Computer ◆ Conservation ◆ Society


October 2017

Len Hewitt MBCS


Len Hewittl
Len Hewitt receiving his certificate from CCS Chairman David Morriss

The BCS Volunteer Recognition of Appreciation has been awarded to Len Hewitt for his great accomplishment during 25 years of volunteering with BCS from 1989 until 2014.

Len was a committee member on the BCS Computer Conservation Society (CCS), the largest historical computing association in the world. Whilst on the committee, he was team leader of the Ferranti Pegasus computer restoration project. This was one of the CCS’s earliest flagship projects as, for many years, the Ferranti Pegasus was the oldest extant working electronic computer in the world. The project team of CCS members achieved the successful completion of a fully working machine under Len's brilliant leadership.

In co-operation with the Science Museum, the team of volunteers relocated the machine to the Museum to be on public display. Whilst it was there they maintained it and engaged with the Museum visitors by demonstrating what it can do in an interactive and entertaining way. These demonstrations took place regularly for some 20 years, until the machine was retired by the Science Museum to go into off-site storage. The project was of such importance that a short film has been made to screen in the Science Museum and on the web as a celebration of the machine and the volunteers who have contributed so much time and effort towards it.

The Ferranti Pegasus Restoration Project is very important to the CCS because it achieved all its aims in terms of the society founders' ideals. It introduced a whole generation of Science Museum visitors of all ages to the story of British post-war computing.

The project also fulfilled those objects of BCS under its Charter relating to advancing knowledge and education of computing for the benefit of the public, in consultation and co-operation with the Science Museum with a view to the pursuit of common objects in Computing.

This is largely thanks to the leadership of Len Hewitt, the well deserving recipient of this award.