Background Image
Skip to content
Open: Weekdays 10am - 5pm Weekends 10am - 4pm

About Us

Coventry University Archive Collections include the Lanchester Archive, the single largest collections of the life work of Frederick Lanchester in the world.

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

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 automotie 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...

Frederick Lanchester

Meet The Team

Anthony Hughes

Head, Lanchester Archive

Anthony has over 30 years experience which includes; arts and cultural heritage, public sector regeneration, commercial business /sustainability initiatives, education skills and employability projects. His wide range of interests cover nearly all the creative and cultural sectors from live music/ venue development and economic investment strategy for Music and Radio industries as well as cross sector collaborative programmes such as gaming/ innovation with national heritage collections, museums and galleries.

He has sat on cultural strategy boards, national portfolio funding body assessment teams and in management roles for Lottery Investment Fund, Channel4 Ideas Fund, British Film Institute, ERDF, ESF, FP7 EU Funding as well as business mentor for a range of SME support programmes.

He has held teaching positions in Further Education as head of Department in Art and Design, as Head of National Archive Collections developing a range of programmes and exhibitions, cross sector collaborations such as the National Fairground & Circus Archive, University Lecturer to a range of creative industry and business schools, chaired international student seminars and represented the UK partner at director level to the European Commission on cultural heritage and digital innovation research projects leading to Green Paper recommendations for further investment in cross sector collaboration between creative, innovation/ gaming and heritage sectors for audience engagement.

More recently he has led UK consortiums in H2020 funding initiatives investigating minority representation in cultural heritage institutions, held an interim management role for VR focused research projects and has also carried out consultancy roles for social cohesion and community initiatives working with local authorities a range of charitable organisations and ministerial legislation funding with migrant settler communities.

Alongside his part time role at Coventry he is a founder director of Stourbridge Community Development Trust, leading on a strategic development for a range of programmes aimed at supporting the local circular economy through investment in creative enterprise projects such as the Made In Stourbridge Shop, Affordable Social Housing Schemes through the formation of a Community Land Trust whilst also holding directorships in charitable /third sector companies developing skills and employability training programmes.

Paul Nolan

Paul Nolan joined the Lanchester Interactive Archive team in November 2018. His background has been diverse; a creative arts practitioner in schools, project manager with the Royal Mencap Society, actor and director of the award winning Tic Toc theatre company, and one half of The Cheeky Chappies. He wrote and directed his WWI play ‘The Window’ which toured nationally, launched the Coventry Peace Festival and concluded at The Herbert to mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice. He has been involved with the City of Culture Trust 2021 by hosting the Peoples Tour of Coventry, and more recently a promotional film for the Take Two initiative. His passion and enthusiasm for Coventry, its history, and its people has brought him to the Lanchester Interactive Archive team to support the legacy of Dr. Fred and introduce him to the wider community locally, regionally and nationally.


Gary Collins

My archival career that has led to the job of University Archivist has involved work in the local government, business, private and higher education sectors; and the Lanchester archive is one of the most interesting collections I have encountered. My work has involved sorting and cataloguing material, digitization, online services, records surveys, and websites. Some highlights include the records of Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the drawings and correspondence of cartoonist Carl Giles, the engineering records of the GE engineering works at Rugby (and predecessor companies), the Brooke Bond tea records held by Unilever, and the family and estate papers of the Noel family/Dukes of Gainsborough (Exton, Rutland). I have also worked on the Donald Healey Motor Company archive at Warwickshire County Record Office so have dealt with two collections relating to cars – not bad for someone who can’t drive and has never owned a car. I also did some voluntary work for Culture Coventry on the Rootes material at the Coventry Archives & Research Centre, so am obviously a secret car enthusiast.

HLF Funded Project

Coventry University Library archive collections underwent a major development programme with generous support from the UK Heritage Lottery Fund in 2017.

Lanchester Interactive Archive project, led by the Disruptive Media Learning Lab DMLL) with support from internationally recognised Lanchester expert and collector and chair of the Lanchester Trust Chris Clark, brought together archive collections with their origins in Frederick Lanchester’s personal artefacts originally donated to the University in its previous incarnation Lanchester Polytechnic in 1961.

The project began in 2011 with Chris Clark bringing together what had grown into the largest dedicated collection of his life work in the world, a focus on digitisation, enhanced collections management, archival development and volunteer coordination.

DMLL further developed this led by Jaqueline Cawston and Kathryn Thompson-Goodwin who contracted development of a funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and expanded the designs for a public exhibition space to include the use of VR and AR.

The project was successfully launched in 2017 and developed an interactive space with an online platform and digitised archive access as a foundation for ongoing developments of the archive collections.