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The Dragon Data Archive pays a vist to the National Archives to investigate the WDA files for Dragon Data records.

Information revealed in the documents showed how much of an investment was made by the WDA along with Prutec. There was also good insight into cost per unit on the Dragon 32 and projects they had planed but unfortunately never materialised.  Interesting, was the lack of reflection on the Dragon Data failure given how much the WDA had invested.  Also no direct mentions of Eurohard and Touchmaster (a spin off from Dragon) in the files that I could find (upto May '84).


Downloads

Please download the PDF documents for the full details of the WDA files, see below for selected highlights.

WDA board minutes and papers, mentions of Dragon Data (27MB PDF) Download PDF
Memorandum On Dragon Data Limited, Oct 1982 (22MB PDF) Download PDF
Torch Computers computers, mentions (32MB ZIP)
Not Dragon related but some interesting information on Torch Computers (Cambridge), looking to open a factory in Gwynedd.  Original, unprocessed photos..
Download PDF



Highlights
Feb 1982
This shows that the factory wasn't specifically for Dragon Data and had been empty for some time. Feb 1982 : Factory first mention
April 1982
First mention of Dragon Data as Mettoy makes an equiry to the WDA.
April 1982 Mettoy enquiry
Oct 1982
The Dragon Data project is seen as viable.  During the duration of Dragon Data's existance Mettoy were in financial difficulties.
October 1982 Financing
Oct 1982 : The Memorandum
The 'memorandum' was the outline financials and proposal to the WDA for financing.
memorandum heading

2000 units per month

Dragon 32 sale prices

Orders


Dragon 32 Customer Returns

Microsoft Royalties

Interesting section on future projects.  The Educational Unit was probably dropped after they lost the contract to supply UK schools to the Acorn BBC micro.  The Business Machine could be a reference the Beta / Dragon 128 project, which was in the final development stages in early 1984, like the other projects here never got release.  The "Future" project sounds like an interesting project but apart from Prestel being developed for the FarmFax machines and the Alpha prototype no other development info is known about this project.
Future Dragon Projects

Projected Sales downturn and Future

Dragon 32 unit costs

Sales price reductions

Projected Sales

Sale of Dragon Data without approval

Mettoy asset concerns

Conclusions

Yours Faithfully
Nov 1982
Dragon Data confirmed at the Kenfig factory with an expected 100 jobs over the next 3 years.
Dragon Data take the Kenfig factory

Mettoy in trouble

Investment Recommended

Concerns if Mettoy fail
Dec 1982

Factory improvements

Approved
Jan 1983
Mettoy operating at break-even.
Mettoy operating at break even
Jul 1983
Right issues
Aug 1983
Cash flow issues
Sept 1983
Dragon Data first flaged as a problem client.
Dragon Data becomes a problem client
Nov 1983
Dragon Data still a problem client
29 Aug 18
GEC get involved.
GEC get involved
Jan 1984
4.6M loss
Feb 1984
Still a problem client as GEC take over marketing.  It's quite probable that the "electronic writing pad" is what eventually become the Thorn EMI Liberator. The project was instigated in late 1983 by the UK Government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency, who originally contact Dragon Data to develop the computer. The Liberator development team included a number of ex Dragon employees.
GEC takeover
Mar 1984
Dragon moves up to a major problem client, changes in managment and new markets.
Major Problem Client
April 1984
Serious problems for Dragon as they still continue to look expanding into foreign markets.  No further information on the other proposed projects.
Serious problems

No GEC benifits and more losses

Extract from the WDA's portfolio summary:
Portfolio extract
May 1984
Receivers called in.
Receivers called in

WDA seem pleased about the lack of press coverage of the Dragon Data failure and their involvement.
Press coverage

 

Disclaimer:
I've done my best to present the data in chronological order but due to limited time on the day, there is the possibility some references maybe out of order.