Computer ◆ Conservation ◆ Society
Title: Bloodhound Missile Preeservation
Speaker: Peter Harry
Date: Tuesday 19th Nov 2019
Time: 17:00 for 17:30

Manchester Metropolitan University


About the seminar

Manchester was the home of Ferranti Computer Systems, a company well known for designing, manufacturing and supplying computers to industry, commerce and the military. The talk Peter will give focuses on restoring a Ferranti Argus 700 as used in the Bloodhound missile system during the Cold War. It is the story of a restoration that faced many challenges before the Argus-based missile control system was returned to working order.

Peter leads the Bloodhound Missile Preservation Group who have carried out an Argus 700 restoration. A project that has been on-going for five years resulting in the successful restoration of the computer, control and display system. But the technical challenges are not over as ongoing maintenance will be required for many years to come if a key part of the UK’s air defence system from the Cold War remains demonstrable.

The talk will describe the many difficulties faced in recovering the Argus 700 from a derelict condition, it had been abandoned in a poor environment and left for twenty years. Perhaps the greatest challenge the project had to overcome was obsolete components that could not be replaced, challenges involving both hardware and software. Was this a computer restoration project that most people would have considered a 'no hoper'?

About the speaker

Peter is retired. His working life started with an RAF apprenticeship followed by a decade of military service when he had responsibilities for maintaining and supporting radar and missile installations in the UK and overseas. Leaving the RAF for a commercial career meant a change in direction when he undertook sales and marketing roles in the electronics and computer industries with Plessey and Honeywell Bull. The final twenty-five years of his working life was as a director of Imtex Technologies Ltd. a computer support and services company which he founded. Retirement did not mean putting his feet up as he now leads the Bloodhound Missile Preservation Group. a role he fell in to through circumstances. It certainly wasn’t planned!