19 members and guests visited the Museum on a warm day in April. We met in the lecture hall where Brooklands Guide, Maddie Passtoors, told us about the history of the Museum and of the many exhibits on display.
The site is unique as having the remains of the first purpose built motor circuit which was constructed by Hugh and Ethel Locke King in 1907 at Weybridge. It had 30 foot banking and cost £50.000 and the birthplace of British motorsport was inaugurated by a parade of 43 cars. In keeping with the times ladies were not allowed to race until later in the twenties when Barbara Cartland gave support to the growing movement of emancipation.
Initially the rules of competition were copied from those of horse racing so that the cars were identified by colours and numbers. John Cobb managed to set a record of 143 mph on the course and Malcolm Campbell won universal acclaim in his racing car Bluebird. By this time many in the neighbourhood were complaining of the noise associated with motor racing and the fish tail exhaust quickly evolved as an efficient means of significantly reducing the noise pollution.
The space within the circuit was an active airfield in which A B Rowe built the first biplane and from which Tommy Sopwith also flew his Camel Biplane. De Havillands extended the existing aircraft-hanger and in 1939 built the Wellington Bomber.
We had the opportunity of seeing the many aeroplanes on show including stepping on board Concorde whose unique design, manufacture and flying characteristics assure the aircraft of a permanent place in aviation history. More than 30% of every Concorde airframe was manufactured on site.
Our tour included visiting, among others, the London Bus Museum which houses the largest private sector collection of London buses, the Malcolm Campbell Shed and the ERA shed which contain many vintage racing cars and motorcycles and the vintage cycle exhibition.
The Clapham omnibus Penny Farthing in the Cycle Exhibition Wellington Bomber
Our thanks are due to David Mayne who organised a superb and much enjoyed visit to the Museum.
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