1. 9 South Parks Road
The first home for the Computing Laboratory was 9 South Parks Road, near the corner
of St Cross Road and South Parks Road. It had been intended the they would move into
19 Parks Road but that was still fully occupied and the University had to find them
somewhere else to go.
A twenty year lease was acquired in 1957 but the building had to be converted to
laboratory space before it could be occupied. They needed:
- A room large enough for the Ferranti Mercury Computer
- An extra strong floor to take its weight
- Adjacent rooms for the on-site, full time, Ferranti Maintenance Engineer
- Extra rooms for preparation of programs
- Offices for staff and research students
- A small lecture theatre
- A common room
- A library
The building alterations were finished in June 1958.
The garden was maintained and used by the Department of Botany. It joined with the
Department of Agriculture and the School of Forestry to become the Department of
Plant Sciences in 1980s.
1960 Space had started to become a problem. The verandah was filled in to allow for
Staff and computers moved to 19 Parks Road in 1963.
9 South Parks Road has since been demolished to make way for Experimental Psychology
Figure 1. Front of 9 South Parks Road
Figure 2. Front of 9 South Parks Road
Figure 3. 9 South Parks Road from the corner
Figure 4. Back of 9 South Parks Road
Figure 5. Zoology building
2. 19 Parks Road
When the Computing laboratory moved to 19 Parks Road, it was known as the old
Engineering Building. It still is an engineering building. The KDF9 computer was
installed here while the Ferranti Mercury was still running at South Parks Road.
Compared to 9 South Parks Road, it had a larger computer room and better facilities
for problem and data preparation. However, it didn’t seem spacious for long and, in
1967 Work began on defining the facilities and space needed in a new Computer
Figure 6. Old Engineering Building
Figure 7. Old Engineering Building
Figure 8. Old Engineering Building
Figure 9. Old Engineering Building
Figure 10. Old Engineering Building with Thom building behind
Figure 11. Old Engineering Building with the Engineering Technology Building and
Information Engineering Building (built 2005)
3. Banbury Road, 1970 to 1975
In 1970, houses 17 and 19 Banbury Road were occupied by the Computing Service which had sp[lit from the Computing Laboratory. A new computer building was completed in the “tongue” area between Banbury and Woodstock Roads behind 17 and 19. This is now the Thames Suite of lecture rooms. All together they provided space for the ICL 1906A computer, its ancillary equipment, all Computing Service staff and some thinking and library space for users. 15 Banbury Road was added in 1971.
By 1975, the Computing Service had taken over all the houses in the block and occupied numbers 7 to 19 as it does today. A second extension was started in the car park behind numbers 7 to 13 and became what is now called the machine room or computer room. Work continued for several years on converting the interiors. For example, adding connecting corridors.
Figure 12. Rear of Banbury Road houses before building work
Figure 13. Gardens behind Banbury Road houses, with two abandoned cars before building work
Figure 14. Starting to clear the gardens
Figure 15. The heavy equipment moves in
Figure 16. Gardens with some foundations in place
Figure 17. Steelwork is started
Figure 18. Close up of foundations
Figure 19. General view of the building site
Figure 20. The outside of the completed extension taken June 2007
Figure 21. Aerial view of OUCS, 7 to 19 Banbury Road showing extensions at the back
4. Banbury Road, 1975 onwards
All the building work since the computer room extension in 1975 has been internal. A second lecture room was set up in 1987 and in 1988 the user area was remodelled as a Help Area with desks for advisory staff and comfy seats for users. A 24 hour access data centre was created in 1989, as were the Humanities Computing Centre, new rooms for Microadvisory and the micromaintenance and network teams, and a users common room complete with coffee machine.
1995 and '96 saw changes in the lecture rooms again with a third room brought into use and the site at 59 George Street closed down. All staff, courses and the Learning and Resource Centre moved to the Banbury Road site. To try to accomodate the expanding staff levels, basements in houses 15 and 19 were converted to offices with large light wells. Attics in 7 and 9 were converted to offices.
Figure 22. 59 George Street, once the outpost of the Computer Teaching Centre and now a pizza restaurant
Not surprisingly, the basement offices were not popular and in 2002 the basements were converted to a staff tea room and conference rooms. The smokers tea room was closed and it and the old tea room were converted to offices. Reception was also revamped.
The demand for courses continued and a fourth training room was built in 2003 followed by extensive refurbishment of other lecture rooms and the creation of the Thames Suite of rooms.
Figure 23. Lightwell to basement rooms
5. The Changing Face of 7 to 19 Banbury Road
Figure 24. No connecting corridors and a hedge in the way. 13 Banbury Road
Figure 25. Work on the doorway at 13 Banbury Road
Figure 26. Front door at 13 Banbury Road, 2007
Figure 27. Front door at 13 Banbury Road in the snow, 2007
Figure 28. 11 to 19 Banbury Road
Figure 29. 7 and 9 Banbury Road
Figure 30. Work on 7 and 9 Banbury Road
Figure 31. 7 to 13 Banbury Road
Figure 32. 9 to 15 Banbury Road showing connecting corridors
Figure 33. 9 to 15 Banbury Road
Figure 34. 9 to 15 Banbury Road
Figure 35. 13 to 15 Banbury Road
Note the holly tree against the wall. This had to be cut down when the lightwells to the basement were dug in 2002 but a cutting was taken and the tree grown from this can be seen behind the monkey puzzle tree in Figure 35.
Figure 36. 13 to 15 Banbury Road, 2007
Figure 37. 15 to 19 Banbury Road, 2007
The monkey puzzle tree was a gift from a retiring member of staff. The holly tree behind it was grown from a cutting taken when the old holly tree, seen in Figure 33, was cut down to make the basement lightwells in 2002.
Figure 38. 15 to 19 Banbury Road, 2007
Figure 39. 17 to 19 Banbury Road, 2007
Figure 40. 7 to 15 Banbury Road
Figure 41. 7 to 15 Banbury Road
Figure 42. 7 and 9 Banbury Road
Figure 43. 7 to 19 Banbury Road
Figure 44. 11 to 19 Banbury Road, 2007
Figure 45. Line drawing of 7 to 19 Banbury Road, at one time used as a logo
6. Other Buildings Associated wtih Computing in Oxford
The Computing Laboratory occupies 8 to 11 Keble Road and the Wolfson Building, built in 1993.
Figure 46. ComLab from Parks Road
Figure 47. ComLab from Parks Road
Figure 48. ComLab from Keble Road
eScience started with a collaboration between ComLab and OUCS with staff in both buildings. The eScience building, housing the Oxford eResearch Centre and providing additional space for ComLab, was opened in 2007.
Figure 49. eResearch building from Parks Road
Figure 50. eResearch building from Parks Road
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