Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey is famous for both its motoring and aviation history. The world's first
motor racing circuit was built here in 1907 and at the centre of the banked oval circuit was a large grass airfield where successful aviators like A.V. Roe built and flew their aircraft. Today the Brooklands Museum
houses a collection of aircraft including the Wellington Bomber which was raised from Loch Ness in 1985. A
small part of the motor racing circuit still remains and there is a collection of cars and bikes that have raced on this famous track.
Brooklands is also known for something else which is not so easy to explain. Think of a scary movie you saw or a video game you played and the dimly lit ghostly atmosphere of those worlds. This overgrown and semi-derelict track has a very similar atmosphere and is a place where many reports of strange occurrences such as doors opening and shutting of their own accord, the sound of footsteps, engines revving-up and tyres squealing at 2am in the morning. Sounds just like the beginning storyline of an action RPG or a movie but it is much harder to explain than just creepy sounds or doors opening. The sightings of a figure dressed in white overalls and a helmet seen by some to walk across a carpark only to disappear before their eyes. One particular disturbing incident was witnessed by a young boy living nearby who saw 'The figure of a man staggering around with his head half hanging off'. The boy was so severely shocked that he had to be given medical treatment.
In the past many drivers have been killed after driving off the side of the banked track and also during World War II the RAF were based here and the ghosts of airmen and ground personnel have also been encountered. At the centre of a particularly haunted area
of Brooklands is a large shed known as 'The Vatican' which houses the Talbot racing car of Percy Lambert who in the 1930's suffered a burst tyre on his car while trying to break the world speed record and was killed when his car was thrown off the track and towards the massive assembly works. Many of the staff at Brooklands believe that Percy Lambert now haunts Brooklands and is
responsible for most of the strange occurances there.
Percy Lambert was the first person to cover a hundred miles in an hour. The record was set at Brooklands on February 15th 1913 when driving his 4.5 litre sidevalve Talbot. He actually covered 103 miles and 1470 yards in sixty minutes. There is a film of his exploits at the Brooklands museum which was made on that day. Unfortunately Percy was killed on October 21st 1913 while trying to regain his land speed record from Peugeot. He averaged over 110 mph for the first 120 laps but a rear tyre disintegrated and Percy was killed. This happened two weeks before Percy was to marry his fiancee and give up racing. He was buried in a streamlined coffin to match his car at Brompton cemetry, London. His Epitaph read: 'A modest friend, a fine gentleman and a thorough sportsman. The first man to cover 100 miles in one hour. Killed by accident at Brooklands Motor Racing Track whilst attempting further records. October 21st, 1913.'
The Brooklands museum houses a fascinating collection of aircraft through the ages, including a Bleriot XI replica, Curtiss D Pusher replica and De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth. Alongside these historic aircraft are more modern types which were built at Brooklands, including the Vickers Viking and VC-10 airliners. More recently attention has been placed on the rebuild of a Wellington bomber, R for Robert, which had been raised from Loch Ness in 1985. Former Vickers workers have spent many hours helping to reconstruct the geodetic design of the airframe.
Apart from the hangars housing the aircraft, the other attractions include the steep Members Banking, a small part of the circuit still remaining, and the motoring village with cars and bikes that had raced on the banked circuit. The main feature of the village is the original Club House which has been restored to its 1920's and 30's era, when Brooklands was known as the Ascot of motor racing.