Ada’s role in ‘steam com­puter’ re­vealed

Macclesfield Express - - BOSLEY DISASTER -

MAC­CLES­FIELD’S Par­adise Mill is to star in a BBC4 doc­u­men­tary.

Film­ing for the pro­gramme – called ‘Cal­cu­lat­ing Ada: Countess of Com­put­ing’ – took place at the mill in April and it’s jac­quard looms and jac­quard cards are to ap­pear on screens this month.

The doc­u­men­tary will tell the tale of the re­mark­able life of Countess Ada Lovelace, the daugh­ter of Lord By­ron, who is famed for her work on Charles Bab­bage’s early me­chan­i­cal gen­eral-pur­pose com­puter, the An­a­lyt­i­cal En­gine.

Although Ada is not be­lieved to be­lieved to have strong links with area, the mill’s rare jac­quard looms will be fea­tured in the pro­gramme to il­lus­trate how they were used in Bab­bage’s early at­tempts to cre­ate a steam pow­ered com­puter.

Rose Smith, event co­or­di­na­tor for Mac­cles­field Mu­se­ums, said: “It is great news. We are very ex­cited.

“It will in­crease pub­lic­ity for the mill, which is one of the few places left that still has jac­quard looms.”

The news comes af­ter the Ex­press last week re­vealed that the bor- ough’s star­ring role for film crews and Hol­ly­wood heavy­weights has helped pump more than £2.5m into Cheshire East’s econ­omy.

Pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies spent more than 182 days work­ing in Cheshire East last year, spend­ing more than £2.5m in ho­tels, restau­rants and shops.

It is not the first time the mill has ap­peared on screen. Film­ing took place at the Park Lane mu­seum in 2012 for the Co-op­er­a­tive Group’s film The Rochdale Pioneers, which told the story of the Co-op move­ment. Cam­era crews have also vis­ited it to film for TV show Coun­try­file, a David At­ten­bor­ough se­ries and Guy Martin’s The Boat that Guy Built.

A spokesman said: “The new film is an en­thralling tale of how a life in­fused with bril­liance but blighted by ill­ness and gam­bling ad­dic­tion helped give rise to the mod­ern era of com­put­ing.

“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.”

It will be shown on BBC4 on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 17 at 9pm.

An­drew David­son

●● Sap­phire buses on the Mac­cles­field-Manch­ester route were launched on Mon­day

●● Han­nah Fry will present a show on Countess Ada Lovelace (inset) filmed at Par­adise Mill

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