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Friday, 15 July 2016

Back in time to Brooklands.

We were at the bus station by 0945 to catch the bus to Brooklands Museum that was the first purpose built motor racing track in the world and the first purpose built aerodrome in Britain. As we are still so very young we paid full price on the bus but got a a return for £4 which I though was a good deal for a 40 min journey. As we didn't know where we were going we missed our stop as we were staring out of the shiny Mercedes cars at Mercedes Benz World which is next door. The driver went to the end of the drive turned round and took us back to the stop which was very decent as it was a long walk from the next stop.

The entrance was £11 but as I am not so very young I got in for £10! We ended up being there for 6 hours we though it was good value too.

A lovely poster of the 30's.

As Helen seems to get a lot of praise for her photographs I gave her the camera when we arrived. We have now got back to the boat and I see although we have been to Brooklands, the home of British motor racing, she hasn't taken one picture of a car!!!

The closest she got was to take a picture of the garages and shops from the 30's. The light blue shed was Malcolm Cambell's workshop and showroom but now is the exhibition of racing cars from Brooklands. Ohter workshops have been converted to World speed record and Grand Prix displays.


As well as motor cars being raced motor cycles were raced from early on. There were some beautifully crafted machines and this Brough Superior was one of the best of it's era.

Bicycles were also raced here, but this carbon Fibre bike set a world record on a rolling road of over 200 miles an hour! I think that some of those on the tow paths round the canal system most be trying to break it.

This is the Test Hill that was built in 1909 and was used by the motor industry to test  acceleration and braking in the early days.

Brooklands was also one of the the first aerodromes in the world and the first powered flight took place here in 1909. This is a replica (I think) of a Vimy that was the plane that Alcock and Brown flew across the Atlantic. The Daily Mail offered a prize of £10000 in 1913 for a flight from anywhere in America or Canada to anywhere in Great Britain or Ireland. It was suspended by WWI but afterwards was reinstated in 1918. There were two teams in Newfoundland in 1919. The first to take off had to ditch in the sea and were rescued. As they had to wait for a tail wind, an easterly, it was a couple of months before Alcock and Brown took off. They complete the flight in poor weather in around 16 hours in June 1919.

A.V. Roe was the first to build aircraft here and later the Vickers Company moved on to Brooklands too. In WWII they made the Wellington bomber that was used right through the war in all theatres. Part of the design team was Barnes Wallis who had worked on the airships of the time. He brought this metal framework to air frames and made the aircraft very robust. Some were actually made on site. This particular one crashed in Loch Ness and was found by Monster Hunters many years later. You can see what good condition it is still in and is undergoing restoration.

Another beautiful poster from the era.

This is the steepest park of the famous Brooklands banking. The outer oval circuit was 2.75 miles long. Later a long straight was added through the middle to make a circuit of 3.25. The banking rose to 30 feet at it's highest and was 100 feet wide. There was a line on the banking that showed where the car would go round with no turning of the wheel. The track was built by Hugh Locke-King and was opened in 1907. As it was the first they nearest precedent was a horse racing circuit and hence the similar names such as paddock. It was wear many of the early land speed records were set and John Cobb and Malcolm Campbell worked her and set records.

 A Vickers Varsity that was built here and was a very rugged training aeroplane for the RAF. The guide was very good and spoke with many anecdotes as his father had been a pilot trainer on these aircraft.

The VC 10 was also developed and produced here at Brooklands and this example was converted by the Sultan of Oman for his own use. He bought it second hand and BEA charged him £5million for the conversion.

This is the second flying Concorde and the first to carry 100 passengers at Mach 2. You could pay extra to have a tour of this and we didn't. They were such beautiful planes though, and it would be great if we could have some engineering success again. Mind you it was built jointly with France, so that isn't going to happen now.

On the Brooklands site is the London Bus Museum. It is free entry and we spent ages going round the place with the lovely vehicles and informative notices etc.

After WWII Barnes Wallis was employed by the Vickers company to set up an R and R section and part of this was the Stratosphere Chamber. This was so tests could be done on parts at simulated high altitude, up to 70,000 feet. They could also test to extreme cold and heat. The pressure is simulated by creating a partial vacuum and then driving wind, heat and cold into the chamber. The parts were placed into the chamber above.

This is the door that slid over the mouth of the chamber. It was used to test aircraft, weapons, ships and some polar explorers and their equipment.

It was a great day out. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable. The coffee was good and our pack up also good. A great day out all together and I would recommend it from boats on the Wey or Basingstoke Canal.

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