Tardis has been around for over two decades. It was originally founded back in 1987 in the Department of Computer Science (before it merged with the Department of Artificial Intelligence and The Centre for Cognitive Science to become the School of Informatics in 1998).
The first machine was a GEC Series 63 was donated to the University for general Unix use after it had outlived its life as a research machine. It was quite literally a big blue box, and this was how Tardis came about its name.
The machine was one of the few open access Unix machines at that time, and certainly one of the first student run ones. Around the mid 90's (1993?) the access policy was tightened up and new accounts were limited to students of the University.
- Electronic messaging systems and devolved system administration - Paper outlining the original Tardis administration structure