Norwich Council’s First Computer – 1957

The first computer of Norwich City Council was sent to the Treasurer’s Department in Norwich City. This first ever computer which was designed for commercial usage was designed and manufactured by Elliott Brothers, a UK based Computer Company. In the era of 1950-1960, Elliott Brothers Ltd came in front of the world as one of the pioneer computer manufacturing company in the United Kingdom.

Delivery of of Norwich Council's first computer. 1957

In 1804, Elliott Brothers was founded by William Elliott in the London city, but since that time, it was famous as the firm of instrument making. In 1946, Elliott Brothers felt the need of research laboratories for the purpose of conducting some new experiments based on latest research. The workstation of the company was constructed at Borehamwood during the same year. Just after the effort of four year, Elliott Brothers took the advantage of utilizing expenses over the purpose-built lab in the form of first Elliott 152 computer. Elliot Brothers introduced Elliott 152 computer in 1950 and it was also the pioneer of Head-up displays or HUDs.

The key person behind this great invention was Sir Tony Hoare, who got fame as creative computer scientist later on. At the time of introducing first computer of Norwich City Council, Sir Tony Hoare was the employee of company and he was the mastermind of this magnum opus. Sir Tony Hoare joined Norwich City Council in 1960 and he remained there for more than eight years. His remarkable achievement was writing down an ALGOL 60 compiler for the Elliott 803. After the success of first commercial computer, he tried to introduce an operating system for upcoming computer model of the company which was named as Elliott 503 Mark II computer. However, this struggle of Sir Tony Hoare could not be succeeded.

History reveals that there is always teamwork behind some invention or technological advancement. In this case, nothing was different which can be proved by the statement of owner of UK’s first software house who worked there from 1953 – 1958. The name of this inventor was Dina St Johnston.

John Lansdown took initiative to take assistance from computer in making the planning and in producing angle drawings on an Elliott 803 computer. In 1963, he prepared the model of building’s lifts and services by estimating the yearly decrease of daylight across its position, in addition to authoring his own computer aided design (CAD) applications. The company made an integrated circuit design in 1966 and also introduced the manufacturing capacity in Glenrothes, Scotland. This is pursued by a MOS semiconductor research laboratory. In 1969, The Glenrothes site was stopped following the capture of English Electric by GEC.

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