The British Computer Society (BCS) and Computing ran their Annual IT Innovation awards event at the Evolution Centre in Battersea Park on Wednesday 8th Nov evening. One prize was for IT Innovation in the Charities Sector and this was won by Plant Heritage with LEO Computers Society and The Centre for Computing History (CCH) as runner up (Highly Commended) for the Virtual LEO I. The event was attended by Peter Byford, Bernard Behr, John Paschoud and Vince Bodsworth of the LEO Computers Society and more will be in the upcoming Newsletter as a Stop Press. Announcement
Read all about Virtual LEO I here

See the CCH Website Here

Below From right to left Bernard Behr, Peter Byford, Vince Bodsworth and John Paschoud attending the Award Event

LEO Computers Society and CCH win Runner up position in BCS IT Innovation Award (Charities Sector) Read More »


LEO Remembered has been substantially revised and added to by Hilary Caminer, of the LEO Computers Society and Lisa McGerty of the Cambridge Centre for Computing History. There was an event on 28th September on Zoom to launch the new book . You can also order copies of the book at the link below at GBP8 plus postage. Please specify quantity and address (especially country) for delivery if you want to order and we will send a cost quotation and instructions for payment.

Order your copies here LEOremembered@leo-computers.org.uk .

A recording of the launch event can be viewed here

Launch of the massively revised LEO Remembered on 28 September Read More »

The LEO Computers Society and partners Centre for Computing History are delighted to announce that their film about LEO, the world’s first business computer has won the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) Video of the Year Award 2022. 

LEO, otherwise known as the Lyons Electronic Office, was a pioneering British computer developed in the early 1950s by J. Lyons & Co., famous for tea, cakes and the teashops that were once part of the fabric of British life. 

The film was commissioned as part of a lottery-funded project ‘Swiss Rolls, Tea & the Electronic Office’, which is preserving, cataloguing and making accessible the heritage of this remarkable machine so as to raise awareness of this relatively unknown British story. 

Judges commented that the film was “an absorbing and textured piece with excellent and evocative archive footage”. It aims to introduce a whole new generation, from secondary school age upwards, to the remarkable story of the birth of a technology that, today, we take for granted.

Lisa McGerty, manager of the project said: “We’re honoured to have had the LEO film we commissioned – and which was expertly made by Richard Hollingham and Jamie Partridge of Boffin Media – recognised as the Association of British Science Writers’ Video of the Year. LEO’s story really is remarkable and it is a privilege for us to work with some of the surviving pioneers on this project, as well established film producers like Boffin. The first LEO computer was an astounding feat not just of engineering but also of vision by a company that had the foresight to recognise just how computers could revolutionise business at a time when computers didn’t really exist. Everyone should know about it.”

The film is freely available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rzu68nRVwtE. It will be signposted to schools and colleges as part of The Centre for Computing History’s learning programme.

Notes
1. The film has been created by Boffin Media, an award-winning production company specialising in science and space. The Producer is Richard Hollingham and the Director is Jamie Partridge.

2. The LEO Computers Society is committed to promoting and protecting LEO’s history. Membership of the Society is open to all ex-employees of LEO Computers and its succeeding companies, anyone who worked with a LEO computer and anyone with a specific interest in the history of LEO Computers. Among its members are pioneers from the very early days of computing and membership is currently free of charge. Visit www.leo-computers.org.uk. Follow @leocomputers51.

3. Established in 2006, the Centre for Computing History is a charitable heritage organisation with a strong focus on learning. Since opening in Cambridge in August 2013, the Centre has helped people understand how tech has shaped the modern world and revolutionised the way we live, work and play through interactive displays and exhibitions, our schools programme, learning events and workshops, and an astonishing collection of computers old and new. Visit www.computinghistory.org.uk. Follow @computermuseum 

4. Using money raised by the National Lottery, The National Lottery Heritage Fund inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

 For further information on the museum, the Society, the LEO project or for images, please contact: Lisa McGerty (lisa@computinghistory.org.uk, 01223 214446 / 07825 794791) or Peter Byford (peter.byford@leo-computers.org.uk, 07944 038489).

We won Video of the year Read More »

Jason Fitzpatrick the CEO of the CCH gave LEO Computer Society members a virtual tour of the exhibits at the Museum on 27th April. The meeting was held on Zoom and recorded for those who wanted to attend but who were not able.

The recording is now available on this Website and can be viewed by following the link above. In addition an updated version of LEOPEDIA as at 30th April has been also uploaded to the Website

The Zoom Video can be viewed by following This Link and the updated LEOPEDIA Here

Zoom Recording of a tour of the Centre for Computing History now available Read More »

There was another Zoom on Monday 24 January 2022 at 15:30 GMT.
The topic was “Inside the LEO archive” and was led by Luke Thorne, our Archivist at the Centre for Computing History at Cambridge. A recording is available at https://leo-computers.org.uk/Videos/Clipped_LEO_Archive.mp4

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REUNION and LEO Exhibition: Sunday, 10th April 2022

From midday at the Victory Services Club, Marble Arch, London W2 2HF. As usual this will be an opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues and others with an interest in early computing. There will be refreshments and exhibitions of LEO related materials – as well as the usual raffle! Details to follow in the new year.

