Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Computer manufacture in Greenwich

Those who can remember the computer manufacturers of the 1960s - when Britain was still a major player - will know that one of the most important of them was Elliott Brothers, based on the Lewisham/Greenwich borders.

A member has drawn our attention to an article - "Elliott Brothers to BAE Systems" by C T Bartlett which appeared in the Summer 2009 Newsletter of the History Technical and Professional Network of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. This can be found at
Through many mergers Elliott Brothers via Marcom-Elliott Avionic Systems Ltd and then Marconi Avionics, became part of BAE Systems. C.T.Bartlett, worked for Marconi Avionics and when he retired set up a museum called Rochester Avionic Archives on the Rochester site of BAE Systems - carries a different version of the Elliott article and a description of the collection. Unfortunately there is no information about how or even whether the public can visit.

The website says "Welcome to Rochester Avionic Archives - a large collection of avionic hardware items together with an archive of films, documents, videos,brochures and newspapers. The oldest item is a Slide Rule from 1894 but the majority of the items are of mid to late20th century origin. The emphasis is on equipment made or relevant to the Rochester site and the work of Elliott Bros, Marconi and BAE Systems The Rochester Avionic Archives (RAA), is located within BAE System Rochester, and aims to preserve a record of the products and generate pride in the people who helped create the company.

Up to 1998, a unique collection of equipment and documents was stored in the Flying School under the care of one of the previous Directors of the company. This collection included the 'Elliott Collection' which is a valuable archive relating to the work of Elliott Brothers in the 19th century. This collection has historic scientific instruments and documents but in addition there were some more modem items concerned with the avionics business of the Company and in particular at Rochester.

- So - what do we know about their work in South London?

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