Walk in the footsteps of Ada Lovelace at De Vere Horsley Estate

fairytale style tower surrounded by turret and moat and pond

The 10th October 2023 marks Ada Lovelace Day, which recognises Ada's ground-breaking contribution to computer technology and celebrates the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

This year, De Vere Horsley Estate, located in Surrey and part of De Vere's collection of mansion house estates, is inviting guests to walk in the footsteps of Ada Lovelace at what was her marital home for 17 years.

Lovelace, born in 1815, was a well-known mathematician and writer, and was regarded as one of the world's first computer programmers owing to her pioneering work on Charles Babbage's mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Ada was the only child of Annabella Milbank and the poet Lord Byron; her mother had mathematical training and insisted on Ada studying mathematics - an unusual education for a woman in the 1800s.

At the age of 17, Ada met the mathematician Charles Babbage - inventor of the mechanical calculator - who became her mentor. Lovelace was commissioned to translate a French article about Babbage's latest machine. She translated the piece and also added extensive notes of her own, finding that the machine had the potential to translate music, pictures, and text into digital form. Her notes were published in 1843 however, it took over a century for it to be recognised as the first computer algorithm and this is why today Ada is known as the first programmer. Since then, Ada has often been referred to as the 'prophet of the computer age'.

In the grounds of De Vere Horsley Estate is a 19th-century mansion house, Horsley Towers, which has a rather regal history and was designed by Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament and Highclere Castle. After being the marital home of Ada Lovelace, the property was bought by Sir Thomas Sopwith, the inventor of the Sopwith Camel aeroplane. The estate's rich history is evident throughout, from the stunning original features to quirky décor, which includes subtle nods to Sir Charles Barry and his architectural work and to Tommy Sopwith and his work as an English aviation pioneer in Surrey.

The hotel is offering De Vere Reserve breaks in Horsley Towers, allowing guests to stay in recently refurbished bedrooms which reflect the heritage of the building, with roll-top baths and luxurious Penhaligon toiletries. Prices start from £159 per room per night including breakfast.

Check out devere.co.uk

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