Some Reminiscences of Ferranti : An internationally recognised hive of scientific and technological innovation

Over 25 years after joining Ferranti I look back at the 14 years I was there with great enthusiasm. Ferranti was a great place to work, with its high proportion of graduates and its commitment to staff training. Ferranti was built on a firm foundation of scientific and technological excellence and developed world-class operational systems and simulators for civil and defence applications.
Farnborough Air Show
Keith Dixon and Janet brace themselves before retiring into
the Ferranti International hospitality
booth at Farnborough to give a presentation to major air defence
Some experiences stand out more than others, like the time I went out to HMS Galatea at sea in order to undertake trials. The method of entry onto ship: out on quite a small pilot boat with the hardware engineers and then (unknown to me before departure) up a rope ladder on the side of the ship. On a blustery November day with the waves quite active - all thoughts of feminism went out of the window and I was pleased at any help to get onto that ship!
Working in such a high-tech environment gave so many opportunities for job satisfaction - whether it be the completion of complex operational software development (resident to this day on HM Ships) or the successful project management of £multi-million software developments. Seeing the sun rise in Manchester at the 11th hour during the culmination of a 6 month state-of-the-art multimedia study and development for the Royal Navy provided excitement in its own way and was made worthwhile when the customer acknowledged the enormous efforts that had been made.
One of the great things about being in Ferranti was their commitment to training in both technical and managerial disciplines. They not only saw the worth in committing to learning the relevant disciplines but also the value of teams taking time out of their busy work schedule to learn together and to bond as a team.
The Sales and Marketing team letting their hair down one evening whilst attending a week long Marketing Course at the University of Bournemouth.


As the most technology-focussed business development professional I defined the diversification strategy for the simulation and training business - the opportunities for diversification were enormous, including new product lines, new sectors and the adding of new emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality, DIS and Synthetic Environments.

Janet during her time as bids director. She is with the Ferranti Simulation and Training Sales and Marketing Team on a visit to the future site of Ferranti's Air Traffic Control Simulation System.

The simulator, known as SMART, was delivered in 1998 after Marconi's take over of Ferranti.

The story of Ferranti's demise due the fraud is well documented. There is little to be gained from revisiting that here. Suffice to say, the saddest task that the business development department had to do was to sell the company. The good news was that much interest was shown in the technological base of the company from around the world and was subsequently sold to a company that could make the appropriate investment to secure its future.

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