The Brooklands Circuit in Weybridge, Surrey has a rich history as both the first purpose built racing circuit in the UK and as an aerodrome. Both of which are celebrated in the Brooklands Museum that stands on the site now.
As you come in through the entrance building and shop the first section of the museum you come to is it’s automotive half. All the displays are kept in these beautifully restored, period correct workshops and buildings.
Malcolm Campbell’s workshop was a particularly interesting building. Campbell built and raced numerous land speed record cars and boats, all named Blue Bell. I will cover his life and some of his vehicles in another blog post as I think he deserves a special feature. The display which Brooklands have made of his life is very interesting though and I highly recommend you check it out!
The Campbell workshop also contains numerous other interesting pre-war cars. The 4.5 litre Bentley is hands down one of my favourites! Sadly this is not the famous Birkin supercharged version but is still a mighty impressive car to behold!
The size is mighty impressive as well! Although not huge by today’s standards ths would have shared the road with things like these tiny little Austin 7s.
the variation in size isn’t just noticeable in the road cars of the period. The land speed record cars on display were also noticeably varied. This Ridley Special was tiny in comparison to the Blue Bird!
Other race cars of particular interest to me included this Aston Martin Razor Blade.
Apparently the Razor Blade was the narrowest racing car ever built and was designed to take the ‘light car record’ held by A.C by lapping Brooklands for one hour at 104mph. A string of accidents meant the record attempt was eventually abandoned. A feautre I find interesting is that the vents on the front are adjustable to allow more, or less, air into the engine bay as the car is running.
This single seater Duesenberg was also interesting. I never knew Duesenberg had a motorsport program. I always think of their cars as big luxury land yachts. I may have to do a separate blog post on the Duesenberg race cars at a later stage too!
As for the rest of the displays in the automotive section you will have to take a trip up there to see them for yourself!
The other major section of the museum is aeronautical. The site has been used as a aerodrome since 1908 and saw service during both world wars. During the Second World War the site was taken over fully by Vickers and Hawker for the production of aircraft such as the famous Hurricane fighter and Wellington bomber. Brooklands have an example of a Hurricane present which is undergoing restoration.
Along with a Wellington, which had met an untimely demise in Loch Ness in Scotland.
I find it fascinating to see these aircraft with the outer skins removed. The Sopwith Camel frame at Stow Maries was beautiful and this later Wellington was stunning underneath too! Such marvellous engineering!
The museum also had a large variety of civilian aircraft. Some of which you could go inside. Concorde was also present but as you can imagine it’s a very popular attraction and I couldn’t really get any pictures from within it.
These light commercial aircraft fascinate me. RC version coming soon perhaps?
Keeping with the aeronautical theme the site also used to house a massive wind tunnel designed to test aircraft in completely controlled conditions which included air pressure, temperature and wind speeds. The machine itself is enormous and there are numerous rooms that stem from it full of equipment that can control the conditions in the test and monitor the results. It’s incredible to think that such an advanced machine was built in the 1940s!
The final building in the museum is a bus museum which holds numerous buses ranging from the horse drawn buses of the early 1900s, to the early motorised omnibuses (such as what I’m building as a slot car: https://motorsportformentalhealth.com/2016/08/19/omnibus-slot-car-build-part-3/) up the buses from the 1960s and 70s
Now, this is only a tiny look at what is present at Brooklands Museum. I have literally hundreds of photos I could share but I really want you to tkae the trip there so you can experience this fantastic place for yourself! It is really worth it!
Thanks for reading!