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Mr Pye’s Granta Works: From garden shed to assembly lines

The Cambridge Phenomenon began in 1960, but Cambridge was already home to Pye, a company which had put the town on the map as a centre for technology and innovation. But where did Pye begin?

  • 11th December 2023 - 11th December 2023
  • 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

In 1896 William George Pye started making scientific instruments in his garden shed. By the 1930s the business had become the largest in Cambridge.  Based on new research by Dr Mike Kemp, the talk charts the development of the company over this period, through its factories, management, workers and manufacturing methods – from small batches of instruments to the mass production of radios for homes across the country.


Dr Mike Kemp is a scientist and engineer who has lived and worked in Cambridge for most of his life. Interested in radio from an early age, he began collecting early radios in the 1970s while a research student at the Cavendish Laboratory.  Some of his collection is currently on display at Cambridge Museum of Technology as part of the Radio Enters the Home exhibition.  This exhibition celebrates the centenary of the BBC’s first radio broadcast.  The exhibition ends on Sunday 17th December so this will be a last chance to see the display.


The talk will take place in the Pye Building at Cambridge Museum of Technology.  Entrance on the night is via the Museum’s Cheddars Lane gate.


There will be free light refreshments courtesy of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMECHE)


Tickets for the talk are available on the door for £5 a head, £3 for students. Members and Volunteers of Cambridge Museum of Technology can attend for free.


Cambridge Industrial Archaeology group organises a programme of talks on industrial heritage at Cambridge Museum of Technology.  Talks usually take place at 7.30pm on the second Monday of each month.  For further information about Cambridge Industrial Archaeology Group contact Robin Chandler    robin.chandler@btinternet.com


Cambridge Museum of Technology is the home of Cambridge’s industrial heritage. For further information on the Museum contact Nick Plaister nick.plaister@museumoftechnology.com



  • Car Parking
  • On site parking
  • WI-FI

Accessibility Facilities

  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Designated wheelchair public toilet
  • Wheel chair accessible

Did you know?

Cambridge is home to one of the most famous student theatre troupes in the world: the Footlights. Founded in the 1880s, some of the UK’s biggest stars were part of it, including John Cleese, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson.