Category Archives: Centre for Computing History

Swap chicks for chips this Easter at the CCH!

Centre for Computing History logo

With the Easter holidays leaving the kids with time (and chocolate!) on their hands, why not take them along to the amazing Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England, where they can level up on digital know-how while having fun?

As usual, the team has bags of events going on at the Centre during the school break.  Take a look at the range below and visit CCH’s What’s On page to find other exciting events. There’s lots to see and do for adults too.

The Centre will be open 7 Days a Week for the duration of the holiday.  Remember to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment!

What’s on?

From the Centre for Computing History, direct links to events and activities leading up to Easter: Continue reading Swap chicks for chips this Easter at the CCH!


Live Retro Comedy Night at computer museum to raise cancer funds

Live Retro Comedy Night

Cambridge’s popular Centre for Computing History is running a very special event on Saturday 4 March 2017 to help raise funds towards the support of treatment for Matthew Dons, a self-confessed British geek who is suffering from  cancer.

Matthew was unexpectedly diagnosed in July 2016 with advanced and aggressive bowel cancer, aged just 36. His family and friends are raising funds for immunotherapy treatment to give him more precious time with his wife and two small children. Matthew loves playing games with his children on his Amiga emulator and teaching them to code on the Raspberry Pi.

The Centre, located in Rene Court, Coldhams Road, says of the event:

A one-off night of mirth!! Join us for geeky comedy featuring videogames, VHS covers, 80s nostalgia, the supernatural, computing history and movies.

Proceeds from this event will support The Centre for Computing History as well as Matthew’s cancer treatment fund. Special thanks go to Raspberry Pi for helping with promotion, and the comedians who have all generously waived their performance fees.

Host for the evening is Paul Rose, aka “Mr Biffo”, writer and creator of the legendary teletext video games magazine, Digitiser. Now primarily working in TV, Paul still writes about games at and is creating his first crowd-funded online series, Mr Biffo’s Found Footage.

Laughter line-up

The all-star comic line-up features:

Stuart Ashen One of the UK’s most popular YouTube acts, what Stuart doesn’t know about Poundland, obscure video games and Pop Stations isn’t worth knowing. He wrote and starred in the successful movie Ashens and the Quest for the Game Child and is known for his dry wit, incisive commentary and neat beard. He is also the author of Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

Paul Gannon Paul has written for a whole host of well-known Radio 4 comedy shows. He produces the weird and wonderful podcast CheapShow as well as the YouTube channel Barshens starring Stuart Ashen and and Barry Lewis (My Virgin Kitchen). He was also a zombie in Shaun of the Dead, which was likely typecasting.

Ash Frith Standup Ash can be seen in comedy clubs all over the UK. Currently supporting Christian O’Connell on his standup tour. Ash is a regular guest on RadioX and Absolute Radio.

Iszi Lawrence Iszi is a smart, sharp and hilarious comedian described as ‘as adept with an anecdote as she is with a one-liner’ and ‘on-the-spot funny’ by The Herald. She also hosts the hugely popular Sunday Supplement and Z List Dead List Podcasts.

Richard Sandling The king of pop culture comedy, with a passion for cinema of all sorts. He has appeared across theatre, film and TV, turning up in the BBC’s The Catherine Tate Show, Miranda and Channel 4’s Peep Show.

Times and tickets

The show will begin at 7pm and last for around 90 minutes. Advance tickets are just £10 each for this unique opportunity to see such an eclectic pool of comic talent. The Centre will be open to ticket holders from 6pm to 10pm to allow you to enjoy the exhibits and test your gaming skills on their consoles and arcade machines. Drinks will be available from a fully licensed bar provided by Lord Conrad’s Brewery.

Due to the nature of the event, the organisers recommend that all attendees should be over 15.

Find out more

For further info and to buy advance tickets at £10 each, see:

Spaces are limited, so booking is required to secure your place. Payment is taken by PayPal immediately. Please print a copy of the receipt that is displayed at the end of the payment process and bring it with you as your e-ticket. Any remaining tickets will be available on the door for £12 each (cash or card payment).

Find out about the Centre for Computing History:

Computing oral history project seeks help

Viva logo

One of the top computer museums in the UK is appealing for people to help them with a very special project – ‘Viva Computer!’ – and is inviting anyone interested to pop along on a special project day.

