Brooklands race track to return to use with £4.7m grant

Finishing Straight and Members' Banking c.1933 Image copyright Brooklands Museum
Image caption A hangar was built on top of the finishing straight in 1940

The final stretch of the world's first purpose-built racing circuit is to be restored and brought into use in a £7m scheme at Brooklands Museum in Surrey.

Lottery cash of nearly £4.7m has been awarded to the scheme, which will see a WW2 hangar moved from its position on top of the track and restored nearby.

The finishing straight will be restored to its 1939 appearance when the circuit was in its heyday, museum staff said.

Brooklands opened in 1907 and went on to make motoring and aviation history.

After restoration, the final stretch will return to use for motoring and aviation activities.

The restored Grade II listed World War Two Wellington Hangar - which was used for the assembly of Wellington bombers in the 1940s and later for other industrial purposes - will become The Brooklands Aircraft Factory, where visitors will see how aircraft from biplanes to Concorde were designed, developed and built.

And a new annexe, the Flight Shed, will also be built to house more of the museum's collection, including active aircraft such as its Sopwith Camel and Hurricane which will be kept ready to roll out on to the refurbished race track.

Image copyright Brooklands Museum
Image caption The race track's heyday was in the 1930s
Image copyright Brooklands Museum
Image caption Races took place at Brooklands as well as early experiments in engineering

Museum director Allan Winn said the aircraft assembly building would be the only place in the country dedicated to showing how aircraft are designed and built.

He promised visitors "an unmatched, immersive and imaginative experience".

Stuart McLeod, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said Brooklands had played an important role in the country's history, and the airliners and "glitzy" Grand Prix of today could all be traced back to innovation that had taken place at Brooklands.

He said the project would help visitors understand the "pivotal role" the UK has played in engineering.

The museum has raised over £1.2m and has been awarded £4.681m by the lottery fund. It still needs to raise a further £775,000.

Work on the scheme is due to start in the next couple of months and be finished by summer next year.

Image copyright Brooklands Museum
Image caption From next year, visitors will be able to see the final stretch as it was

'Firsts' at Brooklands

-Brooklands saw the first public demonstration of powered flight in the UK in 1909

-The first person to travel over 100 miles in one hour, Percy Lambert, did so at Brooklands in 1913

-The first British Grand Prix took place at Brooklands in 1926

Source: Brooklands Museum

Image copyright Brooklands Museum
Image caption Over the years, aircraft built at Brooklands have ranged from biplanes to Concorde
Image copyright Brooklands Museum
Image caption The museum presents the history of racing from the earliest days to Formula 1

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