In what follows, I look, in a very general way, at a particularly interesting half century, in the history of computation. The central purpose will be to throw light on how computing activity at the University of Manchester developed in the immediate post-war years and, in the context of this conference, to situate Alan Turing in the Manchester landscape. One of the main methodological premises on which I will depend is that the history of technology is, at heart, the history of people. No historically-sophisticated understanding of the development of the computer is possible in the absence of an appreciation of the background, motivation and aspirations of the principal actors. The life and work of Alan Turing is the central focus of this conference but, in the Manchester context, it is also important that attention be paid to F.C. Williams, T. Kilburn and M.H.A. Newman.
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School of Computing, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, PO1 3HE, UK