Subtitled ‘A People’s History of Computing’, the project, which is lottery funded and organised by the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England, aims to record people who have interesting memories on video as an oral history record for future generations.

The organisers want to know:

  • Have computers changed your life?
  • Do you have a story to tell?
  • Would you like to be part of something very special and record your memories for future generations?

If any of this applies to you, they’d love to see you this Sunday 28 February between 11am – 4pm at The Centre for Computing History, Rene Court, Coldhams Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EW

To register your interest / book a slot for this free event please email:

Volunteer to make history

The museum is also seeking more volunteers to help with this project! They need your skills and enthusiasm to help them create an exciting and inspirational new Cambridge archive. Volunteering roles include – filming, editing, research, educational delivery, event management, design, photography, transcription, cataloguing, archiving and more…

To get involved, visit the Centre for Computing History’s website or email:

Lottery logo

New Oliver Twins video interview

New Oliver Twins video interview

Working on the Viva Computer project
Working on the Viva Computer project

The Centre for Computing History has posted a new video on YouTube  from the Cambridge, England museum’s  Heritage Lottery funded Viva Computer project.

In the video, Andrew Oliver (seen below) talks about the early days when he and his brother became legendary UK games programmers and pioneers in the 1980s. They became known to their legion of fans simply as The Oliver Twins, and decades later are still active today in the industry and the retro community.

Andrew Oliver speaks
Andrew Oliver speaks

At around the age of 12 the twins began their careers writing games for the UK games market, including the highly regarded Dizzy franchise, which is still popular with retro computing fans today.

In 1990 they founded Blitz Games Studios which at its height employed 235 people.

In 2013 they set up a new studio called Radiant Worlds along with their long term friend Richard Smithies, focusing on games as a service.

The new video can be viewed here:

Images courtesy the Centre for Computing History.

Fun with terrible old games in Cambridge!

Fun with terrible old games in Cambridge!

Terrible Old Games With Ashens poster
Click to enlarge

Like movies, some video games are so bad that they’ve become cult classics, or at least a legend in their own lunchtime.  For every great game there are always several awful games that balance things out in the gaming Universe.

So it’s great that some of these classic clunkers are getting their own back towards the end of this month, when you’ll be able to roll up at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England, where you’ll be joined by enthusiastic volunteer staff and celebrity Youtuber and author of ‘Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of’ Stuart Ashen, when the museum is “…putting on an exhibition of some of those forgotten stinkers.”

Just for fun, the Centre is dedicating an entire day to “…the games that wasted our time, effort and hard earned pocket money as kids and the games that we never played because they scored so low in gaming magazines that… well why would we?”

So come along and re-live the agony of playing some of those terrible old games that you threw in the bin or returned to WH Smiths as a kid. Stuart will be hanging out at the museum for most of the day if you’d like to meet him or to get anything signed.

Tea, coffee and snacks will be available from the Pac Lunch Shop.

Normal museum entry fees apply. Booking is not essential, but if demand is high priority will be given to those who have booked in advance.

Date : 23 January 2016
Time : 10:00am – 5:00pm

Further details:

Celebrating 25 years of ARM in Cambridge

Centre for Computing History logo

Don’t let the tinsel and turkey at this time of year distract you from a fascinating exhibition which is on at the Centre for Computing History until 20th December!

The Cambridge, England-based museum is currently celebrating ARM @ 25 which is all about a remarkable British success story which has direct links to the home computer revolution of the 1980s-90s.  Their latest exhibition – 25 years of ARM in 25 Objects – features the most significant collection of ARM memorabilia and artefacts ever to be shown in the UK.

Key exhibits include: Steve Furber’s hand-drawn layout for the ARM 1, 1983, as well as Apple’s Newton MessagePad, 1993.  The Newton became something of a joke – even making it on an episode of The Simpsons – because of its erratic handwriting recognition. The vision may have been bigger than the technology at that time, but it paved the way for later developments such as the iPad. One of the first generation personal digital assistants, the Newton was powered by the ARM610 chip.

Also on show is the new BBC Micro:bit – In the 1980s, the BBC Micro introduced many children to computing for the first time. The BBC Micro:bit – a pocket-sized computer powered by an ARM Cortex-MO – aims to build on that legacy for the digital age. This year, the BBC Micro:bit is being given away free to every UK child in Year 7, to inspire a new generation to get creative and start programming.  Also on display are a champagne bottle cluster and a giant ARM microprocessor!

