:"There is also a type of
windscreenknown as "Brooklands" or "Brookland screen"."Motorsport venue
Name = Brooklands | Location =
Length_km = 4.2
Length_mi = 2.75
Turns = 3
Surface = Concrete
Banking = 30°
Opened = 1907
Closed = 1939
Brooklands is a disused motor racing circuit and airfield built near
Weybridgein Surrey, England. It opened in 1907, and was the world's first oval-style motorsport venue. The circuit hosted its last race in 1939, and was also one of Britain's first airfields. Nowadays it plays host to an aviation and motoring museum, as well as various vintage car rallies.
The circuit was the brainchild of
Hugh Locke-King, and was opened on June 17 1907as the first custom-built banked motor race circuit in the world. It was the second ever oval style race track built for cars, the first being the convert|2|mi|km|0|sing=on oval Lakeside Auto Speedwaynear San Diego, California, which was opened on April 20, 1907.
Requirements of speed and spectator visibility led to the track being built as a convert|100|ft|m|-1|abbr=on wide, convert|2.75|mi|km|1 long, banked oval. The banking was nearly convert|30|ft|m|0 high in places. In addition to the oval, a bisecting "finishing straight" was built, increasing the track length to convert|3.25|mi|km|1, of which convert|1.25|mi|km|1 was banked. It could host up to 287,000 spectators in its heyday.Fact|date=February 2007
Due to the complications of laying tarmac on banking, and the expense of laying asphalt, the circuit was built using gravel and cement. This led in later years to a somewhat bumpy ride, as the surface settled over time.
Along the centre of the track ran a dotted black line, known as the "Fifty Foot Line". By driving over the line, a driver could theoretically take the banked corners without having to use the steering wheel.
Eleven days after the circuit opened, it played host to the world's first 24 hour motor event, with
Selwyn Edgeleading three specially converted Napier cars around the circuit. Over three hundred red railway lamps were used to light the track during the night. Flares were used to mark the upper boundary of the track. Edge drove his car for the full duration, with the drivers of the other two cars taking the more familiar shift approach.
The world record for the first person to cover a hundred miles in an hour was set by
Percy E. Lambertat Brooklands, on 15 February 1913when driving his 4.5 litre sidevalve Talbot. He actually covered 103 miles and 1470 yards (167.340 km) in sixty minutes. There is a film of his exploits at the Brooklands museum which was made on that day. Grand Prix motor racingwas established at Brooklands in 1926 by Henry Segraveafter his winning of the French Grand Prixin 1923 and the following year at the Spanish Grand Prixwhich raised interest in the sport in Britain. This first British Grand Prix was won by Louis Wagner and Robert Senechal driving a Delage 155B.
During the late 1930s, Brooklands also hosted massed start
cycle racingevents organised by the National Cyclists' Union(as the sport's governing body, the NCU banned such events from public roads). In 1939, it was used as a location for the Will Hayfilm, Ask a Policeman. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031058/ Ask A Policeman] ]
World War IIbroke out in 1939, racing was stopped due to fuel rationing. After the war completed in 1945, it was deemed that racing cars were too fast for the banking, and no further racing took place.
Brooklands also became one of Britain's first airfields. In 1908 it hosted the first flight of an English aircraft by an English pilot,
Alliott Verdon-Roe. In the summer of 1910, Hilda Hewlettand Gustave Blondeauopened Britain's first flying school at Brooklands. Hewlett and Blondeau also started their aircraft manufacturing company, Hewlett & Blondeau Limited, on site before moving to larger premises at Leagrave, Bedfordshire. In February 1912, Thomas Sopwithopened his Sopwith School of Flying and, in June 1912, Sopwith, with several others, set up the Sopwith Aviation Companyhere, although their main premises were at Kingston upon Thames. Blériot, Martinsyde, and Vickerslater set up production at Brooklands. Many flying schools operated here before 1914 and the aerodrome was a major flying training centre between the wars.
World War II, the site was again used for military aircraft production, in particular the Vickers Wellingtonand was extensively camouflaged. Trees were also planted into the concrete of the circuit to help screen the Hawker and Vickersaircraft factories there. From 1944-72 Vickers (and later BAC) also used nearby Wisleyaerodrome which offered a longer runwayand less built-up surroundings.
