Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed opening next week
07 November 2017
The Brooklands Aircraft Factory, housed in the restored Bellman Hangar, and the new Flight Shed combine to show the ingenuity and skill of the men and women who designed, built and flew aircraft at Brooklands from the early pioneering days in 1908 through to the development of supersonic flight.
The £8.4 million Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival Project includes the restoration of the Finishing Straight of the Race Track, re-opened in June on the 110th anniversary of the original opening of the Brooklands Track. It was made possible thanks to a grant of £5.467million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and further funding from LIBOR banking fines, Arts Council England, Surrey County Council, charitable trusts and foundations and individuals.
The Bellman Hangar was originally built in 1940 on the Finishing Straight of the Race Track and has been restored and re-erected in its new position with the innovative Brooklands Aircraft Factory exhibition inside. The new exhibition tells the story of 80 years of aircraft manufacture and innovation at Brooklands and nearby Surrey, where nearly 18,900 aeroplanes were built or assembled and first flown - more than anywhere else in Europe to this day. It will enable visitors to “clock in” and immerse themselves in appreciating the skills involved in aircraft manufacture and trying them for themselves in various ‘workshops’. The Hangar remains the home of the Vickers Wellington Bomber ‘R’ for ‘Robert’ that was rescued from Loch Ness and is the only one left that saw active service in the Second World War. It and other aircraft and their major components are displayed in various stages of completion on “assembly lines” running through the factory.
A restored Hawker P.1127 “jump jet” prototype looks out over the Factory floor from a new mezzanine level that tells the story of aircraft design at Brooklands and allows visitors to explore the challenges and compromises of designing new and future aircraft. From here a walkway leads into the first floor Flight Shed exhibition, which houses some of the Museum’s live aircraft as well as radar and radio equipment and a permanent exhibition on pioneering pilots.
Find out more about Re-Engineering Brooklands