The Post Office Engineering Research Station in the mid-twentieth century.

Speaker

Rachel Boon

Agenda

14:00 - Networking if attending in person at BCS London with refreshments served
14:30 - Webinar starts
17:00 - Webinar ends

Synopsis

The Post Office Engineering Research Station in Dollis Hill, North West London, was Britain’s leading establishment for communications research in the mid-twentieth century. Drawing on research from my PhD, this paper will show that Dollis Hill was a unique establishment not accounted for by the patterns described in existing literature on state, academic or industrial research.

By considering Dollis Hill's contribution to the history of computing, which includes the codebreaking machine 'Colossus' and post-war computer 'MOSAIC', I will demonstrate that the research station’s anomalous identity enabled it to move beyond its remit of investigating cost savings, setting standards and developing new technologies to improve communication services owned and operated by the Post Office, to play a significant and largely undiscussed role in the Second World War, post-war reconstruction and Cold War.

About the speaker

Rachel Boon is an experienced museum professional with a background in history of science, technology and medicine and public engagement.

She is currently Curator of Computing and Communications at the Science Museum. Before that, she was an Exhibitions and Interpretation Officer at the Imperial War Museum and has been part of the learning teams at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester and Science Museum.

Her research interests include industrial research and development, histories of infrastructures and British scientific establishments. She completed her PhD in 2020 on the history of the Post Office Research Station, Dollis Hill, 1933-1958.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

BCS is a membership organisation. If you enjoy this event, please consider joining BCS. You’ll be very welcome. You’ll receive access to many exclusive career development tools, an introduction to a thriving professional community and also help us Make IT Good For Society. Join BCS today.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event, please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.

This event is brought to you by: Computer Conservation Society

Hybrid event: From Public Service Provider to Clandestine War Workshop
Date and time
Thursday 19 May, 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Location
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
25 Copthall Ave
London
EC2R 7BP
United Kingdom
Price
Free