Brooklands Museum has received a first-round pass for a £4.85million bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival Project. The project aims to relocate, restore and reinterpret the Museum’s Grade 2-listed Wellington Hangar as The Brooklands Aircraft Factory, with a new annexe to house more of the Museum’s outstanding collection of historic aircraft, and restore the section of original race track on which the Hangar currently stands. Included in the project, which aims to inspire current and future generations to embrace science, technology and engineering, will be enhanced learning opportunities, a training scheme in historic aircraft restoration and a raft of new activities on the race track.
The initial funding allocated by the HLF for this project is £286,500, to which the Museum will add further cash and volunteer input to allow development work to a total value of almost £410,000 to be undertaken, helping Brooklands Museum progress its plans to apply for the remainder of the full grant in 2015.
It is planned to completely restore the Hangar on a new site adjacent to its current one, allowing the Finishing Straight of the Race Track to be brought back into use for both motoring and aviation activities. Fittingly, in view of its original purpose, the Hangar itself will be presented as an aircraft factory, its displays showing how aircraft from the earliest pioneers to Concorde were designed, built and developed at Brooklands over an 80-year period. The “Factory” will be an interactive learning centre, in which visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of an aircraft manufacturing plant and try for themselves many of the crafts and skills used by thousands of workers in Brooklands’ manufacturing heyday.
In a new adjoining “Flight Shed”, the Museum’s active aircraft will be kept ready to roll out onto the refurbished Race Track for static and taxying demonstrations, while in new workshops underneath that building Museum volunteers will learn and practice aircraft restoration skills.
Brooklands Museum Director Allan Winn commented: “This most welcome HLF funding will help us restore a famous historic building and safeguard internationally important aircraft, to give our visitors the only place in the country where they can see how aircraft were (and are) designed and built. It will also allow us to bring a significant part of the world’s first motor-racing circuit back to life – and to use all those elements to inspire youngsters, especially, to engage with the nationally-vital subjects of science, technology and engineering.”