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Jubilee celebrations

Figure 7. Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill after running the first program

Figure 7. Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill after running the first program on 21 June 1998.

During the week before 21 June 1998, among many other celebratory events, a formal switch-on of the replica by Kilburn and Lady Williams, Freddie Williamsís widow, was staged using a satellite link from the 2,000-seat Bridgewater Hall auditorium in Manchester City Center. Over the next day or two, one of the storage systems became unreliable, and we had to revert to the dummy store for that particular CRT. On Sunday, 21 June 1998, at 11:15 a.m., Kilburn and Tootill ran the first program again, just as they had done exactly half a century earlier. Their evident pleasure in that moment was captured in a photograph taken immediately after (see Figure 7).

Ongoing commitments

Since that date, the replica has fulfilled the project objectives by being on public display in the museum, with live demonstrations on Tuesdays and many school holiday weekends. A team of demonstrators has been trained to switch the machine on, run programs on it, and in particular to explain to the public the historical significance of the original SSEM. Efforts are being made to train some of them to be able to repair the machine in the future.


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