Vintage Computer Fair

Yesterday I visited the firt British Vintage Computer Fair, held at Bletchley Park.

Having picked up a friend, Carl, at Oxford railway station on the way we got to Bletchley by about 10:45 and parked in the station car park (which is surprisingly 50p cheaper than the on-site parking on a Saturday). Having walked over the road Carl bought his ticket and I picked up my National Museum of Computing membership pack.

As this was the first time Carl had visited Bletchley Park the strategy for the day was to do a quick wander around the whole place initially and then later focus upon the things of interest.

So, other than the usual Bletchley Park exhibits, what was there at the V.C.F.?

Within the mansion there were a number of exhibits, including “Acorn World”, a retro-gaming room, an Amstrad/Sinclair room and talks. We didn’t book ourselves into any of the talks so I can’t comment upon those. However, the other exhibits were quite interesting, with a great deal of hands-on displays. And who would have thought that someone would have created a USB and Compact Flash card interface for a BBC-B?!

The one type of machine notable for its absence totally, the Atari ST. There were a few Atari 800XLs and one or two Atari games machines (including a Jaguar). Very strange.

Anyway, other than the exhibits within the mansion, on the lawn opposite was a large marque holding mostly Amiga stuff (including another futile re-launch of AmigaOS) but also the local BCS collection of machines. Also, just outside the National Museum of Computing, was the “flea market” and eclectic tent. Not only were there stalls trying to flog BBC micros for £40 each (yikes!) and the R.W.A.P. stall selling everything Sinclair but also at the other end of the tent some very eccentric people with equally eccentric projects.

So, if you want and ethernnet interface for your ZX Spectrum and Twitter client you could pick one up there. Or maybe you’re interested in a plug-board, reverse engineered ZX Spectrum ULA, with a fully operational Spectrum clone attached to it. (The person who did it has written a book.) Or, even a recreation of the original Sinclair computer, the MK14?

All in all, it was quite a fun day out… oh and the stuff in my loft is obviously becoming quite valuable!


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