The Centre for Computing History


The Centre for Computing History (CCH) is a specialist computer museum with almost a thousand vintage computers and even larger number of hardware and accessories. Officially chartered as an educational charity, CCH is located outside of Cambridge’s traditional museum circuit, but it surprisingly continues to be one of the most popular local attractions. CCH also offers interactive exhibits using long-discontinued computers to visitors – there are even consoles and retro games for the added nostalgic kick!

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History and Background

CCH was founded in 2006 in Haverhill, Suffolk by Jason Fitzpatrick, under the patronage of Vienna-born, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Dr Hermann Hauser. The museum was established to create an enduring record of the story of the IT age, as well as documenting the history and exploits of innovators and visionaries who shaped the industry. Most of the museum’s early exhibits came from the private collection of Mr. Fitzpatrick.

The Haverhill location was originally meant to be a temporary home, but it took another seven years before CCH moved to its current permanent site at Coldhams Road in Cambridge.

An IBM Displaywriter with dual 8.5 inch floppy toaster disk drives

Exhibits

The MegaProcessor: This is the world’s largest working microprocessor. It features a 16-bit processor (measuring 8 KHz in speed), 42,300 transistors and 10,000 indicator LEDs laid out on a massive PCB board, emulating the conventional design of first generation personal computers. The unit contains, get ready for this, 256 bytes of RAM!

Megaprocessor Tour

Acorn BBC Micros: Seen in selected British schools in the 1980s.

The Research Machines 380Z: University students were so proud of this back in the 1980s. Humdrum research papers became important projects. Little do they know, of how much more powerful today’s smartphones, by several magnitudes, will become.

BBC Micro Extended Master System: Computers with cutting edge Laser Disc drives! Yes, Laser Disc! You know, the ones seen in karaoke joints in the 1990s.

Various 8-bit and 16-bit micro computers: Apart from Amstrad and Commodore 64, keep an eye out for one with a built in cassette deck!

Arcade cabinets: Don’t worry, you don’t need coins to play the arcade games here.

Games consoles: This might just be the Holy Grail for modern gamers. Visitors can look forward to eight and 16 bit classics like NES, MegaDrive and Turbografx. In addition, there are Sega and Nintendo game consoles which are already hooked to displays and are playable!

Calculators: The ancestors of modern calculators, the comptometers and electro-mechanical calculators are displayed in abundance here.

Visitor Information

CCH is open from 10.00 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday to Sunday. During school holidays, CCH is open seven days a week.

Admission Fees:

Adults: £8

Children: £6 (free from children under five years old)

Concession: £7

Family Ticket: £24 (maximum two adults and two children)

Note: Annual passes are also available

Contact

Website: www.computinghistory.org.uk

Email: admin@computinghistory.org.uk

Telephone: 01223 214446

Address: Centre for Computing History, Rene Court, Coldhams Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EW