Centre For Computing History
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Centre For Computing History

Centre for Computing History.jpg
LocationCambridge, Cambridgeshire
DirectorJason Fitzpatrick
Public transit accessNewmarket Road
Nearest car parkOn Site

The Centre for Computing History (CCH) is a museum in Cambridge, England, established to create a permanent public exhibition telling the story of the Information Age.[1]


The museum acts as a repository for vintage computers and related artefacts. The museum is open Wednesdays through to Sundays from 10am to 5pm in term time and 7 days a week during school holidays.[2] On display are key items from the early era of computers (and even before) from ageing comptometers through the Altair 8800 to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Apple II series. The museum also holds vintage games consoles, peripherals, software and an extensive collection of computer manuals, magazines and other literature. It is home to the Megaprocessor, an enormous version of a computer chip designed by James Newman.[3]

History and status

The Centre is a registered educational charity.[4] It is funded by a combination of sponsors from local businesses and private individuals. Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Hermann Hauser was involved with funding discussions.[5] He became patron of the museum in December 2011, 30 years after the launch of the BBC Micro.[6] The museum is run by a board of trustees chaired by Ian Williamson.

The CCH moved to a 10,500 sq ft (980 m2) site in Rene Court, off Coldham's Lane in the east side of Cambridge in summer 2013.[7][8][9] The museum was originally located in Haverhill, Suffolk. Plans to relocate the museum to Cambridge,[10] led to a report in October 2011 that negotiations were underway for a site.[5] The museum was informed in June 2012 that planning permission for the new Cambridge site had been granted, subject to complying with current building regulations.[11]

In March 2019, the museum was granted Accredited Museum status by Arts Council England (ACE).[12] The Accreditation Scheme sets out nationally-agreed standards, which inspire the confidence of the public and funding and governing bodies. It enables museums to assess their current performance, as well as supporting them to plan and develop their services.


Tour at the museum in 2016

The Centre for Computing History runs regular educational activities for schools and the general public. These range from programming workshops using 1980s BBC Micros to gaming tours to coding using software like Scratch for the Raspberry Pi.[]

The centre also loans artefacts for film and TV productions and has helped with props and sets for The IT Crowd, Brits Who Made the Modern World[13] on Channel Five with Peter Snow and in April 2009 produced the Gadget Hall of Fame[14] stand at The Gadget Show Live exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. In December 2018, the centre was involved in a groundbreaking interactive Netflix episode of Black Mirror called Bandersnatch.[15]

The centre collects and preserves historical computing related artefacts and has undertaken a project to preserve the data from the BBC Domesday Project and make it available online. They already have data from both the National Disk and Community Disk online and are currently investigating copyright issues before releasing the URL to the general public.[16] The centre's oldest working machine is their Elliott 903,[17] which is regularly demonstrated; other important artefacts in the centre's collection include a prototype ZX Spectrum,[18] Professor Steve Furber's Computer Group prototype and a NeXT computer signed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

In June 2017, some of the centre's volunteers received recognition for their contributions to the museum at the annual SHARE Museums East Volunteer Awards.[19]

In October 2018, the centre received lottery funding for a project on LEO computers, in partnership with the LEO Computers Society.[20][21] The project, Swiss Rolls,Tea and the Electronic Office: A History of LEO, the First Business Computer, aims to bring together, preserve, archive and digitise a range of LEO Computers artefacts, documents and personal memories to share the largely unknown story of LEO with a new audience. The project includes plans to develop a virtual reality replica of the LEO I.[22]

The Centre was awarded an Object of The Year award from 'Museums in Cambridgeshire' in November 2019 for their Sinclair ZX Spectrum prototype, donated earlier that year from a company that had worked on it during its development.[23]


  1. ^ "About the Computer Museum". The Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 2009.
  2. ^ "Visiting the Centre for Computing History".
  3. ^ "Giant £40,000 megaprocessor on display in Cambridge". Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Charity Commission. The Centre for Computing History, registered charity no. 1130071.
  5. ^ a b Vargas, Lautaro (28 October 2011). "Hauser next after museum curator's opportunistic pitch lands US VC". Cambridge Business Media. Retrieved 2011. [...] Fitzpatrick says negotiations are now underway on a 10,000 sq ft site on Coldham's Road [...]
  6. ^ Walker, Alice (12 December 2011). "Hauser patron of new Centre for Computing History". Business Weekly. Cambridge: Q Communications. Retrieved 2011. Dr Hermann Hauser has been named as patron of the new Centre for Computing History in Cambridge UK. [...] agreed to take on the important role 30 years after the company he co-founded - Acorn Computers - unveiled the BBC Micro [...]
  7. ^ "IT museum in switch to its spiritual home". UK: Cambridge News. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "About the Centre for Computing History". UK: The Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ "Computer and gaming museum opens". 30 July 2013. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ "A New Museum for Cambridge". The Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 2011.
  11. ^ Vargas Lautaro (27 June 2012). "Council approves Cambridge computer museum, building regs hold it back". Cabume. Retrieved 2012.
  12. ^ "Accredited museums in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man | Arts Council England". www.artscouncil.org.uk. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Brits Who Made The Modern World Archived 11 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, episode 3, Computer Games, Five.
  14. ^ Gadget Hall of Fame, The Gadget Show Live, NEC, Birmingham, UK.
  15. ^ Gardner, Gemma (18 January 2019). "How computer centre helped bring to life Netflix movie". Cambridge Independent. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ Museum Helps BBC Domesday Reloaded Project
  17. ^ "Elliott 903 - Computing History". www.computinghistory.org.uk. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ Curtis, Adrian (19 March 2019). "One of the most important examples in British home computing history finds home in Cambridge". Cambridge Independent. Retrieved 2019.
  19. ^ "Our Volunteers Win Key Awards - Computing History". www.computinghistory.org.uk. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ Curtis, Adrian (11 October 2018). "Cambridge museum nets £100k to preserve and promote computing history". Cambridge Independent. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ "Leo Society and Centre for Computing History Awarded Lottery Grant". www.computerconservationsociety.org. October 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ "Early business computer gets VR reboot". 24 October 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ "MIC Awards 2019". Museums in Cambridgeshire.

External links

  • The Centre for Computing History website
  • Inside a museum with byte and big dreams, East Anglian Daily Times, 3 Jun 2008 [1]
  • Haverhill's Computer Museum to feature on TV, Haverhill-UK, 20 Aug 2008 [2]
  • Haverhill's Centre for Computing History opens 13 and 14 September, Haverhill-UK, 2 Sep 2008 [3]
  • Play vintage computer games, Haverhill Echo, 11 Sep 2008 [4]
  • Museum tells story behind every screen, Cambridge Evening News, 29 Sep 2008 [5]
  • Museum props up set for hit comedy, Cambridge Evening News, 30 Dec 2008 [6]
  • Gadget Show Live -- Huge success for Haverhill, Haverhill-UK, 23 Apr 2009 [7]
  • Gadget Hall of Fame: which did you own?, MSN Tech & Gadgets, 28 Apr 2009 [8]
  • BBC date for computing centre curator, Haverhill Echo, 8 Oct 2009 [9]
  • Museum-piece computers programmed into TV show, Haverhill Weekly News, 8 Oct 2009 [10]
  • Giant £40,000 megaprocessor on display in Cambridge, Cambridge Evening News, 28 Nov 2016 [11]
  • Guinness World Record for Cambridge's MegaProcessor, Cambridge Evening News, 14 Apr 2017 [12]
  • Cambridge museum celebrates history of women in computing, BBC News Cambridgeshire, 14 Oct 2017 [13]

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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