SEPTEMBER 1998 saw the launch of the “Manx Telecomputer Bus”.

The event took place at Sulby School and was reported in the local press...

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Magic bus: Set to take the Island's children into the next century, the bus will visit all 35 primary schools for two days each term (IP)

The openers: Ralph Cowin and Ron Thomas watch Thomas Lord and Katherine Barham cut the ribbon officially to launch the bus (IP)

He's a whiz: Peter Sates, five, of Andreas Road, Lezayre, tries out one of the educational programs (IP)

Techno kids: The children of Sulby Primary School get to grips with the state-of-the-art technology on the bus (IP)

And a trip on 14th September 1998 to Fairfield School was reported thus...

Techo teacher hits the road on a computer bus for youngsters

THE Department of Education's new computer bus has begun its journey around the primary schools of the Island, and the first stop was Fairfield Junior School in Douglas.

Deputy head teacher of the school Ian Longshaw said: 'It was excellent, really, really good.

'It's got excellent educational resources, and the children really enjoyed it. The whole school went through, all doing different things.'

Supervisor of the . bus Alex Townsend said: 'It's extremely hard work, but the teachers are all very helpful with what's going on.

'We've been doing mostly data logging and graphics work so far, but we'll be doing word-processing as well.'

The bus was a joint initiative between the Department of Education and Manx Telecom, which sponsored the £50,000 project.

The bus was donated by IoM Transport, and was converted from its normal passenger status to a state-of-the-art, travelling computer centre.

It will visit each primary school in the Island for two days every term.

Destination the Future: The computer bus man with some of the children from fairfield school in front of the bus (998221/2)

Techno teacher: Alex Townsend in the bus with a class from Fairfield (998221/5)


  1. 1.The bus was not ‘donated’ by Isle of Man Transport as stated. The Department of Education was charged £5,000 plus the cost of repainting.

  2. 2. It is unlikely that the bus was the ‘first’ of its kind. But it has certainly proved to be the longest lived. The original plan was for three years. Critics at the time gave it between six and twelve weeks. Over 20 years later - and three trips to the UK - it is still going.

  3. 3.It is sometimes overlooked that in addition to Manx Telecom, TOURS (Isle of Man) were crucial to the project going ahead, providing covered accommodation and technical support for the bus until 2009 (see photo below).

  4. 4.Back in 1998, few had any idea what the internet was. Much of the early work was explaining “www dot - no spaces”.

  5. 5.It was never the intention for the bus to “visit each primary school in the Island for two days every term” as stated in the articles.

  6. 6.The repeated references to “techno” this and that reflected the term ‘Techno Trousers’ used in the film The Wrong Trousers, released just a few years before...

  7. 7.The picture captions in the second article were transposed in the original.

Left to Right: TOURS (Isle of Man) Bernie May, Mike Kelly, David Castle, Roy Lightfoot holding an early design for the computer bus back in 1998.