The Locke Kings of Brooklands Weybridge

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The Locke Kings of Brooklands, Weybridge By JSL Pulford Brooklands Museum, £6.70, ISBN: 0306-1248

This is a book which everyone who has any interest in Brooklands Track cannot afford to ignore. Apart from it being a very interesting and complete account of the Locke King family, of whom Mr H F Locke King was responsible for the idea of what became the World’s very first motor course, it dispels the long-held myth quoted by everyone who has written about the famous Track, including myself that Hugh Fortesque Locke King built the course with £150,000 of his own fortune for the good of the British Motor Industry.

In a painstaking survey, the author shows from papers recently released by Surrey CC that Locke King was only able to meet the bills by selling off land and property, setting up mortgages, and accepting help from his friends. This remarkable new disclosure provides fresh and revealing aspects of the track’s beginnings. It is also clear that Hugh King intended to make money from Brooklands.

For this alone it is essential, and fascinating, reading for all motor-racing followers with a taste for history. I could scarcely put it down, it taught me so much that was new to me about a subject I thought I had mastered, apart from explaining in much detail who the Locke Kings were he a grandson of the seventh Baron King; Dame Ethel, the daughter of Sir Thomas Gore-Browne.

Wealthy as he was, HF was nearly bankrupted by the cost of Brooklands Track, £8.5 million in current terms, and his health affected. In this 96page book more than 20 pages with early maps are devoted to this problem, why HF refused to give in, and aspects of the Track from 1906 on. Did you know that the surface intended was never laid, who “rescued” the project, how close a friend of the Locke Kings Rowdacowski was, or about the marriage of the instigators of the Track? This book, published by Walton & District Local History Society, tells you. The rest is devoted to the many projects houses, hospitals, shooting ranges, post offices, cemeteries, etc, with excellent photographs and location of buildings still existing. Finances are given in contemporary and present-day figures and the book is of high quality. It is trite, perhaps, to say “highly recommended” but in this case I mean it all Brooklands followers should send £6.70 to the Brooldands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey TW 13 OQN for a copy, post free. WB