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The Old Greys to Flash Mob Kensington

Brought to you by The Wireless Heritage Group

Under a remit of 'Network, Learn, Grow', The Cambridge Wireless Heritage SIG is to 'Flash Mob' the Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum on April 29th, bringing together the people who built the technology of the past with younger generations to pass on the accumulated knowledge.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

Science Museum visit is unusual for CW in that it’s at a weekend. This has been done so that the Cambridge Wireless members who are the people who’ve designed, built and rolled out many of the systems and devices which shape our lives can bring their children and grandchildren to show how it was done.

The Information Age Gallery charts the growth of the areas in which Cambridge Wireless excels from the birth of telegraphy to the first television, trans-atlantic cables, telephone switching to the space age with Telstar, satellite communications, the birth of the computer, the home computer, mobile communications, two way radios, and cellular mobile.

The visit will take the form of an informal walk around the gallery with experts talking for five to ten minutes at particular exhibits.

We’ll look at the Motorola cellular base station size of a small van and yet less powerful than one of today’s Femtocells like the Vodafone Suresignal which is the size of a large mains plug.

Next to this is an interactive table which allows visitors to try their hand at cellular radio planning. Heritage SIG champion and EE’s Principle Network Architect Prof. Andy Sutton was a consultant on this and it would be fun to watch him demonstrate, and for us to have a go. Perhaps we should try before and after Andy has explained the challenges.

Mark Squires, who was at Philips paging before a long and distinguished time at Nokia to talk on these. Will talk through the pagers and early Nokia phones on display.

There is a cabinet of different generations of analogue and GSM phones. Ben Wood – the expert from CCS Insights and who has a personal collection of over 1000 handsets, and Matt Chatterley – head of devices at EE, will explain the history and impact of these phones.

In the area on Satellite Communications, Steve Bucklin, who built some of the military communications systems. Will talk thought the technologies and difficulties of the systems he worked on, much of it for secret services. Steve will also delve into the birth of consumer communicatiosn with Strowger type, telephone systems.

There are a number of home computers and 1960s mainframes. Roland Perry “father of the Amstrad 464” will talk through both of thee. Before Amstrad, Roland worked for ICL teaching maintenance of the hardware.

Next to the ARM display is a CT2 phone, Andrew Budd, former CTO of Olivetti, wrote the specs for CT2 and DECT. He’s agreed to come along and talk about this.

The gathering starts at 11:00 in the Information Age Gallery, it’s not a formal Science Museum event and there is no charge but we would encourage you to contribute to the Science Museum which has a voluntary £5 donation.

The event will take a little over two hours after which, for those without children, it’s expected that many with repair to a local pub.

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWWH.


Expand all

The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Mustering and muttering


Rob Morland – Early days of cellular


Andy Sutton – Network planning


Mark Squires – No pagers please we’re British


Ben Wood/Matt Chatterley – the time when mobiles were interesting


Roland Perry – Birth of the micro


Steve Bucklin – Satellite and Strowger


Steve Bucklin – Satellite and Strowger


Stephen Temple CBE MSc CEng FIET – How GSM happened


Andrew Bud – CT2 digital cordless leads to telephones in the street


Phil Claridge – The CDC 6000 - one of the most fascinating supercomputers ever built



SIG Champions

Stirling Essex - Director, Espansivo

Stirling Essex has over 25 years of product development, product management, strategic marketing and business development experience in many areas of wireless technology, and has been intimately involved in the development of test systems for GSM, CDMA (IS-95), 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE. He founded Espansivo, a technology consultancy specialising in helping organisations with their technology, product and business decisions, in 2005. Stirling was previously a co-champion of the CW Future Wide Area Wireless Special Interest Group and has been a member of the CW Board since 2004.

Andy Sutton - Principal Network Architect, BT

Andy Sutton is a Principal Network Architect within BT Architecture and Strategy team. He is responsible for 5G end to end network architecture, RAN architecture evolution and mobile backhaul strategy and architecture. Andy holds an MSc in mobile communications from the University of Salford and has over 30 years of experience within the telecommunications industry. Andy’s research interests include; distributed and centralised RAN and core architectures and protocols, network dimensioning, QoS and mobile backhaul (optical transmission, microwave and millimetre wave radio systems, network architecture and protocols along with synchronisation and time distribution in telecommunications networks). He also works on low latency and ultra-reliable networks architecture and design. During his career Andy has worked for Mercury Communications Ltd, Orange, H3G, EE and BT. Andy holds the post of Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool and University of Salford. Andy is a chartered engineer and holds fellowships from the IET, BCS and ITP. Andy contributes to International telecommunications standardisation activities and several industry forums. Andy also has an interest in the history and heritage of telecommunications and is a CW Heritage SIG Champion.

Geoff Varrall - Director, RTT Online

Geoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry. He co-developed RTT's original series of design and facilitation workshops including 'RF Technology', 'Data Over Radio', 'Introduction to Mobile Radio', and 'Private Mobile Radio Systems and developed 'The Oxford programme', a five day strategic technology and market programme presented annually between 1991 and 2005. Geoff has been running in depth technology and market workshops for the industry for over 33 years, spanning five generations of mobile cellular technology. A co-author of the Mobile Radio Servicing Handbook (Heinemann Butterworth, UK), Data Over Radio, (Quantum Publishing, Mendocino, USA and 3G Handset and Network Design (John Wiley, New York). Geoff's fourth book, Making Telecoms Work – from technical innovation to commercial success (John Wiley) was published in early 2012 followed by 5G Spectrum and Standards published by Artech House in July 2016. His latest book 5G and Satellite Spectrum Standards and Scale is now available from Artech House and can be ordered from a past Director of Cambridge Wireless, Geoff is actively involved in a number of wireless heritage initiatives that aim to capture and record past technology and engineering experience and is a patron of the Science Museum In his spare time he plays Jazz trumpet semi-professionally and is a marathon and ultra-runner.

Nigel Wall - Director, Climate Associates Ltd

Nigel has been involved with connected vehicle research since 1992 when he led BT’s mobile data research team – initially using modems on first generation analogue TACS mobile phones! Since 2001 he has worked an independent complex-systems engineer, with a primary specialism in connected vehicles. For the last seven years he has acted as the Monitoring Officer for twelve of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle research projects supported by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. These projects included Gateway, Venturer, UK Autodrive, MOVE UK, INSIGHT, Flourish and UK Cite. During this period he has not offered CAV-related consultancy services to other companies to avoid any potential conflict of interest. As these Innovate UK projects have now completed, he is now returning to offer traditional consultancy services to organisations that need to pragmatic advice on developing market share in this exciting market.

Event Location

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Location info

Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2DD, UK

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