University of Manchester Department of Computing Science Collection: Dai Edwards Papers

  • Reference
      GB 133 MUC/8
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      76 items
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

The collection is miscellaneous, but primarily relates to the early years of the University of Manchester computing team, of which Edwards was an important member.

Edwards’ papers relate to his wide-ranging interests in the history of computing, but particularly to his work at Manchester. The documents are a mixture of original documents, recollections and material collected by Edwards which relate to Manchester computing.

The focus of the collection is the Mark I and Ferranti Mark I computers, including instruction sets, a diagram of the Mark I console and inspection routines. Also included are Edwards’ notes from his original notebook for his work on the SSEM and Mark I computers in 1948/9 (the original has since been destroyed). There are also documents relating to the Atlas and MU5 (in which Edwards played a key part in designing hardware).

Edwards also collected material which he considered had more general significance including three letters of Alan Turing relating to Mersenne numbers, and an exchange of correspondence between Tom Kilburn and Sara Turing (Turing mother) about her son’s contributions to computing at Manchester. There are also documents relating to the ICL dispute (covered in MUC/5). There are also numerous photographs including those of successive SSEM/’Baby’ reunions, copies of Mark I photographs, the Atlas, MU5, and various events at the Department of Computing Science.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Beverley George Edwards, known to colleagues as Dai Edwards, was born in Tonteg, Glamorgan in 1928. In 1945 he went to the University of Manchester to read physics, where he specialised in electronics and came under the influence of Professor F.C. Williams. Dai Edwards graduated July 1948, and then became a research student in the Department of Electro-Technics working under F.C. Williams on the ‘Baby’ (SSEM) digital computer. He obtained his M. Sc. in December 1949 and was appointed an assistant lecturer in electrical engineering.

Edwards remained at the University of Manchester for the rest of his working life, first working in the Department of Electrical Engineering and then (from 1964) the Department of Computer Science. He was promoted to lecturer in 1954 and gained his PhD for the design and construction of MEG. In 1959 he became a senior lecturer, leading the engineering team for the MUSE/Atlas project. He was promoted to reader in 1964, and in October 1966 professor of computer engineering; this chair was renamed the ICL chair of computer engineering in 1967. He was head of the Computer Science Department from 1980 until 1987. He took early retirement in 1988 and was appointed emeritus professor. Dai Edwards has published 45 significant papers and held a number of patents, the most significant being as a co-inventor with Tom Kilburn and Frank Sumner for the One Level Store (Virtual Memory).

Acquisition Information

The archives was donated to the Library by in March 2016 by Simon Lavington, with Professor Edwards' agreement (Acc 2016/13). Professor Edwards had previously entrusted the papers to Professor Lavington for safekeeping.


None expected.