Weybridge, England — Historic England, the organization responsible for protecting the country’s monuments, historic buildings and other important places, has launched a campaign to preserve the 2.75-mile Brooklands historic racing circuit — the world’s oldest dedicated motor racing venue.
Through war, development and time, bits of Brooklands remain. Photo: Andysvideo
One of the organization’s first steps was to include parts of the track on its Heritage At Risk Register. Historic England also convened a meeting of Brooklands Museum officials, property owners and local government officials in July to start discussion on how best to preserve the entire track.
Brooklands was last used for a motorsports event in 1939. The site housed an aircraft production facility during World War II and various parts of the track were damaged or destroyed by German bombs. Later, development and road building also took a toll on the circuit. Today, about half of the original racing surface remains in non-contiguous stretches, and is in fairly poor condition, partly due to the use of unreinforced concrete during construction.
As part of the preservation effort, Historic England provided the Brooklands Museum with funds to prepare a Conservation Management Plan, that the local Elmbridge Borough Council has put up for consultation. Largely intended to prevent future developments from further degrading the track, the plan calls for necessary maintenance and repairs of the track surface, as well as oversight of all preservation efforts by either the museum or Historic England. The six-week consultation will remain open to public comment until Aug. 18.
The museum has also raised about 97% of the $10.8 million needed to restore parts of the track — a project that has already resulted in a partial restoration of the Finishing Straight, long covered by an aircraft hangar.