday to be scanned as part of a UK-wide project which is being coordinated by the Science Museum in London.

Curators are particularly interested in those telegrams which have an interesting story behind them. The topic of the telegram can be anything from national, international or local events to personal and family events, and they can be from any time from the Victorian age when the technology was new, up until the 1980s when it the service was withdrawn in Britain.

Telegrams were the instant messaging of their day, containing short direct messages which were quicker than conventional mail and were especially popular until telephones became widely available, reliable and economical. India’s 160 year-old telegram service was discontinued only this past Sunday.

People can bring their telegrams in from 10-5 on Saturday 20 July to the Learning Centre of the National Museum of Scotland. The project volunteer in Scotland has already collected a few interesting examples.

The Science Museum in London will be opening a new communications gallery called Information Age in September 2014 which will celebrate key developments in communication technologies over the last 200 years and incorporate a diverse range of personal stories to reveal how our lives have been transformed by communication and information technology developments.

A telegram display in the ‘Cable’ area of the Information Age gallery will help convey some of the stories gathered in this telegram archive project.  

The Scottish National Gallery is one of six museums, including the Science Museum, that is helping to identify potential telegrams, from Victorian times up until 1980s.

The telegram may be of any length and the topic of the telegram can be anything from national, international or local events to personal and family events.  

The museums are first and foremost looking to scan the telegrams, so no donation is required. If people are willing to donate the originals, further arrangements can be made.  

The National Museum of Scotland event is taking place on 20 July, 10.00 – 17.00. Contact Kirke Kook at k.kook@nms.ac.uk for more information.