Fingers Crossed for 2021 ...

2020 was the worst! COVID kept the museum closed for much of the year and a mains water pipe bursting causing a flood kept us closed for the rest. 
We're hoping to re-open in the next few months ... fingers crossed! Read More >>>

Please Donate Via Just GivingNo visitors, no workshops, no events, no school visits... no income. We know that things are tough for everyone right now, but if you can afford to help us through these tough times please donate what you can.

There's over 36,000 exhibits here! That should keep you occupied for a bit - get searching!

Or come and get involved on our social media channels ...

      Twitch  Facebook          Online Gift Shop      

Thank you.

Thorn EMI Liberator

The Thorn EMI Liberator was produced in 1985 for the UK Civil Service. It can claim to be the first mass-produced British laptop.

The Liberator started in 1983 when the UK Government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency required a portable device to allow civil servants to produce and edit documents without the need for dedicated typists. Dragon Data were contacted to develop the product but went into administration shortly after. Thorn EMI took over the project in 1984. Production ended in September 1986.

The Liberator had a Zilog Z80 processor and an LCD display with 480x128 pixels (equivalent to 80x16 characters). It came with 40KB internal RAM as standard, with an optional 24KB available as an option. The RAM was battery-backed to enable non-volatile storage. An expansion port allowed a further 24KB of RAM to be added.

The system ran CP/M from ROM with custom word processing software.

Kindly donated by Charlie Robson.



Manufacturer: Thorn EMI
Date: 1985

Comment on This Page

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH32895. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Thorn EMI Liberator

Click on the Image(s) For Detail


Help support the museum by buying from the museum shop

View all items

Founding Sponsors
redgate Google ARM Real VNC Microsoft Research
Heritage Lottery Funded
Heritage Lottery Fund
Accredited Museum