Something happened on Dollis Hill

Something happened on Dollis Hill” is the title of a track by The Infiltrator on the UR-045 compilation. The compilation is called Interstellar Fugitives, it is Techno music from the Detroit’s label Underground Resistance.

So what did happened on Dollis Hill, a park on the side of a hill near London? On top of the hill we can find an old building which was a telecommunication centerĀ  during world war two. Winston Churchill used to live around there at the white house in the park. And under the telecom building was a bunker (the Paddock) used as an alternate war room but also for special projects.

Nowadays the place was sold and dismembered to build housings (in France it would have been converted into a museum). One of the streets is called Flower’s close, giving a clue about what happened. It may haveĀ  taken his name from Tommy Flowers, an engineer who was at the edge of electronic technology.

So what happened on Dollis Hill?

He and Alan Turing built the Colossus there, in the bunker. Colossus was an electronic machine using transistors and photo transistors to find keys to decode an enigma network called Tuna (if I remember well, from the book The essential Turing).

Some people say it was the first computer, but event if built in part by Alan Turing, it was not a Turing machine, so it was not the first computer. However it was so ahead of it’s time, the thing to win the war.

Many things happened on Dollis Hill, but I assume that when it comes to electronic music, it is the electronic device Colossus that is refered to.

Note that I went there in 2006 and there is a water tank close to the old telecom building. The water tank has a huge ramp and steel door, large enough to let lorries come in. So maybe there is still a bunker on Dollis Hill.

(The English use to invent new ways of fighting wars, creating an asymmetry. And then, war is no more a duel and it can stop. The tank, another project useful to war is described by Harry Ricardo in his autobiography).