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New exhibition provides a slice of Pye’s Cambridge history


By Adrian Curtis


An exhibition showcasing Pye’s scientific history and equipment has been opened in Cambridge.

The Pye History Trust unveiled the permanent Pye exhibition at the Cambridge Museum of Technology (CMT).

It was opened by Prof Sir Mike Gregory, former head of the manufacturing and management division of the engineering department at the University of Cambridge, and of the Institute for Manufacturing.

The exhibition is in the dedicated Pye Building at CMT and includes eight cabinets displaying a range of the firm’s products dating from the beginning of the 20th century.

The history of Pye is also graphically displayed from the time that William G Pye set up the company in his garden shed making scientific instruments, before resigning from his job as workshop supervisor at the Cavendish lab.

From this modest beginning Pye grew to become one of the leading global technology groups and became part of the Cambridge phenomenon.

Roger Crabtree, former personnel director of Pye Telecom, said: “The Pye museum is particularly significant to Cambridge because Pye was the biggest private sector company in the area, employing some 8,000 employees locally and more than 25,000 across the UK.”

At one time there were 24 different Pye companies in and around Cambridge designing and manufacturing a diverse range of electronic and scientific products and components.

The museum will open to the public on Friday (June 7) and it is hoped that the story of Pye and its display of scientific and electronic products will inspire the young scientists and engineers of the future.

The Pye group was led for 40 years by Charles Stanley (known as C.O. Stanley) whose inspiration and vision led to the growth and success of the company.

Pye was taken over by Philips Electronics in 1967, although the company continued under the Pye name until 1986.

The trustees of the Pye History Trust have been working in partnership with CMT, which is based at the Old Pumping Station in Cheddars Lane, to develop the technology scope of the museum.

Part of the CMT’s £1.52m funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, together with a significant investment from the Pye Foundation, has been used to construct the Pye building and design its layout.



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