Open/Close Menu a website, archive and interactive space celebrating one of Britain's most innovative engineers and inventors, Frederick Lanchester

In February this year (2016) work finally got underway to realise the plan to digitise and make available the archive collection of Frederick Lanchester, the English engineer, creator, inventor, designer and all round polymath.

Lanchester (after whom the Library is named) designed and built the first all British motor car in 1895, and went on to design and patent hundreds of inventions, many of which are still in use in vehicles today, including turbo charging, disc brakes, cantilever suspension and power steering. He also studied the principles of flight (pre the Wright brothers) and his invention/designs there include elliptical wing formations (later used on the Spitfire), contra-rotating propellers, and wing- capping (used on the new Airbus A350).

The archive will bring to life not just on his amazing engineering genius, but will illuminate the creative processes he went through in his inventions and creations, under-pinned as they were by careful and rigorous study into the scientific and mathematical principles behind his work.

The project will result in a physical space devoted to the archive, situated on the 2nd floor of the library and open to the public from early 2017. The space will include his original notebooks and sketchbooks, with hands on serious games (showing the impact of his inventions on modern transport) and will feature some ‘wow’ factor augmented reality installations.

For further information or to see how you could be involved please contact

Cathryn Thompson-Goodwin, Project Manager

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