Brooklands Museum in Surrey, UK

A Brief History of Motor Racing at Brooklands

The historic Brooklands in Weybridge, South East England is teeming with more history than I had been aware. I have always associated Brooklands with motor racing, when back in 1907 Brooklands became the worlds first purpose built concrete race track, which with its daring 30 degree banking, covered a distance of 2.75 miles. The venue became popular for motor car and motor cycle racing, but was suspended during World War I,  recommencing again in the 1920s. With the outbreak of World War II, the track was requisitioned by the government and the final race ever to be held at Brooklands Race Track was on the 7th August 1939.

 

3 decades of Motor Racing took place at Brooklands

A Brief History of Aviation at Brooklands

As well as the world renowned race track, Brooklands boasts a rich industrial aviation history. In 1915, Brooklands became the home to the aircraft manufacturer Vickers and during World War I, women built the Gunbus and the Vimy. After the government requisitioned Brooklands in 1939, the site was using to build and test fly the Wellington and Hurricane Bombers.  Over 5700 military aircraft, a fifth of all aircraft of this type, were manufactured during World War Two at this site.

Current Day

The race track substained substantial damage by German bombers during ww2 and sadly the damage was deemed too great and too costly to repair. To this day, there is still a small section of the track in existence, but most of the area has now been redeveloped into industrial warehouses or housing estates.

Remains of the original race track

The Museum

Brooklands Museum has exhibitions spanning over 100 years of motoring and aviation.

Visit the Aircraft Park to see a range of planes including the Vickers VC10 ‘Sultan of Oman’ and Concorde. The Sultan of Oman’s VC10 is a truly luxurious mode of air travel but I have always been awe struck with Concorde and I was very sorry to see it go out of commission in October 2003.

The outside of the Sultan of Oman’s Vickers VC10

 

The living area inside the Vickers VC10

The Concorde Experience

I recommend taking the Concorde experience. Half the plane is kitted out with an exhibition which tells the story of Concorde and the other half is setup to reflect the inside of the Concorde cabin.  Sit in a real Concorde seat and watch the simulation video of a trip to New York is as close as I will ever get to flying in Concorde!

 

Inside Concordes cabin

 

After the video and leaving C0ncorde, be sure to check out the Concorde simulator which was used by training pilots. This is a fully functioning simulator which is super cool to watch as it shows the manoeuvres and procedures which are required to fly this amazing machine.

A Great Day Out

In you love planes, buses (sorry no trains) and automobiles, I would recommend this as a great day out if you are ever in the area. For people interested in buses or who remember days gone by in London, the Bus museum is packed full of vehicles from before the wars to modern times.

Try and walk up test hill which was used to test the ability of cars to climb hills and how good the brakes were to slow them down. It was built in 1909 and is 252 feet long, with its steepest point at a 1 in 4 hill, it isn’t that easy to walk!

 

Test Hill

 

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