Tony Benn has long been associated with the left wing of the Labour Party but few know of his sideline as an inventor. His most prized work is the “backbencher”, a rucksack with stool attached.
As minister of technology Benn oversaw the construction of hi-tech projects including the Concorde. That did not stop him bolting together a car mounted chair for his 1970 re-election campaign.
“They’re not really inventions, they're more like improvements,” he says. “You have a need, you look to see if anyone meets it and adapt what’s there to suit your purposes.”
One such adaptation from his time as a minister for industry in Harold Wilson’s government was to convert his ministerial briefcase so that it could be used as a lectern for public speaking.
And parking in his local area was so bad that Benn made this magnetic map so he and his wife, who died in 2000, could locate the their far-flung vehicles in the morning.
Benn offered his “seat-case” invention to Virgin boss Richard Branson, and even gave him an advertising slogan - "Virgin gives you a seat from your home to your destination". He hasn't heard back yet.