The idea of telegraphic communication had been mooted for some time before it was actually installed, as the Western Morning News of April 28th 1870 reveals:
Capt. Charles Chapman of the Mercantile Marine Service has during the week been busily employed in making arrangements for the laying of the cable between Hartland Point and Lundy Island. The importance of this undertaking cannot be overestimated. Masters of the windbound and homeward bound vessels will be able to report themselves and any wrecks and casualties that may occur will be speedily made known, especially in weather when the island is unapproachable. All this service will be rendered free of cost to shipping.
In 1870 we read that: 'The cost of Telegraphic Communication maintenance is estimated at £175 per annum'. A cable was finally laid by Lloyd's in 1884, broken in 1888, and renewed by the GPO in 1893, allowing the Rev. Hudson Heaven to despatch his celebrated message 'The Kingdom of Heaven Rejoiceth'.
In 1898 Frederick Allday became postmaster, when the post-office was moved from the island Store to Signal Cottages, where he worked as Lloyd's signalman. In 1909 when he retired from Lloyd's he moved the sub-post office from the Signal Cottage to the Cable Hut and continued his postal rounds with his donkey, Irwin, until 1926. Thursday was the recognised mail day, weather permitting. The mail boat waited about two hours so it was possible for speedy correspondents to send back their replies. In accordance with Mr Harman's desire to terminate all government departments on the island, the post office closed at the end of 1927, the same year as the Signal Station. At that time inside the hut were four bunks, stove, wash- basin, table and chairs, and pigeonholes for mail sorting. Until 1939 it was leased by Colonel ‘Tubby’ Harrison, who later rented the Old School. It was known as The Keep. After the War it could still be rented by the year.
In 1956 Albion Harman decided to extend the hut to make a larger holiday cottage. To design it, he enlisted the help of his war colleague ‘Wimpy’ Worrow. This was done very simply, by building up the retaining wall round the hut and then roofing it over, leaving the hut itself still standing inside. A large galvanised tank of about 225 gallons received rainwater from the roof. For the floor of the new main room, the slate bed of the billiard table from the Manor Farm Hotel was used, while a marble shelf in the bedroom was supported by billiard cues. Two bunks were put in the old hut, a small kitchen and washroom were provided and the living room had divans that doubled as seats or beds. Albion's two sisters furnished the cottage as a gift to the island and there was a grand opening ceremony in 1960. It was the second holiday cottage on the island, after Admiralty Lookout.