An exciting Roald Dahl event which focuses on telegraphy is taking place at the City of London Corporation’s Guildhall Art Gallery.  Fascinatingly, a fictional machine that appears in one of Roald Dahl’s novels has been brought to life in an exhibition. 

Interestingly, students from the Institute of Making at UCL (University College London) designed and built ‘The Great Grammatizor’ for Victorians Decoded: Art and Telegraphy’. The exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of the first telegraph cable laid across the Atlantic Ocean, connecting Europe with America.

According to the late Dahl, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year, The Great Automatic Grammatizator’, which appears in the short story by the same name, could write a prize-winning novel in just 15 minutes.

The exhibition’s interactive machine is operated by a lever and 3 rotating buttons that represent 'genre', 'feelings' and 'driving force' to create unique coded messages which visitors are left to decipher.

The exhibition is considered very important and highlights how cable telegraphy allowed near-instantaneous messaging across continents for the first time. Of course, this was a great learning experience for people to understand the concept of time, space and the speed of communication.

Visitors can experience four themed rooms (Distance, Resistance, Transmission and Coding) which contain rare and never-seen before artefacts and Victorian paintings. Highlights include original code books, newspapers, telegraphic devices and telegraph cable samples in a collection curated by leading archaeologist Dr Cassie Newland (BBC 2’s Coast, Time Team and The Genius of Invention).

Without doubt the ‘Victorians Decoded: Art and Telegraphy’ exhibition will be a fascinating experience and especially for Roald Dahl fans.

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Further information about the exhibition is available by visiting: