Centre for Computing History

Child with data reel from 1970s mainframe computer
Visual disability facilities icon

The Centre for Computing History is an inspirational educational charity (est. 2006) and museum with a collection in excess 24,000 items.

The computing revolution has been responsible for wholesale social and cultural transformation, irreversibly changing our ways of thinking, communicating, organizing, working and playing on a speed and scale unparalleled in human history.

Our core purpose is to increase understanding of developments in computing over the past 60 years through exploring the social, cultural and historical impact of the digital revolution. Our aim is to bring this exciting, profound and tumultuous story to life.

We also do lots of unusual ‘stuff’ – engaging youngsters in fun ways with off-curricula engineering and electronics; designing creative coding workshops; running ‘tech tents’ at big national events such as the BBC’s Make It Digital campaign; evolving the country’s most extensive archive on personal computing; and building learning and partnership links with local tech businesses to deliver exciting computing projects in the community – all with the aim of helping people, especially young people, develop the 21st-century skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century workplace.

Since opening in Cambridge in late 2013, over 20,000 visitors, including 10,000 children, have visited the museum, benefited from our workshops, interactive exhibits and informative tours. Through a creative educational programme, the Centre provides the opportunity for children of all ages to encounter, engage and enjoy a diversity of computing experiences.

CCH is currently developing two new Cambridge-related archives: a Sinclair collection and an Acorn collection.

(Registered Charity No: 1130071)

Venue Type:

Museum, Science centre, Archive, Heritage site

Opening hours

Term Time: Wednesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm
School Holidays: 7 days a week 10am-5pm

Admission charges

£8 adults
£6 children (5-16years)
Under 5's are free.
£24 Family ticket (up to two adults and two children).

Getting there

The museum is at Rene Court in Coldhams Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EW, very close to the Beehive Shopping Centre. From the Beehive Centre, take the 3rd exit off the roundabout into Coldhams Road and go over the railway bridge. Immediately after the bridge there is a very sharp, left hand turn that doubles-back on itself. Take that turn into the commercial estate and follow the road to your right. Just before the railway crossing, turn first right into Rene Court and you will see the museum.

Limited parking is available.

Additional info

Open Monday - Friday for school/college/university bookings

Includes a vast range of vintage computers and gadgets, peripherals, software, literature and other related artefacts. Aims to tell the story of the Information Age.

Collection details

Toys and Hobbies, Social History, Science and Technology, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Microsoft
  • Altair
  • Sir Clive Sinclair
  • Apple
  • Acorn
  • Amstrad
  • Spectrum
  • Commodore
  • Atari
  • IBM
  • Psion
  • Compaq
  • neXT
  • Steve Furber
  • Bill Gates
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Acorn logo

Acorn World Exhibition

  • 13 — 14 May 2017

Acorn was a British company that was a key player in the home computer revolution of the early 80s. Best known for its BBC Micro, the number one schools computer of that era, Acorn was highly innovative, often creating remarkable technology with very few people and not much money.

This exhibition, run in collaboration with the UK's Acorn enthusiast community, celebrates and explores the history of this once-mighty Cambridge based computer firm: a rollercoaster ride of boom to bust, creative brilliance and hard work that went on to leave a legacy that's imprinted in British industry and academia.

There will be many vintage computers on display as well as items sure to bring back memories of Acorn's heyday: magazines, turtles, Granny's Garden and more! The history will be accompanied by a look at today's Acorn community, with members showing off their latest Acorn-related projects and retro computer trickery.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Usual museum entry charges apply.

Website

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/43277/Acorn-World-Exhibition-13-14-May-2017/

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Mega-Ran

Music For Geeks - Mega Ran

  • 14 May 2017

Yet again we've got another awesome line-up of live music for you but this time on an unusual Sunday night. Why? Because we have a unique opportunity to bring you the awesome Mega Ran! Not only that but with two great support acts - Automaton Subsystem and .mpegasus - this is sure to be a great night! Don't worry about work in the morning ... it's over rated!

There will be a licensed bar courtesy of Lord Conrads Brewery. Crisps and nibbles will be available from our pac lunch shop.

There will also be plenty of opportunity for some retro gaming between acts.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£10 in advance, £12 on the night

Website

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/43451/Music-For-Geeks-Mega-Ran-Sunday-14th-May-2017/

Retro Computing Festival

Retro Computer Festival 2017

  • 16 — 17 September 2017

Saturday Exhibitors

Retro Computer Museum
The awesome team from RCM in Leicester will be here displaying some of their favourite and rarest machines.

MegaProcessor
James Newman will be here to demonstrate and discuss the amazing MegaProcessor - his scaled up computer that uses over 42,000 discrete transistors and 10,000 LEDs to demonstrate just how a micro-processor works. It's incredible!

Tom Williamson & Anna Fellows
Will have some of their updated BBC Micros that tour schools and colleges in the Midlands. Demoing new 8-bit games and software and add-on hardware such as Raspberry Pi co-processors and flash card based storage systems for the trusty beeb.

Steve Perry
Steve will be bringing a couple of highlights from his awesome collection of game consoles from around the world. This will be a rare opportunity to have a go with the Sharp X68000, Commodore Max, Spectravideo SVI 328, Tec-Toy Zeebo, Thomson TO8, Microbee Premium, Zemmix Neo and Tomy Pyuuta. Steve's display will be different on each day.


Saturday Evening
After an exciting first day, Saturday evening will be a casual 'party' involving the good company of exhibitors, chat, the occassional beer, copius amounts of pizza, some music, soldering irons and machine code. We'll have a local bar on-site and we'll be ordering in take-aways but we'll all have to chip in to cover the costs!


Sunday Exhibitors

Retro Computer Museum
The awesome team from RCM in Leicester will be here displaying some of their favourite and rarest machines.

MegaProcessor
James Newman will be here to demonstrate and discuss the amazing MegaProcessor - his scaled up computer that uses over 42,000 discrete transistors and 10,000 LEDs to demonstrate just how a micro-processor works. It's incredible!

Tom Williamson & Anna Fellows
Will have some of their updated BBC Micros that tour schools and colleges in the Midlands. Demoing new 8-bit games and software and add-on hardware such as Raspberry Pi co-processors and flash card based storage systems for the trusty beeb.

Steve Perry
Steve will be bringing a couple of highlights from his awesome collection of game consoles from around the world. This will be a rare opportunity to have a go with the Sharp X68000, Commodore Max, Spectravideo SVI 328, Tec-Toy Zeebo, Thomson TO8, Microbee Premium, Zemmix Neo and Tomy Pyuuta. Steve's display will be different on each day.


As a fundraising event for the museum, all proceeds will be used to help us run our educational services and inspire another generation in to a career in computing.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

The event will be free to exhibitors and entry for visitors is just standard museum entry.

Exhibitors can exhibit for 1 day or both.

If required exhibitors can set-up on the Friday evening too.

Website

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/43210/Retro-Computer-Festival-2017/

Getting there

The museum is at Rene Court in Coldhams Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EW, very close to the Beehive Shopping Centre. From the Beehive Centre, take the 3rd exit off the roundabout into Coldhams Road and go over the railway bridge. Immediately after the bridge there is a very sharp, left hand turn that doubles-back on itself. Take that turn into the commercial estate and follow the road to your right. Just before the railway crossing, turn first right into Rene Court and you will see the museum.

Limited parking is available.

Centre for Computing History
Rene Court
Coldhams Road
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
CB1 3EW
England

Website

www.computinghistory.org.uk

E-mail

info@computinghistory.org.uk

Telephone

01223 214446

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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