On Tuesday, the electric telegraph was brought into active operation on a grand scale, for the purpose of transmitting the Queen's speech to the various large towns and cities throughout England and Scotland. An early copy of the Queen's speech specially granted for the purpose, was expressed from Westminster to the central station in the Strand, and at Euston-square, both of which places it reached by about a quarter past one. The manipulators at these stations, having touched the wires communicating with every telegraphic station throughout the kingdom, thereby sounding a bell at each, and giving the note of preparation, commenced throwing off in a continuous stream along the wires, successive sentences of the speech. This operation occupied from a quarter past one to a quarter to three, on the principal lines of telegraph, but considerably less than this - owing to the greater proficiency of the manipulators - on the Eastern Counties and South Western. It was completed to Southampton, where a steamer was in readiness to express the speech to the continent, in about an hour. During the two hours the speech was transmitted over 1,300miles, to 60 central towns or stations, where one or more manipulators were occupied in deciphering the transmitted symbols. Immediately on its arrival at Liverpool, Birmingham, Rotherham, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Wakefield, Halifax, Hull, Rochdale, Gosport, Southampton, Dorchester, Gloucester, Leicester, Manchester. Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln, Sheffield, York, Newcastle, Norwich, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, the speech was printed and generally distributed, and the local papers published special editions. It was telegraphed at the rate of 65 letters in a minute, or at the rate of 430 words in an hour ; several of the long words, such as " embarrassments," "infringements," and " manufacturing" taking longer time, no abbreviations being used, so that the 730 words (the exact number contained in the speech) were, including pauses and repetitions, disposed of in 120 minutes, or two hours. Owing to the old telegraph between Edinburgh and Glasgow having just been taken down, so as to allow of the substitution of the new one, the intelligence had to be transmitted from Edinburgh to Glasgow by train, though by this medium the speech would reach Glasgow at four, or within two hours after its delivery in London. The last Queen's speech, being but half the length of the present one, was transmitted is half the time, reaching Norwich, 120 miles, in less than an hour.
SG & SGTL Vol 5 ; Page 118 ; 20 May 1848
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