Between the 1840s and 1860s the business world and press’s growing demand for a swift and efficient form of long distance communication met up with a new technology offered by some innovative entrepreneurs, thus initiating the dynamic development and spread of British telegraphy. Many studies describe the origins of the service, others the players, while still others take into consideration telegraphs over the long term in Britain. This monograph presents instead an analysis of the technological and entrepreneurial features of the service, together with the companies which ran it until nationalization in 1869. It provides a historical reconstruction, mainly based on original and unedited documents belonging to a variety of archives, and thus fills in numerous gaps and grey areas, so that historical facts can be interpreted with greater objectivity and accuracy. This explains the wealth of footnotes, which need to be read together with the main text.
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