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Sir John Pender (1815-1896), Pioneer of submarine telegraphy

Sitter in 4 portraits
Pender started his career as a textile merchant. He is best remembered for his work on submarine cables, of which he was a promoter. When a transatlantic cable was proposed in 1856, Pender was one of several investors, and by 1866 a cable was successfully laid. Pender turned to cable enterprises linking other parts of the world. In 1870 he hosted a huge reception to celebrate the completion of the Anglo-India cable. The first message to India was 'How are you?' the reply 'All well' took just five minutes to arrive, compared to the several months taken by all previous communication. Pender went on to form the Eastern Telegraph Company, which played an important role in the defence of the United Kingdom.

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Sir John Pender

by James Jacques TisJean Baptiste Guth ('GUTH')
watercolour, published in Vanity Fair 28 October 1871
NPG 2738


Sir John Pender ('Men of the Day, No. 35.')

by James Jacques TisJean Baptiste Guth ('GUTH')
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 28 October 1871
NPG D43508


Key to Private View of the Old Masters Exhibition, Royal Academy, 1888

after Henry Jamyn Brooks
photograph, 1919 or after
NPG D42236