The Lanchester Library, which is the silhouette of our iCov logo, was opened in the year 2000, and is named after Frederick William Lanchester, who made important contributions to automotive engineering in Coventry. Over the years, Coventry University, which used to be called Lanchester Polytechnic, has tried to keep the Lanchester namesake within its buildings.

In 1970, Coventry College of Art merged with Lanchester College of Technology and Rugby College of Engineering. The resulting institution was called Lanchester Polytechnic. In 1987 the name then changed to Coventry Polytechnic, and in 1992, the institution was titled Coventry University. The Lanchester name has been preserved in the name of the university’s Lanchester Library, as well as their Lanchester Art Gallery, and the Lanchester Restaurant.

Frederick Lanchester was a pioneer in British motor car building, a hobby he eventually turned into a successful car company, the Lanchester Engine Co. with his three brothers and is still considered as one of the top three British car engineers. The company was originally based in London but their production moved to Coventry in 1931, hence why, along with Coventry’s major part to play in the car manufacturing industry, the Lanchester name is still well-renowned.

The library was designed by an architectural company called Short and Associates, and the distinctive roof of the Lanchester library, is solar-panelled and employs natural light with innovative lighting technology to significantly reduce energy consumption, compared to traditional air conditioned buildings. It is also naturally ventilated.

The library offers a range of modern study environments. It accommodates over 300 computers and has a wireless network which is available to all University members. Attracting over 700,000 visitors a year, it offers more than 1,200 study places. With over 350,000 books, 2,000 print journals, 8,000 electronic journal titles and a range of multimedia resources, it provides a focal point for student learning and information access. 

For more information about Coventry University’s Lanchester Library, visit