The tremendous Telectroscope – From London to New York in the blink of an eye. The idea behind the ‘Telectroscope’ had all the hallmarks of being one of the capital’s most successful tourist attractions.
A tunnel from London to New York deep below the floor of the Atlantic Ocean that joined the two most cosmopolitan cities in the world was a real idea by a real person in Victorian London, but alas the tunnel never made it beyond its planning stage.
The artist, Paul St. George had begun the idea of churning through the Earth’s crust to connect New York and London and had built two extraordinary telescope like devices in the two cities. Both of these telescopes appeared to be half buried beneath the Earth’s surface, giving the impression that the people around the lens were being spied upon from some unknown place.
Londoners could spy on New Yorkers and New Yorkers could spy on Londoners. The old fashioned looking, brass and wood telescopes were situated at Tower Bridge in London and by Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
Anybody who felt the need to stop and look could do so, at life size, real time moving images on the other side of the Atlantic. You could mime questions and answers to each other as you silently chatted and looked at each other 3460 miles away.
Sadly permission to house the telescopes was only temporary and after only a year in service the devices were removed. What is great about these telescopes is the way they initiate friendliness between participating countries or cities.
Imagine a much needed peaceful link between Washington and Moscow? Or London and Buenos Aires?
To look through a tiny hole for free and see life size images of people in a foreign land in real time surely must be exploited by all of the world’s cities that wish to promote peace? In this sense, the sooner Paul St. George’s Telectroscope returns to the streets of London, the better.