Matters of moment, May 1987

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Brooklands collection

This year sees the 80th Anniversary of Brooklands Track, and the 50th birthday of the opening of its Campbell “road” circuit. The Brooklands Museum Trust is celebrating this with a big assembly of invited guests and historic vehicles on June 7, and the Brooklands Society with its 20th annual Reunion on June 28, a more active gathering which includes demonstrations and timed runs. Meanwhile, it is splendid news that Sir Peter Masefield, MAC Eng, has agreed to act as Chairman of the Elmbridge Brooklands Museum Trust, and that seven other influential persons are among the first Trustees. Sir Peter is a former Chairman of the Imperial War Museum, and, as Chairman of London Transport, established its Covent Garden Transport Museum.

Exhibits such as the Straight/Duller Duesenberg, the Joyce AC, “Loch Ness” Wellington and replicas of Avro 504 and Santos-Dumont Demoiselle (on loan from the RAF Museum) will enhance the Brooklands collection, which is scheduled to open to the public in 1989. The Museum has asked British Telecom to provide an original telephone switchboard. This it will perhaps do, but only if historical accuracy is ensured, as its “Technology Showcase” dislikes artistic licence — a most commendable attitude.

Did you know that the original wiring of the Track was completed in just 15 days, involving more than 33 men (who worked from 6am to 9pm daily and laid more than 50 miles of wire and nearly four miles of poles), a Crossley gas-engine to drive a generator, and a direct line to the BARC office in Pall Mall? And this in spite of delays caused by the passage of contractors’ trains, and the need to use extra stays as the telegraph poles were on a continuous curve, and to lay cables beneath the track through five subways. Such conditions would probably cause today’s Telecom engineers to strike forever!