Building society helps pay homage to the mother of modern computing with exhibition donation

A Leicestershire-based building society has contributed to an exhibition on a local heroine and mathematical pioneer, who is often credited among the first computer programmers.

esbs, also known as Earl Shilton Building Society, made a donation to ‘Enchanting with Numbers: Ada Lovelace, the computing Countess of Kirkby Mallory’, an exhibition organised by Hinckley & District Museum.

Taking place until Wednesday 30th October in the Atkins Building, Hinckley, the free-to-enter event will feature displays combining portraits, images, and interactive exhibits, as well as a series of talks, all focusing on the 19th century mathematician and writer.

Born in 1815 as the only legitimate child of Romantic poet Lord Byron and his wife Lady Byron, Ada Lovelace spent many of her formative years living at Kirkby Hall, a now-demolished 17th century estate in the village of Kirkby Mallory, near Earl Shilton.

As a teenager, her mathematical prowess garnered a great deal of attention in the intellectual community and provided the catalyst for her long-term working relationship with polymath Charles Babbage, who is widely regarded as a ‘father of the computer’.

Lovelace’s fascination for Babbage’s work led to the publication of her account on his Analytical Engine, a steam-powered device upon which the fundamentals of modern computing are based, and the influential role she played within the sphere of technological advancement can be seen throughout the world to this day.

Local schools have been invited to attend the exhibition, with STEM ambassadors due to deliver sessions and the museum team providing talks, while Hinckley Library will host a computer coding event for kids.  

Individual and group visits from all other sections of the community are also encouraged.

Greg Drozdz, Vice Chair of Hinckley & District Museum, said: “The ambition of the museum is to raise awareness of Ada Lovelace and inspire local children’s interest in maths and computing.

“The gravity of her contributions place her alongside the likes of Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, and we hope she will influence a generation of youngsters, particularly girls, to pursue a career in science.

“In order to make events such as this a reality, we are completely reliant on the support of third parties, and leading businesses in the area such as esbs therefore form an important part of the project.

“It’s great to see the Society getting involved and helping us to instil local pride in such a crucial figure in the field of computer sciences, not least because she grew up so close to their Head Office in Earl Shilton.”

Paul Tilley, Chief Executive of esbs, said: “We are delighted to have made this donation to Hinckley & District Museum’s exhibition on Ada Lovelace.

“It is in no way hyperbolic to suggest that the influence that she has had on the development of computing and coding has been huge, and that all of us today are in some way indebted to her.

“It fills me with pride that we are helping to celebrate the life and achievements of such an extraordinary woman, and I would urge local people to go along to the exhibition and find out more about her for themselves.”

For further information on the event, visit www.atkinsbuilding.co.uk/.

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