The Launch Event

The focus of the University of Manchester's celebrations was the Launch Event, held at the Bridgewater Hall, at 3.15 p.m. on the 17th of June 1998. All 1,800 tickets were taken.

The programme for the event included a presentation giving the background to the Manchester 'Baby' and a brief talk by Professor Kilburn describing the machine and the events on June 21st 1948. The Replica Baby, in the Museum of Science and Industry, was switched on officially by remote link from the Bridgewater Hall. There was a special Honorary Degree ceremony, and a set of presentations on the impact of computers on society now and in the future.

The Launch Event was followed by a reception given at the Town Hall by the City of Manchester.

Golden Anniversary Celebration Bridgewater Hall


3.15 p.m., Wednesday 17 June, 1998

The event lasted two hours. It was by invitation and ticket only, with all 1,800 available tickets taken. The proceedings were expertly compèred by Beverly Ashworth.

The Birth of the Baby

A dramatic reconstruction of the invention of the world's first stored-program computer.

Emeritus Professor Tom Kilburn

A personal perspective on the events leading up to June 1948/1998.

The Replica Switch-On

A live satellite link to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester to see the replica "Baby", built by a team from the Computer Conservation Society, led by Chris Burton.

Professor Kilburn and Lady Williams performed the formal "switch-on" of the machine.

The Ferranti Partnership

Sebastian de Ferranti reflected on the successful partnership forged between Ferranti and the University of Manchester.

The ICL partnership

Keith Todd, Chief Executive, ICL plc, looked at how ICL and the University have kept Manchester at the forefront of computing.

The Computer Revolution

Three short presentations explored the exciting role which computers will play in all our lives in the not too distant future.


By Bill Perry, Senior Project Manager, Emerging Projects Group, Barclays Bank.

A World of Bits & Chaos

By Professor Peter Cochrane, Head of research at British Telecom.

Converging on the Consumer

By Judy Nunn, Senior Technical Advisor, Broadcast Technical Unit, BBC.

Honorary Degree Ceremony

The Chancellor of the University of Manchester, The Lord Flowers, presided at a special ceremony to confer honorary degrees: Master of Science Christopher Burton
Doctor of Science Tom Kilburn
Doctor of Laws Sebastian de Ferranti
Doctor of Science Michael Brady
The Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Harris presented the honorary graduands.

Manchester - The Digital Summer '98

Lord Mayor of Manchester highlighted Manchester's role in today's IT industry and outlined plans for a Digital Summer of celebrations.