Alan Turing and St. Leonards-on-Sea.

LeonLeon Posts: 7,618
Alan Turing, mathematician, cryptanalyst and computing pioneer, was born nearly 100 years ago, on June 23, 1912. Although he has always been one of my heroes, I only recently found out that he was brought up here in St. Leonards-on-Sea, a few minutes away from where I live.

His father was in the Indian Civil Service, and his parents returned to the UK for his birth, which took place in Maida Vale, London. When he was about one year old, his parents returned to India, leaving Alan and his older brother with a retired army couple, a Col. Ward, and his wife, who lived in St. Leonards in a large house, Baston Lodge, in Upper Maze Hill, with their own children and a nanny. The house is still there, and has a blue plaque commemorating his stay there. When he was six, he attended St. Michael's day school at 20 Charles Road, until he was 10, when he went to Hazlehurst preparatory school. The building is still there, converted into flats. He and his brother weren't very happy with the Wards, and they stayed with a different family when he was at Hazlehurst. When he was 13 he joined his older brother at Sherborne School in Dorset, where he stayed until he went up to Cambridge. Their parents retired to France at about the time he went to Sherborne, and the brothers stayed with them during vacations. Turing doesn't appear to have had any connection to St. Leonards after he left the Wards.

I had an indirect connection to Turing when I was a student apprentice with English Electric at Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent., they still had an operational DEUCE computer when I started work there in 1962. The DEUCE had been built at Kidsgrove (they made about 30 of them) and was based on the Pilot ACE computer, an earlier version of which Turing designed when he worked for the National Physical Laboratory. The Kidsgrove DEUCE was decommissioned around 1963, and donated to a technical college.

I took some photos of Baston Lodge and his former school:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/79459751@N00/sets/72157629830753169/
Leon Heller
G1HSM

Comments

  • 11 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,046
    edited April 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down
    It's neat that you have that connection, Leon. Thanks for sharing it!

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • LeonLeon Posts: 7,618
    edited April 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down
    There is an e-petition to have a picture of him put on one of our banknotes. There is another to get his conviction set aside, but I can't see that happening, although Gordon Brown, our former PM, apologised for it.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM
  • Mark_TMark_T Posts: 1,580
    edited April 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down
    As this is Alan Turing Year there are many events around the world to celebrate, a lot of which are listed here http://www.mathcomp.leeds.ac.uk/turing2012/give-page.php?13
  • LeonLeon Posts: 7,618
    edited April 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Thanks for that. I didn't know that there was such a lot going on.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM
  • Invent-O-DocInvent-O-Doc Posts: 767
    edited April 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Cool story Leon. Turing was a special genius. It was really a shame how he was treated in the end. The death by cyanide painted apple is always mentioned in the cyanide lecture I still regularly give at the us army medical research institute for chemical defense. It is up the with Cleopatra's asp.

    Thomas Talbot, MD - New Market, Maryland, USA
  • GadgetmanGadgetman Posts: 2,436
    edited April 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Leon wrote: »
    There is another to get his conviction set aside, but I can't see that happening, although Gordon Brown, our former PM, apologised for it.

    The problem with having the conviction set aside is that he was conviced of something that WAS illegal back then, and as far as I know, he really was guilty.
    (Not mentioning what he was convicted of. This is a family friendly forum and all that malarkey)
    Setting it aside would set a rather unfortunate precedent.
  • LeonLeon Posts: 7,618
    edited April 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down
    That's my view, also.
    Leon Heller
    G1HSM
  • localrogerlocalroger Posts: 2,978
    edited December 2013 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I suspect someone realized that, as things are shaking out, when the history of the 20th century is recounted by those who care at all 500 years from now, a lot more people will recognize the name Alan Turing than will be able to remember any of the British royalty or any of its prime ministers other than maybe Churchill.
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 8,799
    edited December 2013 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Cool connection Leon.

    I think the very best thing for Turing is to simply recognize the great contributions he made and get past everything else. Having him on a bill would rock. Hope it happens. I'll buy one. :) We are all fortunate to have the contributions he was able to make.
    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
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