24th May, 2019

Campaign underway for Coventry engineer Frederick Lanchester to be on £50 note

A CAMPAIGN is underway for pioneering Coventry engineer Frederick Lanchester to be the face of the new £50 note.

Coventry University, formerly the Lanchester Polytechnic, is calling for the city’s ‘unsung hero’ to be honoured.

But he faces stiff competition from Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking.

The #GetFredOnThe50 campaign has been launched by the university’s Lanchester Interactive Archive (LIA) team.

It aims to get the city-based scientist selected by the Bank of England to be on the new banknote being designed next year.

Archivists at the LIA say he created the first all-British four-wheel motor car and held a patent for a flying machine years before the Wright brothers.

They say he built the first British motor boat and, in 1927, a hybrid electric motor vehicle.

He also patented technologies including disk brakes and four-wheel drive which are still in use today.

The archive team is now calling on others in the city to get behind the campaign.

LIA project director Jacqueline Cawston said: “Frederick Lanchester is a Coventry and a Midlands legacy.

“He was a true genius, and pioneered so many inventions years ahead of their time, many of which are still in use today.

“Coventry was where Fred and his brothers based their motor car company and we want that heritage to be celebrated, especially as we approach the City of Culture year.”

The Bank of England says the note will feature a historical character who has contributed to science in the UK, and anyone can put forward a nomination.

The archive team will submit the nomination before the deadline of December 14.

The Coventry-based Lanchester Motor Company was founded by Lanchester and his brothers Frank and George.

They built the first all-British four-wheel motor car in 1895.

In its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s the company produced luxury cars fit for royalty – Queen Elizabeth’s first car was a Lanchester and her father, King George VI, owned several.

The LIA says Lanchester patented more than 200 inventions.

Coventry University was previously named Lanchester Polytechnic in honour of Frederick’s legacy, and the university’s library remains in the name of the great scientist.

The Lanchester Interactive Archive, funded through the Heritage Lottery and based at Coventry University’s Lanchester Library, is the world’s biggest collection of material dedicated to its namesake.

For more information go to www.lanchesterinteractive.org and participate in the social media campaign using the hashtags #GetFredOnThe50 and #ThinkScience.

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