Keep­ing Brook­lands safe

As Brook­lands cel­e­brated its 110th an­niver­sary, so a plan to pro­tect the hal­lowed track came to­gether

Octane - - IGNITION - Words Brett Fraser Archive pho­tog­ra­phy Brook­lands Mu­seum More on www.brook­landsmu­

WHILE THE SEC­TION of the old Brook­lands cir­cuit un­der the stew­ard­ship of the Brook­lands Mu­seum is in fine fet­tle, many other parts are in such poor con­di­tion that His­toric Eng­land has placed them on its ‘Her­itage at Risk’ reg­is­ter. They will now be pro­tected.

In an ef­fort to ar­rest the de­cline, His­toric Eng­land has joined forces with Brook­lands Mu­seum, Elm­bridge Bor­ough Coun­cil and Sur­rey Coun­cil and hosted an event to ex­plore ways of safe­guard­ing those parts of the track within the bound­aries of pri­vate and busi­ness prop­er­ties, as well as those on waste­land. The event, held on 6 July – and which also cel­e­brated the 110th an­niver­sary of the first race at Brook­lands – brought to­gether own­ers and ten­ants with a re­spon­si­bil­ity for a piece of the his­toric site, to of­fer ad­vice and sup­port on how they can best main­tain their sec­tion of the track. On of­fer was an ‘owner’s guide’ con­tain­ing prac­ti­cal tips and in­struc­tions on how to man­age each area of the cir­cuit.

His­toric Eng­land’s Her­itage at Risk prin­ci­pal ad­viser for the south-east, Clare Charlesworth, had this to say: ‘While part of the track sits within Brook­lands Mu­seum, other parts are now within res­i­den­tial gar­dens, pub­lic parks and in­dus­trial and re­tail units. We hope that, by bring­ing to­gether all those who act as guardians or neigh­bours to this amaz­ing piece of his­tory, we will be able to foster new re­la­tion­ships and take prac­ti­cal steps to im­prove the con­di­tion and main­te­nance of the site.

‘We ap­pre­ci­ate that many own­ers may not un­der­stand the im­por­tance of the site and will not have ex­pe­ri­ence of man­ag­ing a sched­uled mon­u­ment. We wish to pro­vide gen­eral guid­ance on the sim­ple steps needed to main­tain the struc­ture and more de­tailed help where this is needed.

‘To­gether we hope to en­sure that the Brook­lands Mo­tor Racing Track will re­main a phys­i­cal re­minder of our en­gi­neer­ing, en­trepreneur­ship and en­ter­prise. And that this unique site, which has seen world records bro­ken, held the first Bri­tish Grand Prix and

hosted a ma­jor con­struc­tion site for some of Bri­tain’s most fa­mous air­craft, will be well pro­tected and cher­ished for an­other 110 years.’

To help cre­ate a suit­able frame­work for the con­ser­va­tion of the wider Brook­lands site, His­toric Eng­land has fur­nished the Brook­lands Mu­seum with a grant of more than £30,000 to cre­ate a Con­ser­va­tion Man­age­ment Plan. Elm­bridge Bor­ough Coun­cil is con­sult­ing on this plan and ask­ing for in­put from res­i­dents.

Mean­while, Her­itage Lottery-funded work has been con­tin­u­ing in and around the mu­seum. On 17 June, as part of Brook­lands’ Dou­ble Twelve Mo­tor­sport Fes­ti­val, the fin­ish­ing straight was re­opened, 110 years to the day af­ter it first hosted dar­ing young men in their racing ma­chines. The straight has been hid­den from view since 1940 when it was cov­ered over by a Bell­man han­gar; that han­gar, which will be re­lo­cated upon its re­turn, is cur­rently be­ing re­stored in Wales.

Far left, above and be­low Brook­lands be­came ac­tive for racing in 1907. Pa­trons of the his­toric ve­hi­cle move­ment such as Lord March (above left, in cen­tre) and cars such as Mor­gan (left), Bu­gatti (bot­tom) and the Beast of Turin (be­low left) gath­ered to mark its 110th an­niver­sary, as a plan came to­gether to safe­guard the track’s fu­ture.

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