Perim Island is a small island that stands just outside the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The British occupied Perim in 1856 as a measure to protect the Suez Canal that would shortly be opening. A lighthouse was built on the Island and a small garrison, detached from nearby Aden, was stationed on the Island.
In 1881 Hinton Spalding of London were given permission to operate a coaling station on Perim Island with the intention of servicing steamers using the Suez Canal. It remained an important coaling depot for the next fifty years.
A cable house was built on the Island with the new under sea cables, thus facilitating worldwide communications.