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Connecting The World During WWII

Large map of the world, illustrating the wireless telegraph and cable routes of Imperial Cable and Wireless Ltd.  The present example is dated 4-44 (April 1944).

The map notes at the bottom, noting:

Direct Cable Routes, In Which Instantaneous Automatic Retransmission Only Is Used At Intermediate Stations, Are Provided From London To Capetown, Hong Kong, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bombay, Colombo and Egypt.

See Rumsey 8368 for the May 1922 "Via Eastern" worldwide cable map. It is particularly interesting to view this map in relationship with other similar maps, to study the way in which cable routes expanded over time, what were the priorities of the cable companies, etc.

The wireless routes are curious to a modern viewer but were vital in the 1930s and 1940s.

The map illustrates how London was the center of a global communications network at the time.

Edward Stanford Biography

Edward Stanford (1827-1904) was a prominent British mapmaker and publisher. A native of Holborn in the heart of London, Edward was apprenticed to a printer and stationer at the age of 14. After his first master died, he worked with several others, including Trelawny W. Saunders of Charing Cross. Saunders oversaw young Edward’s early career, ensuring that he became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Associations with the Society eventually brought Sanders much business and gave him a reputation as a publisher of explorers. As testament to this reputation, the Stanford Range in British Columbia was named for him by John Palliser.

Stanford briefly partnered with Saunders in 1852 before striking out on his own in 1853. He was an agent for the Ordnance Survey, the Admiralty, the Geological Survey, the Trigonometrical Survey of India, and the India Office. He also controlled the maps of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, another lucrative source of income. In 1857, Stanford founded his namesake Geographical Establishment, with Saunders and A. K. Johnston as engravers. Thereafter, Stanford was known for his “library maps”, particularly those of Africa and Asia.

Although he had authored many maps, the Harrow Atlas of Modern Geography and a similar volume on classical geography, Stanford is better remembered today as the leader of a successful map business. Ever in search of more inventory, he acquired the plates and stock of John Arrowsmith, heir of the Arrowmsith family firm, in 1874. By 1881 he employed 87 people at his premises at 6 Charing Cross Road, Saunders’ old address. As he aged, he phased in his son Edward Jr. to run the business. He died in 1904. The business survived him, and the Stanford’s shop is still a prominent London landmark today.