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93. Sir Clive Sinclair and Christopher Curry re-visit the old Mill, former headquarters of Sinclair Radionics. Photo: Stuart Littlewood/Ricoh XR7/Ilford Delta 400
Now an apartment block, Potto Brown's steam mill, begun in 1854, was the dominant industrial landmark in St Ives. It also played an important part in the technology revolution of the 1970s that became known as 'the Cambridge Phenomenon'. In 1970 Clive Sinclair and Christopher Curry moved with Sinclair Radionics into the mill from Cambridge, and during the next few years produced a string of technology 'firsts'. The world's first pocket calculator, the 'Executive', appeared in 1971 and sold for 79. There followed the first pocket TV, 'Microvision', and the first low-cost digital wristwatch, the 'Black Watch', selling for 39. Christopher also tested the first electric scooter around the top floor of the Mill. In 1978 Christopher left to form Science of Cambridge and in 1980 started Acorn Computers. Clive returned to Cambridge in 1979 to set up Sinclair Research and launch the ZX-80 computer. The company continued at the mill under the name Thandar, specialising in test and measurement instruments, and moved to Huntingdon in the late 1980s. Today Sir Clive is busy launching Zeta 3, which converts bicycles to electric power, and is developing radical electric drives for mobility devices such as wheelchairs. He is also working on an ultra-lightweight pedal bike. Christopher has for many years been involved in the development of smartcards and electronic payment systems, and is focusing on the e-commerce revolution.
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All Photographs © St Ives Photographic Club 2001. Presentation, design & code © S.Horton