Cooke and Wheatstone two-needle telegraph in Gothic case, 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Electric Telegraph Company was formed in 1846 and installed this instrument at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London in 1851. Regular reports of proceedings were transmitted from the Octagon Hall in the Palace of Westminster to St James's Street and circulated to several gentlemen's clubs. The basic mechanism is of the type introduced in 1844 by William Fothergill Cooke (1806-1879) and Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875), who invented the world's first succesful telegraph in 1837. The Gothic casing was added to blend in with the Gothic Revival style of Sir Charles Barry's (1795-1860) newly rebuilt Westminster Palace.