Brooklands

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English: Brooklands is a historic site near Weybridge in Surrey, England, noted as being a former racing circuit, aerodrome and site of aircraft manufacturing. Built on a marshy part of a country estate with the River Wey running through it, the first race on 2.75 mile long banked outer oval of the Brooklands Motor Circuit took place in 1907, while the first flight at the Brooklands Aerodrome located inside it was in 1909. Brooklands was the world's first purpose built racing circuit, seeing numerous speed and distance records set with cars, motorcycles and bicycles, as well as being the site of ordinary motor industry testing, using both the circuit and facilities like Brooklands Test Hill. As aviation developed, it became a centre for flight training, display, and also developed into a manufacturing site for aircraft, including military aircraft used in World War I and II. It ceased to be a motor racing venue after World War II, with large aircraft factories developing on both the east and west sides of a hard runway laid in 1951. That industry declined in the 1970s before the factories were demolished by 1990. Subsequent development of the site means it is now the location of the Brooklands Industrial Park, Brooklands Spa/Hotel, The Heights business park and the Brooklands Community Park. Continued light aviation use ended with the creation of the Mercedes-Benz World attraction. A small area inside the track has also been used for house building. With conservation efforts begun in 1990, the Brooklands Museum dedicated to the motoring and aviation uses of the area now inhabits 10% of the site, including the paddock area and Brooklands Automobile Racing Club clubhouse, and most of the northern banked curve of the motor ciruit (Members Banking), plus a WWII era aircraft hangar, and also now incorporates the London Bus Museum. Despite the post war industry and subsequent development, outside of the museum, much of the rest of the outer oval of track, namely the southern banked curve (Byfleet Banking) and the west Railway Straight survive, as well as the southern half of the runway, as part of the community park. The 1932 white art deco Brooklands Aero Clubhouse also survives. Reflecting the site's involvement in the Concorde project, the site is home to two Concorde's, the full size G-BBDG and G-CONC, a 40% scale model. The Brooklands Memorial commemorates the racing course.

Maps[edit]

The Brooklands site was created out of 330 acres of farm and woodland, marshy in places due to the river, from the original Brooklands estate, recently inherited by its creator, Hugh Locke King. The circuit was laid out as an oval on a SW - NE alignment, with the northern curve (Members Banking) of a tighter radius than the southern curve (Byfleet Banking), which had a 3,000 feet diameter. The northern side was placed alongside half a mile of the London to Southampton Railway (the present day track that heads NE from Byfleet and New Haw railway station). Inside the northern curve was a hill. Running roughly N to S, the river bisected the oval such that one third of the interior was on its east bank, and the rest on the west.

River Wey bridges & bridge views[edit]

The bridges over the River Wey as it passes through the Brooklands site are (from north to south):

Around the area where it enters the site, there are:

Moving south, there are two further bridges in the northern quarter of the river:

The only other bridges across the river are all in the southern third of its course through the site:

Brooklands Motor Course[edit]

Historical motorsport images[edit]

Surviving sections[edit]

See Brooklands Motor Circuit surviving sections

Surviving motor course buildings[edit]

See Brooklands Museum

Test Hill[edit]

See Brooklands Test Hill

Aerodrome & aircraft factories[edit]

Historical aviation images[edit]

Surviving aviation buildings[edit]

See Brooklands Museum

Surviving World War II defences[edit]

See Brooklands Museum

Brooklands Museum[edit]

See Brooklands Museum

London Bus Museum[edit]

See London Bus Museum

Mercedes-Benz World[edit]

See Mercedes-Benz World

Concordes G-BBDG/G-CONC[edit]

See G-BBDG (aircraft) and G-CONC (gate guardian)

Brooklands Spa/Hotel[edit]

The Brooklands Spa/Hotel is in the north western edge of the site, bordered by the Railway Straight to the north west, the industrial park to the south west, and Mercedes-Benz World to the east and south. It comprises two wings arranged in a V off a central entrance column 51°21′11″N 0°28′15″W / 51.353171°N 0.470738°W / 51.353171; -0.470738, with the interior angle facing east, onto Brooklands Drive.

Brooklands Industrial Park & Brooklands Aero Clubhouse[edit]

The industrial park occupies most of the western half of the site, extending partially over Railway Straight to the west and Byfleet Banking to the south west and south, and bordered by the Spa/Hotel at its northern tip, and Mercedes-Benz World/Sopwith Drive to the east. Brooklands Aero Clubhouse 51°20′47″N 0°28′26″W / 51.346383°N 0.473925°W / 51.346383; -0.473925 is also within this area, facing Sopwith Drive.

Brooklands Community Park[edit]

The community park occupies the SE corner of the site, bordered by Sopwith Drive to the west, Wellington Way to the north west, the River Wey to the north east, and extending across the Byfleet Banking to the south east. Inside the park, the bottom half of the hard runway and associated taxi-way survives.

The Heights business park[edit]

The Heights business park now occupies the north eastern portions of the site, bordered by the museum to the north, the River Wey to the west, Wellington Way to the south, and extending east beyond the alignment of the former track - the access roundabout marks the approximate location of the Fork/Vickers, where the eastern straight forked, with the Start/Finish Straight heading NNE (along the alignment of the largest car park), and the outer oval heading NE before curving back west as Members Banking.

Housing[edit]

The small amount of housing is on the eastern edge. The three cul-de-sacs Davis Road, Dixon Drive and Mays Close are all inside the course. The alignment of Staniland Drive / Connaught Drive follows the line of the former course.

Footpaths[edit]

Brooklands Memorial[edit]

See Brooklands Memorial