For more than a century, Brooklands has been associated with engineering and technological achievements of international importance in the fields of motor racing and aviation; for the last 25 years we have kept the spirit of the great pioneers alive in a vibrant, living Brooklands Museum.
In 2017 we embarked on the next chapter of this extraordinary site’s history with the completion of the first stage in our Re-Engineering Brooklands masterplan.
The Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Race Track Revival project
In 2017 Brooklands Museum completed the largest ever development of its remarkable site. The £8 million ‘Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Race Track Revival Project' has transformed the Museum and created a truly inspiring visitor experience.
The project opened a new exciting chapter in the story of the historic site, restoring aspects of the original layout whilst also creating ground-breaking new facilities for the future.
The Bellman Hangar was moved off the Race Track’s Finishing Straight and reinterpreted as the ‘Brooklands Aircraft Factory’, evoking 80 years of aviation design and manufacture at Brooklands and providing an inspiring centre for learning about science and engineering.
Captivating exhibitions on the history of flight and the people who made it happen have been created in the new Flight Shed and a lively programme of activities and events will evoke Brooklands’ heyday on the re-united Finishing Straight.
Explore below to find out more about the project
The Grade II listed Bellman Hangar was in a poor and deteriorating state and urgent action was needed. The project included moving the Hangar off the Finishing Straight and restoring it nearby. The Hangar was re-clad to prevent leaks and thermal protection for collections and their environment has been installed.
The new interior of the Bellman Hangar was designed as an ‘Aircraft Factory’, harking back to the Hangar’s original use as a manufacturing building. Exhibitions explore the history of aircraft manufacture - from the pioneering early planes of wood and fabric, to the supersonic airliner and the technologies of the future.
The new two-storey ‘Flight Shed’ has been constructed next to the site of the relocated Bellman Hangar. The upper floor displays complete aircraft, giving the impression they have just been built in the Factory.
Smaller exhibits will tell the stories of the pilots and navigators who flew these aircraft and some of the technological developments that helped them do so. With level access onto the Finishing Straight, these live aircraft will be moved out of the Flight Shed for engine runs and taxying displays.
On the ground floor of the Flight Shed a new Archive Store, Reading Room and Workshop have been built.
In 1940, due to the need to increase aircraft production in World War II, the Bellman Hangar was constructed across the Race Track’s Finishing Straight. The Hangar remained in place following the war, obscuring the iconic view where racing history was made and making it difficult for visitors to connect the Banking with the Clubhouse and Paddock.
The Finishing Straight is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and this project finally saw the two sections divided by the Bellman Hangar reunited, restoring its relationship with the other historic elements of the site.
The reunited Finishing Straight will provide a venue for large-scale events, reminiscent of those which attracted the huge crowds that gathered on race days in the 1930s, and provide a stretch of track for riding in or driving pre-war motor cars and for engine runs of aircraft from the Flight Shed.
The Paddock Scoreboard Project
Completed in July 2017, the 12m tall Scoreboard is an exact working replica of the scoreboard which dominated the pre-war Paddock skyline and features in hundreds of period photographs and film.
With the original Scoreboard having been demolished after the Second World War and no plans available, Brooklands Museum’s staff and contractors had to re-create its design and operating mechanism through painstaking research, including viewing hundreds of photographs and hours of period racing film.
The entire cost of building the new Scoreboard has been met by the Brooklands Trust Members – through individual donations and fundraising activities – and a welcome donation from Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd in tribute to the Aston Martins and Lagondas which saw great success at Brooklands in the 1920s and ‘30s.