The ICT 1301 Resurrection Project.
*** Saving Flossie 2013 ***
here for the latest public open day Video ( about 13mb )
This site contains large pages, so please be patient if you are using dialup access.
"Flossie is Moving"
Getting the machine ready to go, a team of willing volunteers have worked hard
for 12 days to ensure the machine is dismantled and packed along with a host of
spares to get it to the new home.
Boxes and bodies everywhere.
Many of the willing team who lent a hand
Still packing until the very last day and already people are volunteering to put
this old lady back together and get it working again once she has a firm place to go!
A spare Store module of just 400 words by 48 bits
All Packed up and ' Somewhere to Go '
Getting ready for the Road !
The Story of the Move !
I, along with others have spent just over ten years restoring and rebuilding the last working ICT1301 computer working in the world today. The home of the project has had to be sold so the farm in Kent where the old lady stood is now in new hands.
Quite rightly not everybody wants a 50 year old computer, even if it is in itís own huge shed ! So the project has had to find a new home and all of that against the clock as the final date meant that the machine would default to the new owner of the farm and with a scrap value of over £10k her fate would have been sealed. As the machine had survived at least two threats of being scrapped already in its life the chance that it would be lucky a third time was slim.
A lot of promotion of this project had been undertaken in the later part of 2012 in newspapers, on the radio and on Local Kent TV to prepare for the 50th year celebrations ! But now we just needed to save it and fast, step one was to assess the size of the task. Dead easy as it is BIG, Very BIG with a floor footprint of 25ft by 25ft , weighing in at a slim 5.5 tons this is no lightweight. Next problem was how do you staff a major move, and that is where ICL pensioners and other ex employees who stay in touch come in. So raising a trembling hand and crying HELP on the internet we were very pleased to find a raft of people who wanted to help. We thinned the list down by stating a few facts like, sorry but there are no toilets and there is almost no heating, all we can offer you is a few cups of tea whilst the kettle continues to work and the satisfaction of knowing you are saving a piece of computing history. And would you believe it we still had a few brave souls willing to try it and almost freeze to death in the process.
February the 4th saw the first working day and with donated supplies of bubble wrap, copious supplies of Tea, Coffee and Hot Cuppa soups, we all mucked in. So collectively we stubbed our toes, cursed at the rusty jacking bolts and got very cold laying on a dusty concrete floor, but slowly the old Lady came apart. Working on days when people could get there and the temperature was above freezing we managed to complete and get the machine ready along with a mountain of spares to roll out of the door on the 25th Feb .
So instead of driving away and leaving the machine behind on the 25th I followed the three lorries holding this piece of computer history and at junction 8 of the M20 waved it a fond farewell as it was taken for a long rest before we put it all back together at The National Museum Of Computing. Its new home sometime this year ( we hope ), along with it go all of the kind acts of the people who have donated equipment and parts over the years, and the determination of all who toiled and froze as we worked to save it.
So hats off to George Brown, John Ross, Andrew Berridge and his friend John. Further salutes to Andy Keene , Stuart Fyfe, Chris Hewitt and Steve Garnett. But above all, well done to you all, for proving to us over the years that this piece of our past life was worth saving.
Further thanks go to The Computer Consevation Society and the trustees of TNMOC for stepping forward and providing a new home for the project, and incidently footing the bill for moving the old Lady. Last and by no means least it's thanks to Roger Holmes, Flossie's custodian whilst it was at the farm, we will take care of her I assure you !
And also to every supporter who has sent in parts, manuals or just emailed the project with messages of support. There is a massive backlog of emails for me to catch up on now I have a little free time on my hands.
Visit :- ict1301.co.uk for more news or come and see the machine in its new home, when we get it working again that is. And people are already volunteering for that as well, this is real Computer Conservation in Action if ever I saw it.
Now all I have to do is explain that my Girlfriend has moved, and get my Wife to let me have even longer away days !
Any suggestions for excuses ?
Transported by :-