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Meet Baby

The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, nicknamed 'Baby', was the first computer to store and run a program from memory, just like most computers today. Watch volunteers run our replica Baby and see how far computing has come since 1948.

The original Baby computer was built at the University of Manchester with technology used in Second World War radar and communications equipment.

Baby was just a prototype, but it led to the development of the Ferranti Mark 1, the world’s first commercially available computer.

Our replica was built in 1998, using vintage electronic components and with guidance from the original designers, to mark the 50th anniversary of Baby—the world's first stored-program computer. The original no longer exists, so this is the closest you'll get to an important piece of computing history, which took place right here in Manchester.

Please note: We normally try to demonstrate Baby on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10.30–13.30, but we can't always demonstrate Baby at these times because of volunteer availability. For more information, speak to a member of staff or check the 'Today's events' sheet when you arrive.