On a sunny 10th April in England the Heal Students had a trip around Manchester Science and Industry Museum. The museum is spread across 5 buildings.
In building one the first exhibit they saw was ‘Baby’ the worlds first computer.
This was alongside the BBC micro compute of the early 1980. This exhibit was particularly significant to me as I spent a lot of time programming the BBC computer.
Suspended from the roof was an Avro plane. This was the first plane to have an enclosed cabin. Previous to this all pilots were exposed to the elements outside.
Still in the same building there was a textile exhibition. This was of interest since the students had just studied the topic ‘Fibre to Fabric’. Manchester expanded as a result of the cotton industry and there was a display of early industrial machines to convert cotton into fibre.
We left the main building heading to the ‘Power Hall’.
Outside the building was a working replica of the steam train ‘Planet’. Planet was built in 1830 by Robert Stevenson, just 8 months after the very first steam trian trials.
Next we went into the ‘Power Hall’. Here were some of the engines which had powered the Manchester factories before the time of ‘Mains Electricity’. They started with water power, then steam and then diesel.
At the far end of the power hall is a collection of steam locamotives.
Walking outside the building and along side the rail tracks leads you to the site of the worlds first ever passenger station. Note the platform is at the same level as the track and not raised as is a modern train platform. The building of the station started in June 1830.
Next we visited the exhibition of early planes. This was housed in an old factory which was used in the first world war to make ammunution. here we saw the first English plane to fly; the English Electric PIA, the first English jet to fly faster than sound on 11 August 1954; and the Shakleton ealy warning plane which was built in 1949, fitted with radar and could fly for 24 hours.
In this building, the ammunitions hall, museum staff were giving a talk to children on explosions. they showed how hydrogen bubbles could explode.
Next we went to a building that showed early use of electricity. We saw a 1930s kitchen and living room and a 1950s kitchen and living room.
We then saw a typical generator of that time which was used to produce the electricity for a small town.
There was a CTL modular one computer of the 1970s. I liked this as I spent 14 years of my life at Liverpool University programming one of these!. They have the computer power of less than a mobile phone but cost then more than £100,000.
The last building we went in had a display of modern technology. We saw a 3D printer. This makes objects. It is the coming thing.
On the way back the driver, who I had talked to earlier, invited us to ride on the engine of Planet. We all went for a ride!