PC gallery officially opens and a visit from LUG

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After many months of hard graft the new History of Personal Computing Gallery officially opens.

PC Gallery opens

We officially announced the opening of the PC gallery on Thursday and had some good press coverage. The feedback from our test openings and from the press has been really good which we are all delighted with. The trustees would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers and Bex (the display fitters) for their efforts in achieving an excellent display. This will certainly spur us on to produce something even better for the next gallery; the history of packet switching.

Phone system and cabling

Barney completed the phone system configuration on Saturday and the network cabinet in the reception office was wired up to the mains by Peter V. Further data cabling was completed for the research office and archive rooms by Peter V.

Linux User Group visit

We had a party of over 45 from the WolvesLUG, together with some members of the Milton Keynes and Leicester LUG groups, visit us on Saturday. In the morning they took the Bletchley Park tour and in the afternoon Pete C split the group into two and did two guided tours of the computer museum. They then wondered around themselves and bought some goodies from our shop.

Archive room preparation

We have been given a delivery/fitting date for the new archive shelving system so it was all hands to the pump to complete the preparation of the room. Pete H completed fitting the lighting and a group of volunteers spent the best part of an hour pulling up the well stuck down carpet. Bob J then spent an hour or so with a scraper removing the remains of the carpet glue and cement from the floor.

Server donation

Sheridan, one of our volunteers, has kindly donated a HP Prolient ML350 G4 server, which will come in handy for the PC gallery display screens as our current PC cannot cope with the job. Ben will be spending some time setting it up and hopes to have something operational in the next few weeks.

Shop merchandise

The pens and cups with the museum logo on which we ordered for the shop arrived during the week and our display cabinet is looking a lot fuller than before. Lin J was also busy in the shop during Saturday selling items, especially to the LUG group. We would like to thank all those who have bought items from us as all profits go to keeping the museum open. Don't forget to stop by the shop when you next visit!

803 re-fuse-al to start-up

As always the Elliott 803 is keeping our experts busy as it failed to start up on Saturday. No amount of switching off/on made a difference so it was down to John S and John W to find the cause. After some investigation they suspected one of the fuse holders was faulty (gone open circuit they thought) although it appeared OK. The fuse fitted was a 2A but the diagrams suggested it should only be 1A. They tried fitting a 1A fuse and it blew on start-up (at least something was happening this time). On checking the original fuse it was still fine so they refitted it and the system started up normally. So they were not really sure what the problem was in the end but the system continued to operate fine for the rest of the day.

IRIS Air Traffic Control

Good news, the Air Traffic Control radar system started up normally on Saturday and continued to work throughout the day. We are still trying to figure out why we have had several DZS11 serial card failures and discussions concluded it could be a problem with earthing on the units (they are not properly earthed) which can be an issue with the PDP11 systems. So a task for next weekend is to properly earth all the cabinets and processors and hope it stops the problem occurring again.


We had an unexpected visit from Stephen Fry on Monday. He came to Bletchley Park to officially unveil the new griffins outside the mansion entrance and had a tour around the park with Simon and Kelsey. He then spent time visiting the computer museum where he saw Colossus and the new PC gallery.

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