Geek's Guide to Britain A cabled telegram first crossed the Atlantic in 1858, but it took almost a century for voice calls to follow, being carried by the TAT-1 Cable which landed at Oban in Scotland, where we went along to see it.
Geek's Guide to Britain The Battle of Britain: it was won by the RAF and pilots in Hurricanes and Spitfires assisted by a new-fangled invention called radar that gave the enemy's position away.
Geek's Guide to Britain Proving it's not just the Victorians who can make huge structures in steel, the Falkirk Wheel can lift six canal boats 25 metres in one go, moving them from one waterway to another.
Geek's Guide to Britain In the middle of a Scottish mountain is a man-made cavern 90 metres high and 36 metres long - tall enough to stuff an entire Cathedral in its belly - which is only accessible through a kilometre-long rock tunnel. This is the home of the Cruachan Power Station.
Geek's Guide to Britain Hanslope Park sits just outside the small, quiet North Buckinghamshire village of Hanslope. I grew up there, and the Park and its occupants would always be mentioned by conversing grown-ups in suddenly hushed tones. Who might be listening? Other villagers were quietly pointed out with the words: “You see him? He works at the Park, he does.”
Geek's Guide to Britain The Tower rises above the flat plain of the Nene valley near Northampton - for centuries home of Britain’s shoe industry, but these days better known as the home town of 11th Doctor Matt Smith, comics auteur Alan Moore and El Reg operations manager Matt Proud - like some kind of latter-day Barad Dûr or Orthanc.
Geek's Guide to Britain It’s the sounds that get you: wheels spinning, processors squeaking, the furious hammering of teleprinters, and some 1980s synth.
Geek's Guide to Britain For staff at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, there’s an air of Fight Club about the place. The first rule about GCHQ is you don’t talk about GCHQ.
Geek's Guide to Britain Kelvedon Hatch is a superb example of absurdist geek life. Not only is the site technically very impressive, it is also completely useless and frequently prompts the question “what on earth were they thinking?”... A tour reinforces this view as the experience now is as enjoyably peculiar as the history behind the place.
Geek's Guide to Britain The Post Office Tower in London, adorned with microwave dishes and resembling a gigantic Star Trek gadget, symbolised the UK's white heat for technology in the 1960s.
Geek's Guide to Britain During the Cold War, Neatishead in Norfolk was theoretically the worst place in the UK to live: the nearby RAF base would be target Number One if the Russians nuked us.
Geek's Guide to Britain The Victorian offices were bulldozed long ago for a stack of flats and mirrored offices, and there's not a single indication to the significance of this site - or what happened here.
Geek's Guide to Britain Adastral Park is BT’s global research and development centre, one of the world’s most pioneering centres of technology and telecommunications.
Geek's Guide to Britain There are two ways to approach Jodrell Bank. From the north you fly through the WAGish end of Cheshire, with towns like Wilmslow and Alderley Edge housing Manchester and Liverpool’s finest and their harems. I prefer coming from the south, under the Twemlow Viaduct, a 105ft high, 500 yard long symphony of red brick, completed in 1842.
Geek's Guide to Britain Which country is credited with designing more than half of the world’s most important inventions. Is it Germany, home of the VW? Japan, birthplace of the Walkman? The US, land of NASA and Google? No: Britain.