The "Computing History” Project

 

The aim of the Computing History project is to open an exhibition telling the story of computing and the Information Age to the public.
 

Why?

The first ‘Home Computer’ was the Altair 8800 which launched in January 1975 on the cover of Popular Electronics. This machine was responsible for the birth of the computer industry as we know it today … over 30 years on. Think how much has changed in computing since 1975 in such a relatively short space of time.

The computing industry has witnessed many of the biggest business successes and some of the worst business decisions in history. It has created the wealthiest man in the world, seen some of the biggest legal battles and has generally changed the world we live in forever. Could you imagine a world without computers?

As far as we know, there are no dedicated ‘computing museums’ in the UK with the exception of Bletchley Park. However, even Bletchley Park only has one room dedicated to vintage computers; the general exhibition is more WWII oriented.

There is now an entire generation that knows nothing about the dawn of computers. They are fascinated that computers in 1975 had less power than their mobile phone of today !
 

What Is It?

The "Computing History” centre will :

 

Why Haverhill?

Haverhill is a prime location for many reasons. One of the most important is the town's proximity to Cambridge. Cambridge was the home of Acorn Computers who developed the BBC Micro as well Sinclair Research – and the Famous ZX81 and Spectrum computers. Acorn and Sinclair Research are arguably the two most important British companies in computing history.  Cambridge is now the home of Microsoft’s research facility.

 

 

 

Who Would Visit?

The centre will be open to the general public and to educational organisations. This will initially be by appointment only. We have been genuinely surprised when we talk to people about computing history regarding their enthusiasm for the idea. We have ALL been affected by computers in one way or another. It is now our aim to create impact through this exhibition.

 

Why Would People Visit?

To learn about computing

To learn about the history of computers

To study commercial aesthetics and design

To re-live personal memories (we all have them!!)

 

 

Exhibit Features

Computing Timeline

Making it Easier – The development of the user interface

Important Software – Killer Apps – Spreadsheets & Format Wars

The People – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak …

Design & Aesthetics – A look at how computers look and feel, then and now …

Social Influence – How computers have changed our lives

Computers in Recreation - The Dawn Computer Games

Computers Unite - The Internet

 

 

Future Development

 

Think Tank - The centre will offer a meeting place for engineers and programmers to meet and discuss projects and problems. This type of event is very popular in the USA. Our proximity to Cambridge is very advantageous.

 

Internet Café – Offering Internet access and a place to relax with a cup of coffee for business people in the area.

 

Vintage Computer Fairs – The UK currently has no vintage computer fairs. These are where enthusiasts show off their projects and collections and buy and sell vintage computer equipment. These are very popular in the USA and around Europe. The centre could act as the home to such a UK event.

 

Content

The collection has been built up over many years and sourced from many countries.

 

The collection includes these items

 

Altair 8800 – The first of the first home computer –Serial Number #3

The original ‘Popular Electronics’ magazine announcing the above …

Over 100 computers dating from 1969 onwards

Computer Games Consoles - Pong and the Atari 2600

Posters, Videos, Signatures, Books and other Related Items

 

More information ...

 

A printed Project Brochure is available. Please send an email to info@computinghistory.org.uk stating your interest in the project and your full postal address.

 

 

 

 

 

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