History

As a kid in the 1950’s I was very interested in technology and the way things worked. There didn’t seem to be much opportunity to find out stuff like that at school. After seeing a teacher tie a speaker cable to another with a knot like it was a piece of rope and wonder why no sound came through I decided I wasn’t going to get much help there.

My dad was good with wood but couldn’t seem to fix our lawnmower so I didn’t think it was worthwhile asking him what went on inside the radio.

I concluded I’d have to find things out for myself.

I was interested in doing experiments and practical learning but had little budget; luckily consumerism was just starting to take off and I discovered plenty of things to take apart and experiment with in rubbish. Some of what I did was quite dangerous - valve radios often had voltages inside higher than the Mains in the wall socket.

The great thing about rubbish was it didn’t matter what you did with it. I found Meccano limiting as you couldn’t bend or cut the pieces and I didn’t like being told off for accidentally damaging the multimeter I’d been given. Accidentally or deliberately destruction testing something out of the rubbish bin wasn’t a problem, you just put it back in the bin and start on something else!

The deep practical understanding I gained by teaching myself gave me a great advantage over people who had learned stuff from books and lectures.

I had four careers in technology including running a section of a microcircuit factory and finishing up as a hospital technician supporting Theatres and Intensive Care.

Having finished that part of my life I’m interested in putting something back by giving children the opportunity to learn in an open but slightly safer environment than the one I started in.

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