Brooklands, my first visit

My search for information about the Spitfire and Hurricane, WWII fighter aircraft, has led me down many new areas, areas of history, areas of the UK, areas of knowledge and learning, that link into other pieces of a vast jigsaw of knowledge which I know I will never complete.

My learning will never stop, and I know I will not get to know everything about a particular subject, a country, a person, even about myself.

As a boy, I had an interest in motor cars, my fathers’ old pre-select geared Riley. I have posted a picture in my next article My early introduction to racing cars,

My friends (the Pascoe twins, David and Roger) parents car, originally had an old Austin, with the number plate or registration BAR 7, they then exchanged the Austin for one of the first Mini‘s produced.

Phillip Holt with David and Roger Pascoe, “the Pascoe Twins”, after building a racing kart, pulled by a one boy power bike, i.e. me on my bicycle.

We made minor additions like the cover incase of rain.

Then the racing drivers, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill. The racing, La Mans 24 hours race, the Isle of Man TT race. The race tracks, Monza, Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Brooklands.

I had heard of Brooklands, and it conjured up in my boyhood mind, roaring engines, grease, fumes, glamour, thrills, excitement, danger. I had a racing peddle car, I was a racing driver.

It was only a couple of years ago that I realise how close I was living to the famous track, only 8 miles. I had client who needed help with a driving phobia in a town, west of London in the county of Surrey called Weybridge, very close to Kingston upon Thames. Lo and behold, near to his house was Brooklands, and at the end of the session I made my first visit.

It was late in the afternoon, and I had to rush through the museum, but an extra piece of the jigsaw was put in place, perhaps not all the pieces I would need later.

I was impressed by the quality of the car exhibits, the buildings, the people.

I was a little disappointed in the quality and quantity of aircraft, but then Brooklands was to do with motor racing was it not?

There was a hanger with a variety of old aircraft, including reproductions of the first very early wood and canvas flying machines.

Decommissioned airliners stood at the end of the long runway. Among them a VC10, a BAC 1-11. The VC10 was open to view inside.


An example of a Vickers VC10

I could imagine aircraft taking off and landing on that long runway, with a mainline railway, the little stretch of the remaining banked race track, and the museum, all at one end.

I felt annoyed at the new encroaching office blocks on the perimeter of the airfield.

I had a strange feeling of how could I have missed this historic site so close to where I lived? Why had I not been told about it, seen advertisements? I knew where McDonnell’s, Burger King, SpecSavers, but not this important historic site.

How many more places was I missing?

Was it because like the Wetlands Center, (see Wetland Centre (WWT) in West London) inadequate signage, where  local authorities do not allow too many direction signs to be erected.

Other attractions nearby, Thorpe Park and the Chessington World of Adventures have big road signage from the main highways, the A3 and the M25, and neighboring towns, but not the Brooklands Museum.

A person, a family, a community, a nation, needs a strong foundation, a reason for being, of belonging , a reason of why we are here, a history. This can come from religion, from being a member of an organisation, a club, or a family, or from the history of the community or country, the story of how things came about. We need to be proud of our past, something to hang on to, build upon, for a better future.

Come on the British Government and other countries, preserve history. Do not leave it for volunteers to raise finance, to organise and maintain our past.

Come on business, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Mercedes, Honda, BAE, BAA. Support projects like Brooklands more. Offer to repaint some of the exhibits which carry your corporate identity (old or new), help refurbish old exhibits, donate old unused equipment, or manpower. Surely there is some old usable scaffolding that could be donated to help maintain, preserve and repaint the aging VC10.  

One thought on “Brooklands, my first visit

  1. Pingback: My early introduction to racing cars – Phillip Holt's World

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