Collecting Oral History of British Computing

Date/Time:
Tuesday 10 April 2018, 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Venue:
Faraday Lecture Theatre, Singleton Campus, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP

Cost:
Free

Speaker:
Dr Thomas Lean

Details:

“We thought there would be scope for another, one or perhaps two big computers in the UK, and three or four in Europe:" Collecting Oral History of British Computing.

Since 2009 An Oral History of British Science, run by National Life Stories at the British Library, has recorded over 150 figures from the history of science and engineering in Britain. Amongst them were figures from the history of computing, people whose work stretched from the electronic brains of the 1940s to today's information driven world, along with many others who had used computers in other branches of science and technology. In this talk Dr Tom Lean, project interviewer on “An Oral History of British Science”, explores what interviews with computer developers can reveal about the history of computing in Britain, using this collection of insights to tell the personal stories behind computing developments and explore how the use of computers has impacted on work in other areas.

Tom Lean is project interviewer on “An Oral History of British Science” and “An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry”, at National Life Stories at the British Library. Since starting on the project he has recorded life story interviews with over a hundred British scientists and engineers from a wide range of different disciplines and backgrounds. His research interests include the oral history of science and technology, history of computing (the subject of his PhD thesis and 2016 book 'Electronic Dreams: How 1980s Britain learned to love the computer') and the history of the electricity supply industry.

This is a joint Presentation with Swansea University's History of Computing Collection.