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The Surrey Group's newsletters from Spring and Autumn 2009 record the walk, but without route details.I think even if I had details of the Surrey Group's route, I'd still want to devise my own route.Wikipedia says: Lord George Murray, stimulated by reports of the Chappe semaphore [in France], proposed a system of visual telegraphy to the British Admiralty.He employed large wooden boards on his towers with six large holes which could be closed by shutters.The decision was taken at rather short notice, so I hadn't time to plan a route in detail.I simply drew straight lines on the OS 000 map between the locations of the semaphore stations, and worked out a route as I went along, trying to keep roughly to the line, but looking for the most interesting option at the same time. I got the train to Victoria, and then took the No 24 bus to Whitehall to formally start the walk from in front of the Old Admiralty building, which I assume was the location of the first semaphore station.From Ranelagh Gardens I walked along Chelsea Embankment.I didn't have time to visit Chelsea Physic Garden, and Albert Bridge was closed for repairs and shrouded in canvas and hoardings.
These were operational from 1822 until 1847, when the railway and electric telegraph provided a better means of communication.As in France the network required lavish amounts of money and manpower to operate and could only be justified as a defence need.[Some sources suggest that the Duke of York's HQ, now home to the Saatchi Gallery, but once home to the Royal Military Asylum, was the location of the second semaphore station, and not the Royal Hospital.] This naturally led to the idea of a walk following the semaphore line from London to Portsmouth, with a good number of hills along the way.From the Horse Guards Parade I walked through St James's Park, where a pair of pelicans seemed to be courting on the path, attracting a crowd of tourists.Towards the western end of the park, a man with a chainsaw was lopping a tree, balancing precariously on a branch.