[SIGCIS-Members] Royal Mail issues Colossus stamp

Brian Randell brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk
Fri Feb 20 03:59:56 PST 2015


The Royal Mail’s own press release about their Colossus stamp is now at last available, at:


The summary section of its text is as follows:

> 	• Royal Mail has issued a stamp to commemorate Colossus - the world’s first electronic, digital and programmable computer.  This is part of the Inventive Britain Special Stamps issued on 19 February 2015
> 	• The stamps are on sale now from Royal Mail by phone on 03457 641 641 or from www.royalmail.com/inventivebritain and available from 8,000 Post Offices nationwide
> 	• The Colossus machine was designed and built by General Post Office (GPO) employee Tommy Flowers MBE and his team at the GPO Research Station in Dollis Hill, north-west London, during the Second World War to decipher messages being sent between German High Command
> 	• These messages used a more advanced cipher machine, called Lorenz, than those from the Enigma machine that Alan Turing OBE decoded using his Bombe machine
> 	• The first Colossus machine was completed in December 1943 and it became operational at Bletchley Park in February 1944.  A total of 10 machines were in use by the end of the war
> 	• Most of the original machines were dismantled after the war, and all involved with Colossus were sworn to secrecy under the Official Secrets Act. 
> 	• Full information was only declassified by the British Government in 2000, two years after Flowers’ death in October 1998
> 	• A fully functioning rebuild of Colossus was completed in 2007. It is now on display in The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park
> 	• The site of the old GPO Research Station was converted into flats, and has an access road named Flowers Close in honour of Tommy Flowers 


Brian Randell

School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne,
EMAIL = Brian.Randell at ncl.ac.uk   PHONE = +44 191 208 7923
FAX = +44 191 208 8232  URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/people/brian.randell

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