While Alan Turning gets justifiable fame for his WWII computer work, he needed help, and now a Blue Plaque has been installed to celebrate the electrical engineer who made it all possible, Tommy Flowers.
Tommy Flowers worked at the Post Office’s research laboratories in Dollis Hill in northwest London, where he demonstrated how Alan Turning’s computations could be mechanised by a programmable computer. In 1941, he spent a brief period at Bletchley Park in order to assist the code-breaking teams there, including Alan Turing. It was after this secondment that Flowers and his team set out to build an all-electronic machine. After just eleven months, and using mostly spare bits of telephone circuitry, ‘Colossus’ was successfully demonstrated at Dollis Hill in London in December 1943. A working replica of Colossus ( built by Post Office Engineers) can be seen at The National Museum of Computing on the Bletchley Park site.
The Blue Plaque is on the side of the Dollis Hill building where he worked during WWII, now called Chartwell Court. It has been installed on the side of the building where it can be seen from a public road that runs around the back of the building – the very appropriately named Flowers Close.