Communications and Computing

Talk With Me Barbie doll, USA, 1997

Personal computers & information networks

Inventors barely out of school start a global computer revolution.

Ada Lovelace

Detail of portrait of Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852) is often referred to as the world's first computer programmer.


Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, conceived in 1834, is one of the startling intellectual feats of the nineteenth century. Trace the story of the man widely regarded as the great ancestral figure of computing.


The invention of the typewriter had little initial impact on those who only trusted their pens. Yet as acceptance grew, so the machine became a stimulus for changes in the workplace, and an icon of a time before the personal computer.

Railway posters

The period between the formation of the "big four" railway companies in 1923 and nationalisation in 1947 was a golden age of graphic design. This exhiblet celebrates the art of the Southern Railway's publicity department.

Home comforts

Domestic technologies transform kitchens, home entertainment and home improvements.

Mass consumption

New techniques drive down the price of everyday objects.

Dumbing down science

Take one part science, dilute with two parts hype, distil off the jargon and reduce to easily-digestible chunks. Is popular science part of the anti-intellectualism trend known as ‘dumbing down’?