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Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Contents of the Archive

CHSTM 073-tootill-notebook-(2)
One of the Archive's most valuable holdings is the laboratory notebook kept from June 1948 to January 1949 by Geoffrey Tootill, an electrical engineer working with the University of Manchester's electrotechnics group, which includes the specification of the first computer program ever to be run under electronic storage. This image shows the first page of the notebook, a provisional block diagram of the Small Scale Experimental Machine dated 4 June 1948.

The NAHC holds archives of many companies and public bodies. It is the chief archival resource for the (Victoria) University of Manchester's pioneering Department of Computer Science, the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and several of the manufacturing companies which were progressively amalgamated into International Computers Limited (ICL), with particularly extensive holdings relating to Ferranti Ltd and LEO Computers Ltd.

Other institutions whose papers appear in the archive include the Admiralty Computing Service; the Atomic Research Establishment, Fort Halstead, Kent; Cambridge University Computer Laboratory; English Electric Company Ltd; Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd; the Meteorological Office; the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington; the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough; the Royal Radar Establishment; Scientific Computing Service Ltd; and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. There are also papers of several individuals including Douglas Hartree (1897-1958), Alan Turing (1912-54) and F C Williams (1911-77).

Items held in the Archive include correspondence; photographs of machines, components and production facilities; technical drawings and specifications; hardware and software manuals; trade catalogues, price lists, technical information sheets and promotional literature; working papers and reports; published reports, articles and monographs, and audio-visual material.


We regret that the web version of the NAHC catalogue is no longer available; we hope to produce a fully searchable version, encoded to recognised archival standards, soon. The full catalogue is now available as a single downloadable file:

This catalogue is based on the version circulated following the initial collection development phase in 1990, with various updates; it is incomplete or lacking detail in several places and will itself be updated over the coming months. Items awaiting cataloguing include a number of recordings, several donations received post-2000, and a substantial collection of journal offprints and other secondary literature in the history of computing.

See also further resources for brief details of material held elsewhere and other sources of information.

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