After the war, the circuit was in poor condition and was sold to
Vickers-Armstrongs in 1946 for continued use as an aircraft factory. New aircraft types including the Viking, Varsity, Viscount, Vanguard and VC10 were next manufactured and delivered from there.
In 1951, a section of the race track's Byfleet Banking was removed to allow
Vickers Valiant V-bombers to be flown out to Wisley.
The Vickers factory became part of the new
British Aircraft Corporationin 1960 and went on to design and build the BAC TSR.2, One-Eleven and Concorde. The factory contracted in size in the mid-1970s and finally closed in 1988-89.
In 1987 the site also become home to the Brooklands Museum, which is dedicated to the site's motoring and aviation heritage.
The remaining sections of track were the subject of a preservation order in 2001, rendering illegal any subsequent destruction of the circuit. From 1990 to 2003 regular fly-ins, rallies attended by light aircraft, were arranged on summer weekends using the Northern half of the original runway. The central area of Brooklands including the hard runway and remaining racetrack was sold to
DaimlerChryslerUK Retail in early 2004. A Mercedes-Benzmuseum and performance-demonstration centre is now completed in front of the remaining banking. Mercedes-Benz Worldopened to the public on 29 October 2006and incorporates a test track. The facilities also include a conference centre and a Mercedes-Benz showroom. Other stores which reside on the small retail park include a Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Mothercare, Currysand Argos.
Brooklands houses many decommissioned aircraft including a
British Airways Concorde, G-BBDG, the first pre-production Concorde built and more recently the "G-CONC" gate guardianfrom Heathrow. There are also many other aircraft there including a Vickers Vanguard, Viscount, VC10 and many military aircraft. One feature of all the aircraft is that at least major components of them were built at Brooklands. The VC10 in particular was built and first flew from Brooklands Airfield and served as official transport for the Sultan of Omanuntil 1987 when it was donated by the Sultan of Oman.
Brooklands made a TV appearance when it featured in a 1990s episode of "
Agatha Christie's Poirot" when Hercule Poirotinvestigates a crime committed involving a racing driver. The banking of Brooklands was also used as a 'road location' in an episode of " The Bill" where the CID foiled an armed robbery and resulted in a 'shoot out'.
Several thousand photographs of Brooklands in its heyday are available through the
Brooklands photo archive.
People associated with Brooklands
J. G. Ballard
Percy E. Lambert
Hugh F. Locke-King
*Count Louis Zborowski
Hawker Hunter Vickers Vanguard Vickers Viscount ConcordeReg. G-BBDG Concordeoriginally from Heathrow Vickers WellingtonIA Serial Number N2980
car at Brooklands
Riley car at Brooklands
Morgan three-wheeler at Brooklands
Napier Railton at Brooklands
Bentleyat Brooklands Bicycleat Brooklands Napier Lion W12 engineat Brooklands Routemasterowned by the museum for advertising.
* [http://www.brooklands.org.uk/ The Brooklands Society]
* [http://www.brooklandsmuseum.com Brooklands Museum]
* [http://www.mercedes-benzworld.co.uk/mbw/home.html Mercedes-Benz World]
* [http://www.weyriver.co.uk/theriver The River Wey and Wey Navigations Community Site] – a non-commercial site of over 200,000 words all about the Wey Valley including information and images about Brooklands, Weybridge and early automobile manufacture in England
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?q=weybridge,england&t=k&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=51.349003,-0.471232&spn=0.013161,0.042915&om=1 Google Maps Aerial View]
* [http://www.geocities.com/kelada2000/cars.htm Kaye Don at Hampton Wick]
* [http://www.theheightsbrooklands.com/ The Heights, Brooklands]
* [http://www.brooklandsfm.co.uk/ Brooklands FM - Local Radio for Brooklands and the surrounding area]
* [http://www.scientificamericanpast.com/Scientific%20American%201900%20to%201909/6/lg/sci7271907.htm 7/27/1907;The Opening Races And Speed Trials on the New Cement Track of the Brooklands Racing Club At Weybridge, England]
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