Scrambled Messages

The Telegraphic Imaginary 1857-1900

The trans-Atlantic telegraph changed the world in the nineteenth century. But what do we mean when we say this? Our Scrambled Messages project wants to go beyond the obvious answers and think about how it entered the public imagination. Our project marks the 150th anniversary of the successful laying of the cable. We are looking at the way in which popular understandings of the trans-Atlantic submarine telegraph fed the Victorian imagination and made certain themes, metaphors and paradigms urgent and relevant for artists, writers, scientists and other cultural producers. 

More about the Scrambled Messages project

Exhibition catalogue published

The full Victorians Decoded: Art and Telegraphy catalogue is now available to download.

Containing short and extended essays on all the charts, paintings and artefacts previously on display in the Victorians Decoded exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London.

The project team

We are an interdisciplinary group from fields as diverse as engineering, art history, English and archaeology. From the Institute of Making, the Courtauld Institute of Art and King's College London.

Meet the Scrambled Messages team

What we do

We meet fortnightly to explore and discuss telegraphic imaginings in Victorian literature, engineering, and the arts (1857-1900). Read our ongoing project bibliography here and our most recent thoughts on our blog. We hold frequent events to disseminate and share our work and are producing a selection of teaching resources for use in schools. Scrambled Messages has also funded the cataloguing and digitization of the Wheatstone collection, which is searchable here.


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