There is a huge number of organisations and businesses that have played a role in developing computing. In any locale, public bodies such as county councils, health services, and government bodies have pioneered large data applications to do with citizens’ accounts. Professional bodies have gathered intelligence, built capability and nurtured networks of experience.  Computer manufacturing has been widespread; and software service companies and business support programmes have played a role in sustaining and advancing local economies. The Collection contains information about a modest sample of such entities and ways they have

  • Developed or deployed new technologies
  • Initiated, trained or supported people in computing
  • Changed the economy by “modernizing”

The British Computer Society

The British Computer Society was founded in April 1957. By October, there were some 7 local branches and 22 study groups established. The first Annual Conference was held in Cambridge in 1959. Roughly, the membership grew nationally as follows:

  • 1960: 2000+
  • 1965: 5000+
  • 1967: 13,000+

The Cardiff Branch was started in 1958. It was the initiative of people in local government and commerce who were working on financial and related data processing problems. Harry Mansfield, the Treasurer of Cardiff City Council, was the first chair.

In September 1962, the Fourth Annual Conference of the BCS was held in Cardiff. It attracted some 450 participants from around the country; interestingly, only 15 from Universities.

In 1963 the Cardiff Branch became the South Wales Branch.

J V Tucker

Further Reading: John Kavanagh, The British Computer Society: Celebrating Fifty Years, British Computer Society, 2007.

Guest Keen Iron and Steel

In around 1962 Guest Keen bought a computer that in addition to other things did the company payroll.The machine cost in the region of £2.25million and filled a large room.

It used to take something like 1000 man hours to complete the payroll for men working in the company, after the introduction of the computer it was completed in 40 minutes.

The men’s work was held on punched cards fed into the machine. Complex system of pay - different jobs done by one person could be paid at different rates - so one man could have worked at a number of different rates during a day/week/month. In addition bonus rates were payable at a different rate for at least some of the jobs. It was not unusual for the wage to be £11 basic plus £50 bonus for some workers for a month.