WCIT MONITOR Issue 63 Nov 2014 - Page 18

WCIT HISTORY & ARCHIVES MONITOR WCIT Celebrating the Early Years of Computing B y arrangement with our eminent Liveryman, Joan Smith, Past Archivist and now Honorary Historian to the Company (having written its history from 19862005, and also that of the Hall, both of which are now available from the Hall), a formal presentation was made by one of the pioneers of the computing industry, Professor DBG (Dai) Edwards. He, it was, who worked at Manchester University, first on the renowned Baby range of universal digital computers, then was responsible for key inventions for the Atlas (described as the world’s first “supercomputer” which included virtual memory – then known as “one level storage”) among other innovations, and worked in a team responsible for building the celebrated MU5 computer. He was selected as a pioneer for the British Library series “An Oral History of British Science” and made an audio-recording for its permanent archive, something our Past Master Dame Stephanie Shirley has also done for the benefit of posterity. From Left: Past Master David Morriss; Simon Lavington; Deputy Master Michael Webster; Dai Edwards; Chris Burton; Honorary Historian Joan Smith, Honorary Archivist John Poulter, Past Master John Carrington Simon Lavington (who worked closely with Dai at various stages of his career, himself the author of several books on the The presentation, made on 28 May 2014, involved the then history of computing), Chris Burton of the Computer Master Michael Webster receiving a copy of Joan Smith’s book Conservation Society and Joan Smith amongst others. on Professor Dai Edwards entitled “David BG Edwards and His Family” in addition to the transcript of his British Library After a short video was shown concerning the reconstruction of publication, and Dai lodging them in the WCIT book collection the Baby computer by Chris Burton, those present were as part of “The Edwards Collection” comprising his unique captivated by a discussion about the early days of computing as collection of working drawings and papers applicable to his seen through the eyes of those involved in the Manchester breakthrough inventions whilst at Manchester University. Dai, University experience. This included the involvement Dai had on this memorable occasion, was accompanied by Professor later with those pioneers of Bletchley Park during World War II, Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers (who built Colossus there). Contributed by Deputy Master Michael Webster & Liveryman Joan Smith, Honorary WCIT Historian An Assistant Honorary Historian is sought to continue documenting the history of WCIT in a similar way to that already employed. If you feel you have the skills to take on this rewarding task then you are invited to contact the Clerk at mike@wcit.org.uk. Archivists Corner: Data Protection L ike the majority of London livery companies, The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists maintains an archive of its manifold activities, for the benefit of researchers and future historians. Thus, in the main, the archive contains minutes of the Company’s meetings, reports, records of events, speeches, publications and press releases, etc. Occasionally, where it would be significant in terms of the Company’s history, the archive may also contain Page 18 records of a personal or private nature. In accordance with its approved Data Protection Policy, this is to advise its members that the Company will ensure that such records will not be made available for access by any member of the public or unauthorised individuals during the life of the persons concerned except with the explicit permission of the Clerk, who is the Data Controller for the Company.