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Telling The Story Of PACE

Telling the story of PACE

PACE Micro Technology was a British company at the forefront of the digital revolution from the 1980s onwards. It was a leading manufacturer of the technology, including modems and set top boxes, that gave people access to a whole new range of digital services.

The Saltaire Collection are delighted that the three founding directors of PACE Micro Technology are working with Mike Farren to record their significance in this digital revolution. As early tenants in the renewed Salts Mill, their story is fascinating and their success brought much employment to the area. You can read Mike’s account of the work so far below:

I decided to get involved with SWHEA toward the end of 2019. When I made contact with Maggie Smith and told her that I had written in the past for a number of publications, including the Saltaire Review, she thought it would be good to get me to join the team of writers continuing to document the history of Saltaire.

One area of massive significance to the Saltaire story had thus far gone undocumented – the role played by PACE in the modern history of the Mill and the village. It seemed that surprisingly little was in the public domain and, though the main players from the early years of the company are still around, previous attempts to obtain their input seemed to have come to little. Thus, when Maggie asked me to work on the story, I anticipated rather dry research with, perhaps, slim pickings at the end of the process.

However, everything changed in January of this year, when Maggie managed to make contact with PACE founder David Hood through the good offices of Jamie Roberts! Soon, fellow founder Rob Fleming was also in communication and an initial meeting was arranged in February at the offices of Multiflight, one of David’s current business interests, at Leeds-Bradford Airport. Unfortunately, on that occasion we only got to meet Rob, due to a diary confusion but his input was an invaluable addition to our knowledge about PACE – especially the early years.

About three weeks later, we were able to follow up with a second meeting, this time at the premises of Cubed Resourcing – one of Rob’s interests – in Salts Mill, and both Rob and David were able to attend. We were able to extend the story, go into detail on the facts Rob had already given us and – with the dynamic between the two of them – get more of an idea of the personal side of the story.

We were all set to go on when, unfortunately, COVID-19 intervened, making further conversations problematic. However, we gained access to another rich source of information when David and Rob were able to put us in touch with the third founder, Barry Rubery. Barry currently lives abroad, so personal contact was not possible, but he sent several extracts from a memoir he is working on and from his very colourful reflections on his experiences with PACE, it has been possible to fill in yet more of the story.

While we have only scratched the surface, the story of PACE and its role in the renaissance of Saltaire and Salts Mill has advanced significantly in the last few months, with a real prospect of further insights to come.

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