Frederick Lanchester


Lanchester is perhaps best known for designing and building the first all-British motor car in 1895 but he also published papers and books detailing the first scientific principles of flight, and theorised about the principles of colour photography before it was reality, and devised military strategies that underpin business management courses still taught today.

The archive and his legacy

Frederick Lanchester

Thanks to many legacy gifts, the work of archive collectors and extreme enthusiasts over the years, and with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, we can put on show, and bring to life, his collected sketchbooks, notebooks and correspondence. The physical space, and online archive, will enable examination of his many patents and automotive blueprints, which together celebrate and validate Lanchester’s place at the heart of British engineering, and ensure he truly lives up to his description as “Britain’s own Leonardo da Vinci.”

Visit the space

Come and visit our Lanchester Interactive Space where you can….

  • Discover the genius of Frederick Lanchester, and see the scope of his interest and inventions
  • Take the wheel of our beautiful Lanchester car and find out how it works
  • See how Lanchester’s ideas shaped modern planes and automobiles
  • See his ideas come to life through our augmented reality
  • Play some ‘serious’ games and challenge yourself against Frederick Lanchester’s genius.
  • Delve deep into the online archive and see the unique blueprints of his inventions

The Team

We’re a small team but we cover a very diverse background of experience and interest

Gary Collins

Project Archivist

Paul Henderson

Outreach Worker

Paul Nolan

Outreach Worker

Chris Clark

Lanchester Historian

Work with us

There are many ways you can get involved with the collection through our volunteering programme.
These include :

  • working with our archivist to catalogue and research the collection as it grows
  • support the outreach team to promote and demonstrate the collection, both within the space and/or out in the community
  • help us widen the archive and its networks by linking up with local history groups, or special interest projects, or anything else that takes your fancy

To get involved through volunteering contact us via



National Lottery – Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, the National Lottery invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.

Coventry University

The Lanchester Interactive Archive gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support that the Coventry University offers the collection, through financial funding and by supporting staff time, and through the dedicated, managed space, which enables the collection to be preserved, conserved and made accessible for generations to come.

Chris Clark – Lanchester Historian

The Lanchester Interactive Archive project, and Coventry University, are indebted to the dedication of Chris Clark, Lanchester Historian, for his support to Coventry University over many years, and his perseverance to bring the archive of Frederick Lanchester to a wider, appreciative audience.

We would also like to thank the following charities for their support: H.B. Allen Charitable Trust, The 29th May 1961 Charity and the General Charities Coventry.

Finally, we’d like to acknowledge, and thank, the Lanchester family, who have supported and enhanced the collection from the beginning, and welcomed and endorsed the project and its aims.