The Beacon

Long distance communication was always a challenge for armies and governments, especially when a country was under threat and advance notice of an invading force could mean the difference between victory and defeat. One of the earliest forms of signalling was lighting beacons (bonfires) on hilltops strategically located so that each one could be seen by the next and so on, delivering a message over hundreds of miles in a matter of hours. You can see how the plan might fail (watchman asleep, heavy rain, poor visibility etc.) but the idea was sound. Beacons are still lit today to celebrate important, national events and this one was built for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

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