Virtual LEO I - Exciting News!

Earlier this year we installed our Virtual LEO I exhibit in our main gallery so it could be used by our visitors, especially our visiting school groups. Made possible by funding provided by lottery players and painstakingly recreated after several years of research, it has gone down a storm, giving an unrivalled insight into not only the first computer designed and built with business in mind but also the social conditions of post-war London and the unique character of J. Lyons & Co., one of the country's big employers at the time. It was this 'perfect storm' of change in Britain and within Lyons that gave rise to LEO.

The installation also offers groundbreaking access to our LEO archive and visitors can see original documents from the time detailing what Lyons did and also how and even why. 

Fast forward to today and we're excited to announce that the Virtual LEO I can now be seen from the comfort of your own home by downloading our Virtual LEO IOS app (Android version also on its way).

Visit our sister website for more information and a link to the App Store: (opens new window).

You can 'walk around' the LEO room in Lyons' headquarters at Cadby Hall. You can see the machine's glass valves, its mercury delay line storage, the kind of people who worked on it and, if you look out of the window, you can even see Lyons vans being loaded up with boxes of food ready to be delivered to customers.

The app includes 35 interactive objects, 44 interactive documents from our LEO archive, and 43,000 words of explanatory text to dive into, if you're keen to know the details. Or just walk around the room and soak up the sights and sounds of LEO I.

Further information:

The Centre for Computing History's web page on our partnership LEO project:

Our partners, the LEO Computers Society:

Story By: Lisa McGerty

Date : 08-09-2023

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