Built as part of London's Olympic and Paralympic celebrations, the Universal Tea Machine is a pavilion-sized 'adding computer' that celebrates the British appetite for trade, technological innovation and tea. It reflects London's long and deeply held love affair with tea. From the London Tea Auctions held at East India House, through the construction of some of the world's largest dockyard infrastructure for its import and export, tea has not only been a British cultural phenomenon but also an important catalyst for the finance and trading that today comprise much of modern London.
It also pays homage to the late English mathematician Alan Turing's 'universal Turing machine'. Turing's highly influential role in the development of computer science was also celebrated in the 'Alan Turning Year 2012' to mark the centenary of his birth.