As we had a visitor staying with us over the weekend whom you might describe as a aviation and automobile enthusiast, Saturday saw us taking a short road trip to the Brooklands Museum. Brooklands, built in 1907, was the world’s first purpose-built motor circuit and the home of British Motorsport and Aviation.During both World Wars, Brooklands was requisitioned by the Government and turned to the mass production of military aircraft, and as a result suffered from severe bombing at the hands of the German Luftwaffe. The resulting damage saw the racing circuit all but destroyed and later broken up, with just a short section of banking remaining. Post 1945, the site was purchased by Vickers and a new age of military and civil aircraft was born.
Thrillingly for me, the Museum is home to Concorde. Not only was Concorde an engineering marvel, she was an icon of beauty, style, and in her own way, a brand. Every aspect of the aircraft was designed for aerodynamic efficiency, and yet the outcome became something truly elegant; instantly recognisable all over the world. The supersonic airliner was a joint venture between Great Britain and France and the first UK meeting took place at what is now Brooklands Museum.Because approximately a third of Concorde’s airframe had been built at the Brooklands factory (with the remainder of the build split between Filton and Toulouse), the Museum was eager to acquire a Concorde of their own and achieved this in 2004.Visitors can now take a 35 minute tour of Concorde (an additional fee is payable) and I was in seventh heaven. She’s the aircraft I most wanted to fly on and having sadly never achieved that, the next best thing was sitting in the cabin listening to our guide, a former BA Stewardess who served on the Concorde fleet from 1977 to 1992, enthuse about what a wonderful aircraft she was. I think that Brooklands’ appeal lies in both its history, and its current collection of vehicles (which I’ve barely touched upon) and aircraft. For the non-enthusiast, I would still recommend a visit, but perhaps choose a day when the Museum is hosting a themed event.
Believe me when I say that you won’t be disappointed.