Brooklands Museum set to restore world’s first purpose-built motor-racing circuit as part of its latest developments, the largest endeavour the Museum has ever embarked on.
Brooklands Museum in Surrey has recieved a grant of over £4.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards its £7m Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival Project. The project will involve restoring the ‘finishing straight’ of the Brooklands Race Track, the world’s first purpose-built motor-racing circuit; transforming the Museum’s Grade II-listed Second World War Wellington Hangar into The Brooklands Aircraft Factory and building a new annexe (the Flight Shed) to house more of the Museum’s outstanding collection of historic aircraft.
The project aims to inspire current and future generations to embrace science, technology and engineering, and will include a training scheme for volunteers in historic aircraft restoration and a raft of new activities on the race track. Work is due to start in the next couple of months with completion of the Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed experiences due in the summer of 2016.
The Brooklands race track was opened in 1907 and marked the start of organised motor racing in the UK. Within a year, early experiments in aviation were taking place on the site as well. From these beginnings, Brooklands rapidly evolved into an outstanding centre for the development and operation of racing cars, motorcycles and aircraft. The first person to travel over 100 miles in one hour, Percy Lambert, did so at Brooklands in 1913. The first British Grand Prix took place at Brooklands in 1926 as well as the first public demonstration of powered flight in the UK in 1909. Early aviation pioneers including A V Roe, Tommy Sopwith and Harry Hawker all tested, built and flew aircraft on the site.
Brooklands Museum Director, Allan Winn, says: “This support from Lottery players is a real vindication of the Museum’s vision of bringing a wartime temporary aircraft assembly building back to life as the only place in the country dedicated to showing how aircraft are designed and built. This unique exhibition – coupled as it is with a new home for our live aircraft, new workshops and stores, and the restoration of the finishing straight of the race track to its 1939 appearance – will give visitors of all ages an unmatched immersive and imaginative experience. We are now really looking forward to working with our consultants, contractors and volunteers to turn this fantastic vision into an exciting reality.”