Contested histories: de-mythologising the early history of modern British computing

David Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


A challenge is presented to the usual account of the development of the Manchester Baby which focuses on the contribution made to the project by the topologist M.H.A. (Max) Newman and other members of the Dept. of Mathematics. Based on an extensive re-examination of the primary source material, it is suggested that a very much more significant role was played by mathematicians than is allowed for in the dominant discourse. It is shown that there was a single computer-building project at Manchester in the years immediately following World War II and that it was conceived, led, funded, supplied and staffed by Newman who was supported throughout by his long-time friend P.M.S. (Patrick) Blackett. In the course of the paper three persistent myths, which lend support to the dominant narrative, are identified and debunked.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistory of computing: learning from the past
EditorsA. Tatnall
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783642151996
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameAFIP Advances in ICT


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