National Archive for the History of Computing: Meteorological Office Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The material comprises an article on the history of computing at the Met Office and various technical papers and correspondence relating to the Ferranti Mercury computer.

Administrative / Biographical History

Weather forecasting demands considerable computational power, so not surprisingly the Meteorological Office has been a foremost user of the most powerful computers available. In 1951 the Meteorological Office began using Lyons' copy of the EDSAC at Cadby Hall. After switching to the Ferranti Mark I computer at Manchester University in 1958, the Met. Office purchased a Ferranti Mercury computer for its own use. It was named Meteor. In 1961, after the Met. Office moved from Dunstable to Bracknell, an English Electric KDF9 computer (named Comet) was installed. However, use was increasingly made of the faster ATLAS computer, first at Manchester and later at the Rutherford Laboratory. The need for a still more powerful computer was reflected in the installation of an IBM 360/195 in 1971.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Chris Little and Mavis K. Hinds, Met Office, Bracknell.

Note

Description compiled with reference to: M.K. Hinds, The Computer Story, Meteorological Magazine, vol. 110 (1981), p. 6981.

Related Material

The National Archives holds records of the Meteorological Office and predecessor and related bodies, 1818-1980 (ref.: GB 0066 BJ ).