Computer Conservation Society event.


Alan Burkitt-Gray


2:00pm - Refreshments and networking
2:30pm - Start of webinar and face to face event
5:00pm - Event ends


South London – and especially the Greenwich and Woolwich area – is the birthplace of global telecommunications and therefore of the internet. From 1850 onwards Greenwich was the focus of the subsea cable industry, and there is still a factory on the site today, run by Alcatel Submarine Networks, owned by Nokia.

That factory was joined by that of Siemens Brothers on the border of Charlton and Woolwich, a huge telecoms business until it was shut down in the late 1960s. The first successful subsea cables were built along the river – from Greenwich to Erith. Brunel’s Great Eastern, built on the Isle of Dogs, laid the first successful transatlantic cables – two of them – and, in 1870, the first cable from the UK to India.

The engineer who invented optical fibre was trained at what was Woolwich Polytechnic, now Greenwich University in the old Royal Naval College.

About the speaker 

Alan Burkitt-Gray

Alan Burkitt-Gray, who lives in south London, was a telecoms and technology journalist for 50 years until he decided to take a break this year. He worked for The Engineer, based in Woolwich, and went on to work for publications such as Computing.

For the last two decades until he stopped full-time work he was at the Euromoney group, working on Global Telecoms Business and then Capacity. He has also talked on TV and radio, including World Service and the Today programme.

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This event is brought to you by: BCS Computer Conservation Society

Hybrid event: South London’s role in the history of Telecoms
Date and time
Thursday 21 September, 2:30pm - 5:00pm
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
Ground Floor, 25 Copthall Avenue
This event is sold out