End of semaphore

THIS WEEK IN 1979: Southern Television stays off the air

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On this day in 1847, the last message was sent by semaphore from Portsmouth to London.

The system of signalling over long distances was established in 1795 and comprised revolving shutters set in a frame.

The first was on Southsea beach, the next on Portsdown Hill and there were 12 others on heights between the town and the Admiralty.

On a clear day a message could be transmitted in five minutes – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.