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Hucknall church in BBC film about Byron’s daughter

A BBC4 documentary about one of the pioneers of modern computing is broadcast on 17 September, having been partly shot in a Nottinghamshire church ...

Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing – partly shot in a church in Hucknall – tells the story of Lord Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace, and her union with the father of the first steam-powered computers, Charles Babbage, is being shown on 17 September on BBC 4.
 
St Mary Magdalene Church in Hucknall is featured in the film, in which Dr Hannah Fry (pictured right and below) investigates Ada’s remarkable life. 

Ada (1815-1852) was a countess of the realm, a scandalous socialite and an ‘enchantress of numbers’. The film is an enthralling tale of how a life infused with brilliance but blighted by illness and a gambling addiction helped give rise to the modern era of computing.
 
Ian Raynor, Church Warden at St Mary’s, says: “As well as having Lord Byron buried in our Church, we also have his daughter, Countess Ada Lovelace. We had a film crew in church for a whole day a few weeks ago and the programme is being aired next week, so we are looking forward to seeing it.”
 
UCL mathematician Hannah Fry shares Ada’s passion for science, logic and the power of numbers. In this film she traces Ada’s unlikely union with the father of computers Charles Babbage. Babbage designed the world’s first steam powered computers – most famously the analytical engine – but it was Ada who realised the full potential of these new machines. 

Hannah’s journey takes her from Ada’s gothic mansion in Surrey where she and Charles discussed their revolutionary ideas, to the Epsom race course where Ada lost her family fortune in an attempt to bank-roll the computing engines.
 
During her own life Ada was most famous for being the daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron (‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’). It was only with the advent of modern computing that Ada’s understanding of their flexibility and power was recognised as truly visionary. Hannah explores how Ada’s unique inheritance – poetic imagination and rational logic – made her the ideal prophet of the digital age.
 
This moving, intelligent and beautiful film helps uncover why Britain nearly had a Victorian computer revolution.

  • Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing will be shown at 9pm on BBC4 on Thursday 17 September.

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