BBC Micro – 42 Years Old (1981-2023)

This lovely machine is the BBC Micro, which was released 1st December 1981, 42 years ago today!

It had a 2MHz MOS CPU and had a mere 32KB of RAM, and 5 1/4″ floppy disk storage, its Graphics for the time were great, and you had a 640×256 8 colour display, sound was powered by a Texas Instruments SN76489, which provided 4 channels in mono mode, and it had a decent well made tough keyboard and body, and they really are “Built to last”

The monitor was a CUB model, and those things were built to last, weighing what seemed like half a ton, they were really made to last, and you could not easily nudge them off the computer trolley, which had 4 plug sockets attached to it, and huge wheels which allowed it to be pushed around to various classrooms and plugged in easily

You could also insert chips inside, which could include a word processor and even one Game came with a expensive ROM chip, called Doctor Who and the Mines Of Terror, which was too large to fit in the limited memory, which apparently cost a lot to manufacture, which ultimately bankrupted Micro Power due to the high cost of the ROM Chip

My memories of this are from School mainly, where I used it to produce a School Newspaper using Front Page Special Edition, and even inputted Sports Results

Mainly I loved it for gaming of course, even back in my School days, when I would load Repton 1 on it, and play for litterally hours when I had nothing else to do, even sneaking in to play it at times, and getting caught by the Teacher haha, Oh yes, well Repton was a huge magnet to me, I could not leave it alone, always trying to play it when I could

I also used a program called Logo, which was a Graphics Program, which involved controlling a Turtle with commands which we used to produce lines and patterns, and I made quite a few designs using it, thankfully now preserved in digital form, as originally they were Printed out, and sadly over the years, I cannot find the original printouts which is a real shame

BBC Micro Train Display

Another interesting fact, is for years, Train companies such as Northern Rail actually used the BBC Micro to show us all train times which they showed on the lovely BBC CUB Monitor which was sat in an enclosure at some Train Stations, The first use I ever saw was when I went to Keighley in Yorkshire, where they had one of the CUB Monitors above the platform

I used to travel around a lot on Saturdays with a dear Late Friend of mine, got a Daily ticket, and could get on trains all over Yorkshire, visiting places like Leeds, Bradford, Keighley, Huddersfield, Wakefield and even Holmfirth (where the Classic BBC Comedy Last of the Summer Wine was filmed)

The “Beeb” (as its affectionately known to its Fans) will always have a place in my heart, brings back some Great Memories, and I still want to find Front Page Special Edition, I would love to create a Newspaper again, just for the Nostalgia

Find out more about the BBC Micro on Wikipedia or Old Computers

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