When computers were huge but had a lot less byte

Pedestrians came to a standstill in East Street to watch this monstrosity of a computer being hauled through a window.

Saturday, 9th April 2016, 3:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:41 pm

Weighing 200 kilos (440lb), a computer that size would be able to store gigabytes, terabytes, petabytes, even exabytes of data today and access them at a ridiculously fast speed.

The year, though, was 1979 and trying to compare this 64k central processor unit with modern computers would be like racing a man on a penny-farthing against Jeremy Clarkson in a Bugatti Veyron – but with less shouting.

The computer was being delivered to the first-floor offices of Bartholomew’s Business Systems but was too large to go through the doors.


It would be interesting to know what became of the computer.

Presumably they needed another crane to get it out – or is it still in that office in East Street?

While the staff of Bartholomew’s were watching the wave of the future being installed in their office, over at Graylingwell Psychiatric Hospital, a very old problem had reared its head – low pay.

Our picture shows some of the 50 staff who staged a walk-out in 1979 to draw attention to their plight. As with all medical staff, though, they didn’t want their problems to affect the patients, so some of their number stayed on duty to cover emergency care.


The rest marched from the hospital to the ambulance station and back again, holding placards which declared: “Every nurse needs a living salary.”

It appears that, no matter how much time passes, some issues come round again and again and are never fully addressed.

While the nurses were worrying about their pay, farmer Geoffrey Spiby was worried about his crops – and the thousands of brent geese which were damaging them.

The geese had migrated from the Russian steppes to winter at Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve – and the sheer numbers of them in 1979 was phenomenal.

There were an estimated 7,800 at the harbour, and around 2,000 which decided poor old Mr Spiby’s fields at Chalder Farm were the place to be.

Describing the geese as “a blessed nuisance”, he told the Observer: “Every night their flat feet waddle all over my crops – I wish they’d go back to Russia!”

Our final picture was taken in 1915 and shows a grand old man who was known only as Deaf Harry.

Very little was known about Harry, except he was to be found most days sitting by St James’s Post, which once stood at the east end of St Pancras, Chichester.

Does anyone who any more about Deaf Harry?

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