Conway Berners-Lee: Ferranti Portland Place

Conway Berners-Lee recalls Ferranti's splendid Portland Place computer centre.

We began by sharing a director’s office, overlooking Lincoln’s Inn Fields, but then we found, one of us actually, found a suitable building. A very nice building, an old Adam style house in Portland Place, not far from the BBC, 21 Portland Place. Very graceful building, with an Adam ceiling and fire – they unfortunately had to have a false floor because they thought the computer was going to be very big. But  by the time the Pegasus came along, that wouldn’t have been [laughs] necessary. The Chairman, Sir Vincent De Ferranti, reckoned that he didn’t want an outfit which looked like a lot of geeks [laughs] to use a modern phrase, but that’s exactly how he would've thought of it. But, you see, the general atmosphere of the place was often likened to university. You were encouraged to come in and talk to people and get any access to the manuals or books or try out programmes and so on. And that was very good fun.

  • Interviewee Conway Berners-Lee
  • Duration 00:01:25
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 9/21/2010
  • Shelfmark C1379/23

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