Children of the Stones

The Cast

Designed &
Written by
James McGowan

Created on
11 Dec 1995

Page Vanished
12 Dec 1999

Page Rescued
2 Sep 2008

Last Update
2 Sep 2008

Read how this page was lost and rediscovered!

of this webpage

"In 1976, HTV produced a groundbreaking children's television drama which followed the adventures of a scientist, Adam Brake, and his young son Matthew...."

This was how I started off the original page for Children of the Stones back in the dark ages of the World Wide Web in 1995.

The Early Days
I'd been dabbling on the web since I'd tried the beta version of Mosaic in 1993. Back in those days colours, were limited, all screens were grey, and the only variety you could put into your page was the much-maligned <BLINK> tag. But when the clever people at NCSA released Netscape, all that changed, and so did my interest in the fledgeling WWW.

Looking back, I was lucky to have been there at the start of the great revolution that the web turned out to be. I was working at an industrial research labs at the time, and we had access to much of the latest gizmos. I wasn't working in the internet industry at the time, since there really wasn't one in 1993. I was costing up advanced telecomms networks, and only used computers to add up and order stationery from stores.

But during 1995, I started getting active on the web. People were creating the first pages devoted to non-academic subjects. Colours and images were adding to the visual experience of surfing the web, and I began to create some web pages of my own. Along with the Children of the Stones page, I created the Billy Connolly Homepage, which was the definitive source for fans and information for many many years. I created many little side projects, homepages for myself to self publish poetry and writing, and pages for various internet groups I'd become involved in. These early days were exciting, since not many people knew how to do what I was doing. These days, everybody thinks they can write webpages.

The First Page
I'd been writing web pages at work, but they were not viewable from outside. So I paid some money to a company called WebZone, who were one of the first webserver companies to spring up, and mounted the Children of the Stones pages on that from home via my phone line on a 2400 baud modem. Webzone is so old, that it doesn't even exist on the WayBackMachine, when the company closed in 1996, the domain lapsed and was picked up by an ISP in Tulsa who still holds it to this day.

Change of Location
I had been using a dial-up service based in London for my internet. This was in an age of expensive out-of-area telephone calls, I was on about 12p a minute when I was online (at the incredibly low speed on 2.4k!) so I switched to Demon, who were offering a local POP instead of dialling to London, so I could reduce my calls to 1p a minute offpeak. They also provided me with my first dedicated domain name - and I had a lot of fun with this webspace over the next few years.

The Glory Years
I received a lot of information and emails about the Children of the Stones site over the next few years. Apart from the many fans who asked where they could buy a copy (the VHS was out of print by then, and the DVD release a far distant twinkle) I received emails from people who worked on the programme, including one of the lighting directors and cameramen.

By far the most exciting email was from Peter Demin himself, who played the young Matthew Brake in the programme, at first a bit hesitant, but then willing to elaborate on his acting work after Children of the Stones. I have saved both his emails, and added them to the modern iteration of this site under the Peter Demin emails section. If you're out there Peter, please get back in touch again!

Another Move
I was still working for BT at their research labs at the time, and with the rise of the public internet, they had introduced their own ISP, called BT-Internet. As a goodwill gesture, and to generate interest, they gave all their employees a freephone 0800 number to dial-in with, thus giving us poor Britishers our first taste of the totally free internet. In the light of this, I could no longer justify the ongoing cost of my Demon subscription. In 1999, I moved all of the sites to the BTinternet webspace, which had an annoying sub-folder URL instead of the clean domain of Demon.

Unfortunately, since it had been at Demon for the previous 4 years, a lot of links out there on internet sites dealing with Science Fiction, Childrens Shows, 70s Culture, etc were still pointing at the the old demon site. The site effectively ceased to work from December 1999, even though the pages were reproduced in full on my new BT Internet website. Nobody knew where they had gone, there were too many places to tell everybody who linked to me Id moved, and I don't think I even resubmitted to search engines.

The Final Blow
In March 2000, BT offered me voluntary redundancy and a nice lump sum, and I took it gratefully. Unfortunately this meant I would lose my free BT Internet account. I was otherwise distracted at the time, finding new work, etc. so I let the pages lapse. One day they were all there, the next, they had all gone. I'd lost all the html and images and the sites were no more. Since the early days, I'd started coding for the web as part of my everyday job, and like many people who found themselves in the new industry of the Internet, I'd lost interest in maintaining my private web pages for no monetary reward, and let it all go.

The Revival
In August 2008, I watched Children of the Stones with my two kids, who were 10 and 7. They were finally old enough to get the story line, and they both loved it. I told them that a long time ago I used to run the web page for the programme, and they were amazed. So I found the WayBackMachine and tried to remember where I'd put it all those years ago. The pages were dated, the colour scheme and HTML were a bit suspect, but it was still a nice wee page, and nothing has ever replaced it. So I decided to ressurect it.

Getting it off the internet archive was reasonably straightforward. It had inserted some javascript to handle redirecting the page links, and some of my JavaScript (written for Netscape version 2!) no longer ran on modern browsers. But with a bit of tidying up, I got it off in one piece. I decided not to modernise it at all, leaving it as it was all those years ago, with the primitive layout and colour scheme, and just add a new section to replace the LINKS section on the old site. (none of the old links worked now anyway!)

I am going to add new content, but it'll all be under the New Stuff section. Hope you get a kick out of it.