James Bryant ...  

THIS has nothing to do with my website, but I just want to put the record straight on the priority of who built the first computer.

The first electronic computer was not the American ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) in 1947 but Colossus. It (Colossus) was built by Tommy Flowers (see left pic) and others of the General Post Office (GPO) around 1943 and was inspired by Alan Turing. See photo below and right and also Tony Sale.

Oh, and it's no coincidence that the American Government was given the details of Colossus by the British as part-payment for all the food and armaments America had supplied throughout the war and then produced ENIAC! The final installment of the loan ($83m, £42m) was paid back on midnight on 31 December 2006.

Due to the very sensitive nature of the works at Bletchley Park in WW2 the information on Colossus was suppressed and indeed much of it is still being withheld. But the role of Bletchley Park and its legacy became known in the 1970s from America due to their freedom of information act. And it has been mooted that Bletchley's involvement through its code breaking and use of computers effectively reduced the end of WW2 by a couple of years.

And America didn't first invent public key encryption around 1980s as it's widely acknowledged and indeed copyrighted. It was pipped to the post by the British who proposed it, albeit secretly, in the 1960s; and again due to the secret squirrel nature of code breaking it was never made public.

While the Internet is a new idea, hacking, full scale code breaking and the need to crack secure information (encrypted) are not new concepts - Bletchley Park got there first, some sixty years earlier!

Finally, if I really want to rub salt into the wound, I could mention Charles Babbage who by 1834 had invented the principle of the analytical engine, the forerunner of the modern electronic computer!

Go to my homepage