26th July 2021
Since our previous update, the following material has now been scanned, catalogued and uploaded:
Ernest Lenaerts papers
The LEO project is very fortunate to have gathered material relating to another of the original LEO pioneers, the engineer Ernest Lenaerts. A key figure in the development, installation and ongoing maintenance of LEO I at Cadby Hall, Lenaerts kept a series of 49 notebooks documenting his work, and these notebooks now form a fascinating and valuable part of the LEO Computers Society archive. The first half of the notebooks have now been scanned and indexed and are now available online:
CMLEO/EL/NB Lenaerts Notebooks
We are indebted to our volunteers for digitising the notebooks - many thanks to Sara New and James Holloway for the many hours they spent scanning.
Our plan is to provide transcription alongside the new scans of the notebooks. This very time-consuming work is ongoing, but thanks to our volunteers the following volumes are already transcribed, and the transcripts can be separately downloaded using the links provided:
Again we are very grateful to our volunteers for their hard and painstaking work transcribing the notebooks - many thanks to Helen Brimmer and to John Daines of the LEO Computers Society.
If you are interested in getting involved with our Lenaerts digitisation or transcription work, we are always looking for more volunteers - please get in touch!
As well as the notebooks, this month we have also received a new file of Lenaerts material, donated by Dr Michael Underwood, relating to the groundbreaking speech recognition work undertaken by ICL in the late 1960s - this has also now been catalogued and made available online:
Peter Bird's Research Collection - Completing the Company Secretary's papers
As I reported previously, as part of the extensive research for his book, LEO - The First Business Computer (1994), LEO historian Peter Bird gathered not only photographs but a considerable collection of papers, including a run of Lyons/LEO Computers committee minutes (CMLEO/PB/CM) from the late 1950s-early 1960s. At the end of this run are a couple of volumes labelled 'Miscellaneous Documents' (usually this phrase strikes terror into archivists..), and there he deposited, in fairly neat chronological order, the surviving papers of the the LEO Computers Ltd Company Secretary, Michael A. Holmyard. Evidently these papers, including correspondence, file copies of internal memos and other documents, were collected by Michael Holmyard in the course of his work as the most senior administrative officer for LEO Computers. Either by accident or by design, fortunately they survived the cull which Peter Bird describes as having wiped out the 'official' archive of LEO at some point in the late 1980s. Michael Holmyard's files give at least a partial picture of the development of LEO from the administrative point of view. I was scuppered in my attempts back at the beginning of the year to digitise the remainder of the Company Secretary's papers owing to lack of an A3 scanner, but I'm delighted to say this has now been remedied, and the online listing of the Company Secretary's papers (CMLEO/PB/CS) is now complete.
This additional material contains two interesting series of correspondence and papers relating to the fate of LEO Computers Ltd, namely the merger first with English Electric in 1963-4, then with Marconi (following the transfer of LEO Computers shares by Lyons across to English Electric in 1964-5):
In addition to the completion of the Company Secretary's papers, we have now digitised and indexed the following from Peter Bird's collection of committee minutes:
Again we are very grateful to James Holloway for the many hours spent scanning the committee minutes!
David Caminer papers
We are very grateful for some new material for the growing David Caminer archive, donated by his daughter, Hilary Caminer, the Secretary of the LEO Computers Society.
- CMLEO/DC/PH/2/64173 Photograph of David Caminer and T.R. Thompson with LEO II/3 at Stewarts & Lloyds, Corby
- CMLEO/DC/LP/64175 Transcripts from David Caminer's personal diary, Jan-Feb 1951
Find out more about our Heritage Lottery-funded LEO project here:
Welcome to LEO
Posted by: Jude