The History of Computing & Coventry Branch 50th Anniversary

Date:     Wednesday 15 Apr 2015
Time:     18:30 – for a 19:00 start, a networking buffet followed
Speaker:     Richard Kenyon, Alan Chantler, David Sedar, Don Stewart, Irene Glendinning – the first Coventry Branch Secretary, Past Branch Chair, later past Branch Chair & Treasurer, even later past Branch Chair and current Branch Chairwoman
Location:     ECG-13 – Coventry University Engineering & Computing block – Ground Floor

Abstract :

Coventry’s role in the early proliferation of computers in the 1960s was celebrated on Wednesday 15 Apr 2015 from 18:30 during a 50th anniversary event at Coventry University.

Richard Kenyon, one of the founding members of the Coventry branch of the British Computer Society – which subsequently became the Chartered Institute for IT – talked about the history of computing, and how Coventry was at the forefront of developments.

The talk, was entitled ‘The Story of Early Computing in Coventry’, and marked half a century since the organisation’s Coventry branch was opened in 1965 and started meeting in the Courtaulds lecture theatre in Foleshill.

Alan Chantler, a later Branch Chair shared his memories, including when the Duke of Kent visited, as patron of the BCS.

David Sedar shared recollections of his term in office and how MCN was borne.

Don Stewart shared more recollections and Irene told how the Branch was inducted into Coventry University and the birth of the ChallengeIT competition.
Irene, who is also academic manager for student experience at Coventry University, reported that we were delighted to host the event at Coventry University; it’s a fitting venue, as – in its former guise as the Lanchester Polytechnic – the University was involved with the society from an early stage.

Since the 1960s, the Coventry branch of the BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT – has continued to flourish. As with all our monthly meetings, we welcomed non-members, particularly students, to join current and previous members of the branch in celebrating this significant anniversary.

Our Speaker, Mr Richard Kenyon said:
“In the early 1960s the use of computers blossomed in Coventry. We were at the forefront of both scientific and commercial applications in companies such as Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Jaguar Cars, Rootes Group and Alfred Herberts.

The academic lead was provided by the Lanchester Polytechnic, and there was considerable interest in the then young British Computer Society represented by branches in Birmingham and Leicester.”

This talk was open to anyone who may have found it interesting, who we welcomed to join us in with the networking buffet afterwards.

Richard was the very first Coventry Branch Secretary when the Branch inception occurred in 1965 (although the founder members had begun meeting a couple of years earlier) so knows more about the Branch that most, and a good deal about how the field of Computing has changed over the ensuing 50 years! Many members have asked us to provide a lively talk about the History of Computers and Computing, and when better than the 50th anniversary of the Coventry Branch to hold it?

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