Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Motorsport visited Brooklands Museum on 22nd August to discuss how heritage automotive skills are being maintained and passed to younger generations, and how its spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation can be harnessed to address current challenges faced in automotive and aviation.
Home to the World’s first purpose built racing track and largest concrete structure when created, Brooklands became a focal point for innovators and entrepreneurs to explore the burgeoning motorsport and aviation industries. It became a central part of Britain’s war effort and was home to Concorde, with much of the aircraft’s design taking place at Brooklands.
Today operating as a heritage site, Brooklands displays historical vehicles and aircraft. It supports restoration projects, many undertaken by apprentices through the Association of Heritage Engineers.
The cross-party group of MPs and Peers is chaired by James Sunderland, MP for Bracknell, and Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham. They were joined by Lord Strathcarron, Mark Garnier MP and Karl McCartney MP.
Speaking after the visit, Mr Sunderland said: “Brooklands is hugely important to Britain. It created a new industry, one that went on have hugely positive social and economic impact for Britain, and is role in during WWI cannot be understated. Its legacy is – and will always be – part of the UK’s automotive and aviation history and future. We are grateful to Brooklands Museum, the staff and apprentices of the Association of Heritage Engineers, and to all the volunteers who continue the spirit of competition on this historic track.”
Mr Smith, a member of the Transport Select Committee, said: “Brooklands created a hub for innovators to solve the challenges that were put in front of them at the time. We need to do the same with the problems facing the world today. To do that, we must ensure the core skills and abilities are in place. The work of the Brooklands Museum and the Association of Heritage Engineers show how heritage skills are an important and relevant part of a genuinely sustainable future economy, emphasising reuse, repair and the transferable skills in our rich engineering heritage.”
Brooklands Museum occupies part of the former Brooklands motor-racing track in Weybridge, Surrey. Its aim is to conserve, protect and interpret the unique heritage of the Brooklands site. For more information about the museum, visit: www.brooklandsmuseum.com
The Association of Heritage Engineers was founded to promote, support and facilitate the cascade of skills and experience within the world-driven heritage to a new generation of young people. For more information about the association, visit: www.associationofheritageengineers.co.uk