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Computer pioneer honoured by first blue plaque on a Network Homes building

15 September 2023

Group shot of guestsWe were proud to see the unveiling of an English Heritage blue plaque in Dollis Hill, honouring computer pioneer Tommy Flowers. The plaque was unveiled at a special ceremony on Wednesday 6 September at what is now known as Chartwell Court but was once the Post Office Research Station. It's our first blue plaque, and when we merge with Sovereign to form SNG (Sovereign Network Group) on 1 October, it will be SNG's first/ only blue plaque too.

During the second world war, engineer Tommy Flowers designed and built Colossus, the world's first programmable electronic computer created to decipher encrypted German messages. This was first built at the Dollis Hill site before being moved to Bletchley Park, where a further nine such computers were built before the end of the war.

Blue plaque on Chartwell Court

The blue plaque and unveiling ceremony were organised in partnership between the residents of Chartwell Court and English Heritage with guests from Brent Council, National Savings and Investments (where Tommy worked after the war) and Network Homes. There were also a number of speakers including Dame Stephanie Shirley an IT pioneer and philanthropist who worked with Tommy Flowers at Post Office Research Station, BBC journalist Paddy O’Connell, whose mother had worked in Bletchley Park during the war and Charles Coultas from the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Network Homes bought the Post Office Research station site in the late 1990s, converting the building into flats and developing the area around into homes. Tommy Flowers and the work there has also been commemorated on the wider site with Flowers Close, Code Court and Cipher Court.

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It was a real honour to attend the unveiling the first blue plaque on a Network Homes owned building marking a really remarkable individual. I really enjoyed listening to some of the fascinating speakers who described the amazing and vital work that Tommy Flowers and his colleagues did during World War Two. A big thank you to the residents of Chartwell Court and English Heritage for hosting a lovely event.

Jamie Ratcliff, Network Home Executive Director for Partnerships and Sustainability
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