Gavin Weightman


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Assistant : Florence Hyde


After a successful career as a documentary filmmaker, Gavin Weightman has gained a reputation as the author of a series of colourful history books such as The Frozen Water Trade, Signor Marconi's Magic Box and  The Industrial Revolutionaries. His most recent book  Children of Light: How Electricity Changed Britain Forever was described in Sunday Times review as " lucid and fascinating" and it was highly recommended in Readers Digest.

Gavin began work as a journalist on local newspapers before taking a degree in Sociology at London University. He joined New Society magazine in the mid-1970s as a feature writer covering a range of  social issues and specialising in the history of medicine and housing.  In 1978 he joined London Weekend Television and became a producer-director who wrote and narrated many acclaimed documentaries. These included two six-part history series entitled The Making of Modern London, as well as City Safari, Brave New Wilderness, London River and Bright Lights, Big City. He has made many contributions to documentary series on both radio and ITV. For two years, he was the presenter of The London Programme on London Weekend Television.

When he left LWT Gavin ran his own documentary filmmaking company for several years before deciding to concentrate on writing. He has published more than twenty books and has written for numerous publications including History Today, the Guardian, the Sunday Times and the Independent. He lives in Highbury North London.


Praise for EUREKA: How Invention Happens

"Highly recommended–and not just for geeks, as Weightman is a superb writer and makes each of his subjects accessible to the general reader." Forbes

"the book is sweetly written, carried along by unobtrusive good humour, a deep intuition for the history of ideas and a liberal salting of steam-punk esoterica." Financial Times

Eureka gave me much pleasure nd made me prouder than ever to be called an inventor... This book not only amuses and informs, but will give heart to anyone who has an idea of their own" Trevor Baylis OBE, CBE

"What a joy it was to discover Eureka! I read this book with great pleasure, savouring equally the stories of surprisingly circuitous technological development and the uncommonly interesting human beings involved." Henry Petroski, author of The Essential Engineer & The House with Sixteen Handmade Doors

Gavin Weightman's book is a gem. He takes five icons of modern technology and shows that their histories and inventions are wonderfully complex and historically rich. He explains complicated science and technology with great facility. Who would have thought that the history of the bar code could be so fascinating?" William Bynum, author of A Little History of Science

This book is an inspiring story of enthusiastic amateur inventors and unsung pioneers. Often self-taught and short of funds, they had the imagination and determination to keep on with their experiments, undeterred by the risk of being labelled cranks or crackpots. Weightman puts these visionaries centre-stage, leading us through the maze of fascinating experiments, breakthroughs and occasional disasters that led to the "eureka moments!" Judie Halls, author fo Inventions That Didn't Change the World


Publication DetailsNotes

Yale University Press

Tracing the long pre-history of five twentieth-century inventions which have transformed our lives, Gavin Weightman reveals a fantastic cast of scientists and inspired amateurs whose ingenuity has given us the airplane, television, bar code, personal computer, and mobile phone.


BBC Books

Restoration Home goes on an extraordinary journey of discovery with six new owners of crumbling listed buildings, as they restore them into beautiful 21st Century homes, and uncover, layer by layer, a rich and detailed history of the house and its former occupants.



The story of the 19th-century ice trade, in which ice from the lakes of New England – valued for its incredible purity – revolutionised domestic life around the world.