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The National Museum of Computing

Bletchley Park

Bletchley

MK3 6EB

United Kingdom

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Heath Robinson Day

On 6 April 2019, to celebrate the completion of the reconstruction of the Heath Robinson machine, the inspiration for Colossus, The National Museum of Computing will have a special display of Heath Robinson wartime illustrations and host two special talks.

The Heath Robinson code-brteaking machine was named after W Heath Robinson, the illustrator. Because of wartime secrecy, he never would have known.

Special guest Peter Higginson, great nephew of W Heath Robinson, will give a talk about Heath Robinson's interest in science and how it influenced his work and legacy.

Colossus Rebuild chief engineer Phil Hayes will talk about the Heath Robinson machine, how it inspired Colossus and what it actually did.

And there will be a temporary exhibition of eight original Heath Robinson illustrations in partnership with the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner, London.


2 pm

Launch and running of the reconstructed Heath Robinson machine in the Tunny Gallery in the presence of Heath Robinson family member and a Heath Robinson veteran operator.

2.30 pm

Heath Robinson’s gadgets: context and legacy

Peter Higginson, art historian and great nephew of W Heath Robinson

Rather than simply the work of an odd-ball eccentric, W Heath Robinson’s inventiveness often reveals a closeness to early 20th century modern, cutting-edge ideas on art and technology. His humorous gadgetry, far from being merely whimsical, can also be viewed as serious reflections on the directions the brave new world was taking. His legacy has been extensive - the naming of the 'Heath Robinson’ code-breaking machine is a powerful case in point, and continues to have relevance today, whether it’s on approaches to animation, directions in conceptual art, or experimental, architectural theory.

3.30 pm

The Heath Robinson machine

Phil Hayes, Colossus Rebuild chief engineer

One of the first attempts by the Newmanry to automate code-breaking, the Heath Robinson machine was a limited success, but it did inspire Colossus. Why was the Lorenz cipher so difficult to break? What was the Heath Robinson designed to do? Why was it only partly successful? How did it inspire Tommy Flowers to design Colossus? What was its post-war legacy? And what did the reconstruction team discover as they tried to recreate it?


Tivckets £25 including entrance to the whole museum. £10 for members.

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Date and Time

Location

The National Museum of Computing

Bletchley Park

Bletchley

MK3 6EB

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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