Tickets (to include a light lunch) cost £27 if bought before 31st January 2022 (£30 thereafter.)

To download a form to send with your application and with payment details click here

If you have any queries about this event or wish to book tickets, please email reunion@leo-computers.org.uk

Dates for your diary. Events for 2022. Follow this link for further information Read More »

September 1951  – At J. Lyons & Co on Wednesday, 5th September 1951 the Bakery Valuations programme was run to completion on real data as an experiment to test the hardware.  As noted in Ernest Lenaerts notebook for that date it ran from 3:50 to 5:35 without a fault and was the longest run of any programme at that time.

LEO MOMENTS IN HISTORY Read More »

The BBC programme Antiques Road Trip made a stop off at Cambridge to visit the Cambridge Computer History Museum and interviewed Jason Fitzpatrick the Museum founder. Jason covered many interesting topics including early calculators, EDSAC, LEO and the BBC Micro and ARM chips.

You can hear and view the section from Cambridge Here

Antiques Road Trip Read More »

2021 marks LEO’s 70th Anniversary Year – unfortunately the Trustees felt they had to postpone the Reunion from 2021 but replace it with a series of Zoom events to celebrate the events of 1951 (see the post on the new Zoom dates) The new date for the Reunion at the Victory Services Club is Sunday, 10th April 2022

See Here for the new Zoom dates

70th Anniversary Read More »

On 15th February 1951, a LEO diary note read: ‘It can be said that on this day, LEO performed its first programme before HRH Princess Elizabeth.’

On this day 15th of February 1951 Princess Elizabeth visited Cadby hall and was give a demonstration of the Lyons Electronic Office

LEO I was still under development at that time but later in 1951 LEO ran its first programme.

The Society Secretary wrote to the Queen earlier and received this reply a few days ago.

Ernest Lenaerts who was one of the designers of LEO I kept a detailed diary with technical notes and recordings of events left the following entry in his record of 16 February 1951
16-2-51 
HRH was no more and no less impressed than I had expected. The information printed by the Teleprinter was unintelligible except of course for the message printed at the bottom which provided some light relief. Fortunately LEO made few mistakes – obviously not subject to stage fright and the Demo went off smoothly. A little more interest was shown I think in the interior of the machine when she saw the complexity of the circuits – how many of this machines like these in existence?
Only one other in working condition – No others on commercial clerical problems. This auspicious occasion called for an enormous improve in general tidyness of the lab and I must make an effort to preserve this. My own desk was clear for the occasion – the first time in months. Work on the machine can go ahead again and I have been given a more or less free hand to proceed on which problem I deem the best tackled first. The object will be to bring the machine  to full operating condition as soon as possible so that Caminer & Co can get [[weaving]] on some of the programmes that they have kept up their sleeves for so long. The first and most obvious fault to be cleared is the corruption in the Teleprinter which I Think are due to breakthro in the output Unit. Other troubles to be cleared are occasional “1”s being added into the store. These have the effect of spoiling all of the test programmes received from Cambridge ” 

Princess Elizabeth’s visit to Cadby Hall on 15 February 1951 Read More »

The LEO Computers Society and the Centre for Computing History have been awarded “Highly Commended” in the UK IT Industry awards for 2023., charities sector.

IT Industry awards 2023

John Paschoud, Vince Bodsworth, Peter Byford and Bernard Behr attended the Black tie event on November 8th at the Evolution Centre in Battersea Park

UK IT Industry Award 2023 Read More »

Neville Lyons continues his contribution to the u3a Radio Podcast series with an outline of the J. Lyons investment in and development of LEO 1.

u3a Radio Podcast, September 2023

J Lyons & Co was famous throughout most of the 20th century for its Teashops, Corner House Restaurants and food manufacture. Since 2008, Neville Lyons (relative of co-founder) has given more than 200 presentations covering the history of J Lyons, the development and manufacture of LEO, the world’s first business computer and Art in the Lyons Teashops.

u3a Podcast on J. Lyons and the LEO 1 Story Read More »

Neville Lyons has participated in recent u3a radio podcast which covers J ​Lyons story, available on YouTube.

J Lyons & Co was famous throughout most of the 20th century for its Teashops, Corner House Restaurants and food manufacture. Since 2008, Neville Lyons ((relative of co-founder) has given more than 200 presentations covering the history of J Lyons, the development and manufacture of LEO, the world’s first business computer and Art in the Lyons Teashops.

u3a Podcast on J. Lyons & Co. Story Read More »

Our virtual LEO I project with CCH is a finalist in the @bcs UK IT Industry Awards in the Charity Project of the Year category. We are very hopeful as it is a very innovative use of new technology to bring to life old technology for younger generations

Exciting news about the Virtual LEO project! Read More »