Our programme for 2018 got off to a flying start with Clive England’s talk on the works at Brooklands Museum.
Brooklands was the birthplace of British Motorsport and Aviation, with the construction of the circuit and its huge banked sections in 1907. The Brooklands Flying Village followed shortly afterwards, and the site was handed over to the Royal Flying Corps in 1914. After the war, the site became the centre for road and flying races, until 1939. Aircraft factories spread over the site, until the 1980s when the museum was founded. A successful Heritage Lottery Fund application led to the Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Race Track Revival Project, relocating the historic Bellman hanger to clear the the original Finishing Straight (a Scheduled Ancient Monument). Now the museum can display aircraft from the Sopwith Camel to Concorde, and historic racing cars such as the Napier-Railton in which John Cobb set the circuit lap record of 143.44mph in 1935, which was never beaten.
Clive took us through the myriad problems of collapsing embankments, contaminated spoil heaps, asbestos washers in the transportable Bellman hanger, and meticulous review of the racetrack to determine how much concrete could be saved; all unusual aspects of the conservation of industrial sites.