Submarine telegraph cable laid across the River Medina, Isle of Wight, 1878.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This cable is believed to have formed part of a telephone link laid in January 1878 on the Isle of Wight between Cowes, Osborne Cottage, and Osborne House, one of the royal residences. It was used by Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) to demonstrate his newly-invented telephone to Queen Victoria. Unfortunately the line from Cowes failed at the crucial moment but calls were successfully made beween the Cottage and Osborne House.