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Re-Engineering of Brooklands gets Budget Boost

01 April 2016

Brooklands Museum took a major step forward in its ground-breaking Re-Engineering Brooklands redevelopment programme with the announcement in last week’s Budget of a £1million grant from the Government. The award coincides with the start of construction work at the Museum to enable the re-interpretation of key parts of Brooklands’ aviation and motorsport history.

The Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Race Track Revival project is an £8million programme of work which will see the Grade-2-listed Aircraft Hangar restored and re-opened as the Brooklands Aircraft Factory. The new exhibition will display aircraft and objects dating back to the birth of British aviation, enabling visitors to see the individual stages of aircraft design and manufacture and try these skills out for themselves. Alongside the Hangar, a new Flight Shed will be built to display working historic aircraft and provide environmentally controlled storage for Brooklands’ unique archive and a new restoration workshop.

As part of its restoration the Bellman Hangar will be moved from its current position on the Finishing Straight of the original 1907 Race Track to an adjacent site, allowing that part of the track to be restored to its pre-World War Two condition. For the first time since 1939, the key elements of the world’s first purpose-built motor-racing circuit, the Finishing Straight, banked Track, Clubhouse and Paddock will be seen together, as the legendary pre-War racing drivers would have seen them.
Key parts of the project are to inspire young people in the STEM subjects and also to provide an Aviation Heritage Skills course for the Museum’s volunteers to enable them to look after the Museum’s extensive collection of historic aircraft.

A successful fundraising campaign, including an award of nearly £5million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, had seen work start on the site last October, but rising construction costs as well as the clearing of land which had been contaminated during the site’s aircraft manufacturing history had left a funding gap which needed filling to ensure the project could go ahead. Following a meeting with Brooklands’ local MP the Rt Hon Philip Hammond, the Museum applied to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for support from the LIBOR Fund, which was granted in the Budget.

Mr Hammond said: “I have always taken a close interest in the development of Brooklands Museum and, when Director Allan Winn told me about the potential delays in progressing the Aircraft Factory and Race Track Revival Project because of the increase in building costs, I was glad to be able to offer to approach the Chancellor of the Exchequer to explore whether the Project could be supported with LIBOR funding.

“So I am delighted that the Chancellor has recognised the exceptional importance of the Museum by providing £1 million in funding to bridge the gap and allow this fantastic Project to go ahead.”

Allan Winn, Director and CEO of Brooklands Museum, said: “This support from the Chancellor of the Exchequer is crucial to enabling the delivery of our ambitious plans for the site and to help us tell the extraordinary story of Brooklands’ role in British aviation history. We are very grateful to the Chancellor for his support and to Philip Hammond MP for his role in helping us secure it”.

The Brooklands Aircraft Factory, the new Flight Shed and the restored section of Race Track are scheduled to open in summer 2017.