National Archive for the History of Computing: Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content


  • D1, R.A. Fairthorne, Some Mathematical Aspects of Punched Card Accounting Machinery and Methods, Technical Note SME. 333, October 1945;
  • D2, W. Hoppe, New Simple Electrical Calculating Machines for the Automatic Solution of Complicated Calculations, Library Translation No. 149, January 1947;
  • D3, W. Elfers, J. Gait and W.R. Thomas, An AC/DC Method of Electronic Integration with Respect to Time, Technical Note GW. 15, April 1948;
  • D4, RASCAL: Notes on the Royal Aircraft Establishment Sequence Controlled Calculator, [?1950] (2 page typescript);
  • D5, S.H. Hollingdale, The RAE Sequence Controlled Calculator: Programming of Some Algebraic Problems, Report MS. 50, February 1950;
  • D6, J.A. Roberts and D.C. Pressey, A Crossed-Fields Multiplier, Technical Note ARM. 516, April 1954;
  • D7, E.R. de Bourcier, Subtabulation on a High Speed Computer, Technical Note No. MS. 24, January 1956;
  • D8, J.M. Watt, The Assembly of Large Programmes for the Automatic Computer Deuce, Technical Note No. MS. 31, July 1956;
  • D9, D.G. Burnett-Hall and P.A. Samet, A Programming Handbook for the Computer Deuce, Technical Note MS. 38, April 1959;
  • D10, Diana Raynor, An Introduction to Autocode Programming for the Mercury Computer, Technical Note MS. 68, June 1960;
  • D11, Marjorie M. Barritt, Manchester Mercury Autocode: Glossary of Terms for Use with the London CHLF3 Compiler, Technical Note Math. 92, November 1962.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Aircraft Establishment was the only government establishment, apart from the National Physical Laboratory, to develop an important computing centre during the late 1940s. Hollerith machines were installed in 1944 as the basis for a Computing Laboratory, which was under the direction of R.A. Fairthorne. A Mathematical Services Department was soon set up, and by taking on outside work it became a well-known and influential computing centre in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.


Description compiled with reference to M. Croarken, Early Scientific Computing in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).