CHRIS KEITH-LUCAS was at school with me at Gresham’s in the 1960s. We were at Farfield, a House that I have mentioned in other posts in my blog. We were good friends at the time, doing experiments in our spare time; things like sound distortion. This sounds more professional than in fact it was. It would be more correct to say that we messed about with a reel to reel tape recorder by slowing down or speeding up the tape while saying meaningless phrases like “please don’t stretch my nose I don’t want to be an elephant”.
After we had left school we stayed in touch for a few years, which was unusual, most of my friends falling by the wayside as soon as I left school. On one occasion I went to visit him in at his home in Buckinghamshire.
During the few days I spent there we went out in the family motor boat on the river Cam. The boat was called Tiglath-Pileser after the Assyrian king who is mentioned in the Bible. I was vauguely aware that his father David Keith Lucas was a professor at the aeronautical college the Cranfield Institute (now University) but I did not know what an eminent aeronautical engineer he was. Chris had come from a famous family. His father had done pioneering work on Vertical and Short Take Off and Landing; back in the 50s we called this machine the Flying Bedstead! This work would later produce the Harrier jump jet. His father, Chris’s grandfather, who died in an aircraft crash in the First World War, had invented the aeronautical compass. David’s two brothers were also professors.
I was a long haired hippy at the time, and my abiding memory is of making his father’s record turntable jump by standing up in the room. The floors in the old cottage in Olney were rather wobbly! What the music was I do not remember, but it was definitely something classical.
Click here for the Obituary of David Keith-Lucas in the Independent, 1997.
Since our youth Chris has build up the leading firm for restoring historic Jaguars and other racing cars, CKL Developments. You may often see his daughter Sarah giving the weather forecast on BBC Television. I gather that he still owns Tiglath-Pileser too!