Rebuild Handover

Official Handover Ceremony for the Rebuilt "Baby"

Sunday June 21st 1998 in the 1830 Warehouse building of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

On the morning of June 21st 1998, 50 years to the day after the first successful run of the Manchester SSEM, the "Baby", there was a ceremony to hand over to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester the Rebuild of the Baby by the Computer Conservation Society.

This was followed in the afternoon by the Competition Award Ceremony, in connection with the "Baby" Programming competition to find the most imaginative program written for the Baby.

Among the invited guests were members of the rebuild team, and nearly all the people involved in building the original Baby in 1948 and the full-sized Manchester Mark 1 in the next 15 months or so. The most notable absentee was of course the late Professor Sir Freddie Williams, but his son Professor Fred Williams was present.

Also present were the Lord Mayor of Manchester, and from Japan, Mr Yuki Tanaka, Director of Fujitsu ICL, and Yasuaki Watanabe, winner of the Programming Competition.

Handover Ceremony

The proceedings were compered by Tony Wilson, and at the appropriate moment to match the first successful run of the Baby, around 11.15, Tom Kilburn's first run was repeated on the Replica Baby.

The set of speakers was as follows :

Anthony Wilson, Broadcaster and Museum Trustee, opened the proceedings by welcoming the guests and introducing the occasion.

John Lee, Museum Chairman, inaugurated the "Futures" exhibition, in which the Replica Baby will be a major exhibit, reminding us of the birth of the Computer Age that already has such a great impact on all our lives, and will assuredly have even greater impact in the future.

Sir Brian Jenkins, President of the British Computer Society, formally handed over the Replica Baby to the Museum on behalf of the BCS's Computer Conservation Society.

Mark Fisher MP, Minister for the Arts, accepted the Replica Baby on behalf of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

Professor Tom Kilburn, Chief Designer and Builder of the Baby, spoke about the events of 50 years ago.

Chris Burton, Leader of the Rebuild project, spoke about the Computer Conservation Society operation to rebuild the original Baby.

Tom Hinchliffe, former Managing Director, ICL West Gorton, spoke about ICL's involvement in the Rebuild Project. ICL were the major sponsors of the project.

Dr J Patrick Greene, Museum Director, closed the proceedings and invited the guests to tour the "Futures" exhibition.

Many pictures were taken in front of the Replica Baby, and the guests retired to view the rest of the Futures exhibition and then enjoy a buffet lunch.

"Baby" Programming Competition Award Ceremony

After the Handover Ceremony, in the afternoon of June 21st there was a ceremony at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester to present the prize to the winner of the 1998 Programming Competition, to find the most imaginative program for the Baby machine. There were 128 entries from 19 countries.

The winner was Yasuaki Watanabe from Japan, and the four runners up were from Australia, Holland, Sweden, and the USA.

The Competition was sponsored by Sebastian de Ferranti, whose company in Manchester produced the commercial version of the Mark 1. As well as providing computer equipment for the winner and runners up, the competition promised that the winning program would be run on the replica Baby, and thanks are also due to the British Council in Tokyo, who helped to arrange Mr. Watanabe's trip, and paid his air fare, so that he could be present at this occasion. The winning program was a noodle timer, and the program, and the runners up programs, can be seen here.

The speakers at the Award Ceremony were

Tom Hinchliffe, former Managing Director, ICL West Gorton, who introduced the Competition, Sebastian de Ferranti, former Chairman, Ferranti Ltd., who presented the awards, Chris Burton, Leader of the Rebuild project, who gave a special award and Robin Hacking, Managing Director, ICL High Performance Systems, who spoke about "The Next Steps - Living in the Information Society".