Joan Lyneham

b.1912 - in Devonport, Plymouth* Devon, UK.
* at the time of Lyneham’s birth, Devonport, Plymouth & East Stonehouse were separate towns



We know this much : Lyneham’s mother died in childbirth & her father was not
conscripted during WWI, being a widower with a dependent child.
Lyneham’s father worked at ‘Andrew’s World Renowned Picture House’ on Union
Street. He was involved in developing and installing sound systems in the many
theatres undergoing transition to cinema in Plymouth. Her exposure to the
mechanics of spatial acoustics, directional sound and principles of resonance
led her to conduct research & experimentation of her own.


She presented a lecture at the annual sitting of the ‘Plymouth Institute for the promotion of Science, Literature and the Liberal Arts’ - which was based at The Athenæum - in 1939. Her lecture was entitled ‘Sonic Anomalies: A New Theory on Sympathetic Resonance‘. It is rumoured that Lyneham was allowed to deliver a
lecture there, the only woman ever to do so, due to her father being owed a
substantial amount of money from the mayor George S Scoble.

She went missing in 1941, possibly as a result of coming into conflict with the
British authorities who wanted to utilise her pioneering sonic technologies as
deception tools in acts of war, to which she protested. The havoc of WWII, along with her status as an unmarried woman, meant her disappearance was never properly investigated. Only fragments of her work remain and the true extent of her discoveries is not known.


Earlier this year, files were discovered in the library vaults of The Athenæum,
Plymouth which were presumed destroyed during the Blitz in 1941.
The unearthed files contain diagrams and notes by Lyneham which give a nebulous
indication of the sonic technology she had developed or was in the early stages
of developing. Noise Laboratory researchers enlisted and commissioned by the
FIMTEC Research Group have begun deconstructing and restoring Lyneham’s research foci.