The Hilger & Watts gauge-block interferometer was designed and manufactured commercially in the 1950s. The instrument uses isotope lamps as wavelength standards to perform absolute length calibration of gauge blocks (slip gauges) up to 100 mm in length, to an accuracy of approximately 1 ppm. It is entirely manually operated. In order to make the instrument more suitable for the modern laboratory, new hardware has been added, and a customized software package developed to automate the measurement process. This paper shows how interferograms may be imaged successfully at each of the eight available wavelengths, and the critical fringe fraction measurement automated, ensuring an accuracy better than ±0.05 fringe. To demonstrate the validity of the new system, representative data are presented alongside data obtained using the traditional method and from an external accredited laboratory.