Coventry University honours Beatrice ‘Tilly’ Shilling

Coventry University has named its new Faculty of Engineering, Environment & Computing building after the motorcycle racer and engineer

University honours Beatrice ‘Tilly’ Shilling

COVENTRY University has this week opened its new Faculty of Engineering, Environment & Computing building and has named it in honour of the motorcycle racer and pioneering female engineer Beatrice ‘Tilly’ Shilling.

Shilling led a life surrounded by engines and speed, developing vital parts for the Spitfire to prevent them from stalling when put into a nosedive, she went on to spend time working on the Blue Streak ballistic missile program.

Coventry University honours Beatrice ‘Tilly’ Shilling

Away from the armed forces, Shilling was also an avid motorcyclist and racer and is noted for being one of only three women to achieve the Gold Star award from the British Motorcycle Racing Club. The Gold Star is given to riders who achieve an average speed of over 100mph on the torturous Brooklands banking. It was a feat that she accomplished riding a Norton M30 500cc machine. It is these achievements, and the obvious link to Norton that has led to Coventry University naming its newest Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) building after the pioneering engineer, with Norton Motorcycles also presenting a Norton International (a close relation to the M30) at the ceremony.

The great-niece of Beatrice Shilling sits astride a Norton International at the official opening of the Coventry University Beatrice Shilling Building.

There to see the opening of the faculty and experience the bike was Shilling’s great-niece Jo Denbury and her daughter Saskia Preston, as well as Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Co-founder and CEO of Stemettes, the award-winning social enterprise focussed on inspiring and supporting girls, young women and non-binary young people in STEM.

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