• Browse Sector
  • Browse Date


July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

December 2021

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

Science and Industry Museum acquires Alan Turing pardon campaign objects for The Science Museum Group collection

Categories: Broadcast and Media

Related sector

Creative and Media, Digital and Technology

The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester has added objects to the Science Museum Group Collection from the 2012 campaign to posthumously pardon mathematician, Alan Turing, in order to save them for the nation. 

Objects include placards carried by campaigners at Manchester’s Gay Pride Parade, a framed Private Members’ bill, and badges and beer mats given out to raise awareness of the cause. 

Intrinsically linked to Manchester – a city where some of his most important work took place and where he was Deputy Director of Manchester University’s Computing Machine Laboratory, Turing was a pioneer of modern computing and his work with the British Intelligence Service at Bletchley Park during World War II led to the breaking of the German Enigma machine. Despite his astonishing contributions, he was convicted for gross indecency in 1952, at a time when homosexuality was illegal in the UK. 

In 2012, a campaign spearheaded by then Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester Withington, John Leech, and backed by numerous influential scientists and politicians as well as the Science Museum Group, fought for the overturning of Turing's gross indecency conviction. This led to a royal pardon in 2013 and the government acknowledging the discriminatory and unjust treatment Alan Turing received under the laws of the time.  

After further petitioning, four years later, the government introduced ‘Turing’s Law’, which pardoned thousands of other men convicted under historical anti-gay laws in Britain.  

MP John Leech said:

“ I’m delighted that the Science and Industry Museum is celebrating Alan Turing and his heroic work whilst faithfully underscoring his unjust treatment.

“ When our campaign to pardon Turing, and the 75,000 other men and women convicted of homosexuality, began over a decade ago, I could never have imagined that I would see our campaign materials in a museum. It really does feel like the final piece in the puzzle of what has been an exhausting and emotional ten years. It is a fitting tribute to a man whose work undoubtedly changed the course of history.

“ I hope that by adding our items to the Science Museum Group Collection, it will serve as a stark and frankly painful reminder of what we lost in Turing, and what we risk when we allow that kind of hateful ideology to win.

“ I’m grateful to the museum for choosing to recognise Turing, our campaign and I’m overwhelmed that this is finally coming to a positive end. I’d also like to thank everyone across Parliament, Manchester, all my colleagues and friends who joined our fight — I know that this too will be a deeply profound and emotional day for you.

The Alan Turing pardon campaign items have been added to the Science Museum Group Collection, which provides a permanent record of the impact of science, technology, engineering, and medicine on our lives. The material joins objects relating to some of Turing’s most significant achievements in mathematics and computing, including the 'Pilot ACE' – the world’s first general purpose computer, archive material and components from the Ferranti Mark 1.  

Katherine Belshaw, Senior Curator at the Science and Industry Museum added: “We are very glad to add these items to our collection. Alan Turing was one of the 20th century’s most influential thinkers. As well as celebrating his achievements in mathematics and computing, it is equally important that we tell the story of the discrimination he faced in his lifetime, and the campaign that led to the overturning of his wrongful conviction. 

“Here at the Science and Industry Museum we are proud of the city’s connection to Turing and in 2019, we were honoured to host the unveiling of the new £50 note on which he features. This new collection will enable us to tell a more complete story about Turing’s life and the discrimination he faced and show how the legacy of his life—and suffering—stretches beyond his achievements in mathematics and computing.  

Material from the Alan Turing collection will go on display in a future gallery at the Science and Industry Museum and is available now to explore via the Science Museum Group's online collection

Follow MIDAS