This year marks fifty years of the University of Bath and within the Computing Services department we've been looking back through our archives to see what treasures we can find. You can browse a selection of our archive photos below or view a collage we created, at the bottom of this post.
When the Computer Service - as it was known then - was launched in 1966, England won the World Cup, Eleanor Rigby was waiting at the church window and HP launched its first ever personal computer. This was also the year that Computer Weekly Magazine was launched.
Things have certainly changed since the first computer was installed here - we only had one! Technology has advanced to such an extent that as the University has expanded, so has the department, taking on staff with a range of technical skills to keep all the systems working hard. As the department grew, so did the number of users and in 1974 we launched the first Computing Services newsletter
Over the last few weeks staff members past and present have been sharing their memories and stories. Simon Wharf from the AV team has put together a special video showcasing the birth and continuing development of the department which you can watch below.
In contrast we've found an introduction to the Computing Services department, aimed at new students, filmed in 1994. Technology has moved on a fair bit since then - note the part introducing Electronic Mail and the Information Super Highway (Email and the Internet!).
Also take a look at some of the photos and documents we've collated. Many of the original staff members have moved on but we did manage to catch up with the longest serving current staff member, Systems Developer Nick Cooper who shared his story:
'Sometime around 1981 I met a man (I think his name was Chris Knight) who noticed I had an interest in computers and since he worked for ICL in what is now 2 South, gave me the opportunity to see round the Machine Room. There were machines that looked like washing machines with big brown disk packs in them and boxes with flashing lights and Line Printers that produced enormous ASCII Art pictures of Asterix the Gaul and Snow White. It was brilliant. Who was to know that a few years later I’d be working here. If I see out my time to retirement in July 2018 I will have been here about half as long as the University has been here'. You can read Nick's full story in this blog post.
In addition to this, System Developer, Roger Peabody is joining the 50th Anniversary procession in Bath Abbey. Check back later in the week to read his story and find out about the events of the special day.