Home > LEO Computers > LEOPEDIA > Other Memoirs, Reminiscences > Chris Metcalfe: Reminiscence

Chris Metcalfe: Reminiscence

I fell out of secondary school at 16 in the late 1960s after failing most of my GCEs and joined the Civil Service in central London filing bits of paper as a temporary clerical officer. After failing to join ICL my father thankfully suggested I get a transfer (without interview!) to the Census Office computer section at Eastcote London. On arrival I was told I was a week early but as soon as I was introduced to the work I knew I was in the right work area which lasted 25 years! As a computer operator on the LEO 3/10 I started as peripheral loader (magnetic tapes, paper tape, printers) and when I got my Executive Officer grade I was in charge of running the computer. We had very sociable evening overtime sessions playing bridge whilst long computer programs ran. Typically four hour magnetic tape sorts with no restarts! I recall the water cooling system barely coped in the hot weather. I made my mark during a payroll run when a printer cheque number sequence problem occurred, by altering the tape block count in binary using the oscilloscope.

I later moved to the ICL 1904? computer on the same site and then transferred to the new Fujitsu? 1905E and George 3 at Newport South Wales. On promotion to Higher Executive Officer (only 1 in 5 applicants were successful I recall!) I headed the Operations Systems Support section. I wrote a world first macro to allow files to be deleted from an on screen list. 24 levels of nested IFs! Later moved on program system support and programming and EU & UK project work. Not too bad a career for someone who had few recognisable qualifications or had ever passed an aptitude test! I did get my AMBCS and still working!

Date : April 2022

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH68698. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Chris Metcalfe: Reminiscence

Click on the Images 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