Pioneering processors

The original ARM processors were pioneered by Acorn for their groundbreaking RISC-powered Archimedes and RISC PC computers. Today, their more powerful and immensely popular descendant processors are rapidly taking over the world!

In the late 1980s Apple Computer and VLSI Technology started working with Acorn on newer versions of the ARM core. In 1990, Acorn spun off the design team into a new company named Advanced RISC Machines Ltd., which became ARM Ltd when its parent company, ARM Holdings plc, floated on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in 1998.

From a barn to billions

The new ARM company was set up with 12 founding engineers working out of an old barn in Swaffham Bulbeck. Twenty-five years later, it is the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, with over 75 billion ARM-based chips shipped, and nearly 4,000 staff working in over 30 offices round the world.

ARM’s technology is at the heart of our connected world today: most smartphones, tablets, cars and TVs plus millions of medical, wearable and other smart connected devices are powered by ARM technology. It’s estimated that over 60% of the world’s population touch an ARM-powered device every day.

This exhibition tells the story of Silicon Fen’s most successful start-up, and how its continuous journey of innovation has changed our world …

There is no need to book this event.

Normal museum admission charges will apply.

The Centre for Computing History is located in Rene Court, Coldhams Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EW.  Tel : +44 (0) 1223 214446.

For details about visiting the Centre for Computing History, see:

For more about ARM, see:


Images courtesy the Centre for Computing History.

Have a Merry Retro Christmas in Cambridge!

Centre for Computing History logo

If you’re looking for something more fun than repeats on telly, soggy sprouts and stale turkey this Christmas, why not plan a seasonal visit to the Centre for Computing History?

And what more festive occasion to drop in on the Centre (located in Rene Court, Coldhams Road, Cambridge CB1 3EW) than on their Christmas themed retro video game night, which will be the last one of 2015?

Festive fun and late opening

This Christmas, they’re opening up specially between 7pm to midnight this Friday 4th December, and they’re going to have some awesome seasonal video games available to play – you’ll even get the chance to win the shirt off the Games Master’s back!

All their usual gaming displays will be on and they’ll be getting loads of extra consoles and games out from their archive for you to play.  So why not join them for a great night out and help support the work of the Centre?

Retro Video Game Night flyer - click to enlarge

Retro Video Game Night flyer – click to enlarge

Due to fact that you can bring your own booze and that there’ll probably be a few video game titles not suitable for kids this is an over 18s only event.

Spaces for this exciting gaming night are limited, so booking at the advance rates of £8 per person is required to ensure your place, although if you’re lucky you *may* get in on the night – but please note that tickets on the door will cost £2 extra).

Book your advance ticket via this link:

Christmas Retro Video Game Night Booking

And for more information on visiting the Centre, see: Visiting the Centre for Computing History.

PLEASE REMEMBER: Due to the fact that this is BYOB and the adult nature of some games this is an over 18s event.

Arc-Aid returns to Cambridge!

Arc-Aid (pic Centre for Computing History)
Arc-Aid (pic Centre for Computing History)

Arcade enthusiasts and retro gamers are being invited to take part in a special event where they can have fun while finding out about some fabulous machines – and hopefully help bring them back to life!

After two previous great weekends of arcade machine tech talk, gaming and retro fun, the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge is all set to open its doors once again for another weekend meet-up and knowledge exchange later this month.

The latest ‘Arc-Aid: Cambridge’ event is being held at the Cambridge Computer Museum on Saturday 13th June (and following on to the Sunday 14th for those wishing to continue!) with the aim of bringing together members of the online arcade community to repair and restore some of the museum’s arcade machines.

Engineers from across the country will gather to open arcade cabinets, extract circuit boards, solder, prod and probe until the dulcet tones of arcade machines springing back to life fill the museum (waka-waka-waka!).

Arcade-centric talks will be held throughout the day and there’ll also be a special PCB workshop session for arcade community members. This will offer opportunities for practical knowledge exchange and members are invited to bring their own faulty games. Visitors to the museum will be able to view restoration work in progress and experience a selection of awesome arcade and pinball machines!

There were some successes at the last events and the museum is  hoping this will continue for the next one!

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult £7.00
  • Child £5.00
  • Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) £20.00

Ticket prices are for the entire weekend. Keep your booking receipt for entry on both days.

Book online here: Arc-Aid (Part 3) Booking

For more information on the museum, visit their website: