Review of Brooklands Museum Visit

On Thursday 2 February, Club members met at Woodcote Park for lunch before embarking on a guided tour at Brooklands Museum, Surrey.

The Brooklands Museum is on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit and houses a fabulous collection of cars, motorcycles and bicycles, from their racing heyday right up to 1939 when the track closed.

The tour started out in the Campbell Shed, where the guide provided a concise plotted history of how local landowner Hugh Locke King built the racing circuit on his 330 acres estate at Weybridge in 1906. The tour highlighted specific vehicles of historical interest in the Campbell Shed including a 1904 Siddeley two-seater tourer called ‘Daisy’ formally owned by Ethel Locke King, the wife of the circuit builder of the Brooklands. It is claimed that Ethel driving ‘Daisy’ was the first car to ever drive the track.

The whistle-stop tour dropped by the magnificent ERA shed which houses many iconic vehicles including the 24-litre Napier-Railton endurance record and track racing car commissioned by Brooklands driver John Cobb, and designed by Reid Railton. The car was built by Thomson and Taylor at their engineering works within the Brooklands track and completed in 1933. Also highlighted was the 27-litre Thomas Special ‘Babs’, also known as the Higham Special. Parry-Thomas the brilliant designer-driver used the car to break the land speed record at 171.02 mph in April 1926, during a later record attempt at Pendine Sands in March 1927 the car rolled over and Thomas was killed. Following the inquest into Thomas’ death, Babs was buried in the sand dunes at Pendine. In 1969, 40 years later, the car was exhumed and restored to running order and now shares its time on display at Brooklands and the Museum of Speed at Pendine. Brooklands is very proud that all vehicles within the museum are in running order and are used actively throughout the year.

The tour continued to the Aircraft Park which houses the BAC 1-11 and collection of Vickers aircraft built after 1945, including the Varsity military trainer, Viscount, Vanguard ‘Merchantman’, VC10 airliners and Viking where Club members boarded several of the aircrafts.

Possibly the highlight of the day was the Concorde experience, where members got to see inside the world’s most famous aircraft and see, hear and feel what it was like to fly a Concorde. They boarded via the cargo area and walked through a unique and interactive exhibition illustrating the history of Concorde which featured an historical timeline of its testing and flights, memorabilia and a short film of its restoration project at Brooklands. The tour culminated in the main Concorde cabin, where there was a pre-flight briefing and virtual flight experience. Each guest was presented with a Concorde boarding pass and flight certificate upon exit.

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