old race car driver filling car up with fuel

Motor Racing

First British Grand Prix at Brooklands

Motor racing took place at Brooklands from 1907-1939, with the first British Grand Prix held there in 1926. World Land Speed Records were set at Brooklands in 1909, 1914, 1922 and 1923. In 1922 the Land Speed Record for a motorcar was just under 134mph, with higher speeds being limited by the track. Future record attempts in cars designed & built at Brooklands were made on long beaches or salt flats, with the fastest Brooklands car exceeding 400mph. The last motor race held at Brooklands was on 7th August 1939. Find out more about the coolest classic cars to race at Brooklands.


Flying, Aircraft Design and Manufacture

The first flight at Brooklands was by AV Roe in 1908. Four years later in 1912, the Sopwith Aviation Company built an aircraft manufacturing shed at Brooklands. Vickers began aircraft manufacturing at Brooklands in 1915. By 1918, Brooklands was the largest aircraft manufacturing site in the UK and went on to manufacture such aircraft as the Sopwith Camel, Hurricane, Spitfire, Wellington, Valiant & Concorde.

Aviation Brooklands circuit
The Holden Apparatus

The holden apparatus

The Motor Race Chronograph

Designed at Brooklands, built in London and used for official records, this chronograph was accurate to 1/10,000 of a second. In 1907, Brooklands introduced the first Motor Race Chronograph. Routine lap timing was taken using Swiss stopwatches with indications to 1/5 of a second. The Motor Race Chronograph was used to establish official speed records.

This chronograph was designed by Colonel Holden & K Elphinstone. Holden had designed the track, public address system and installed telephones for track communications.

Brooklands timeline

  • 1907
  • 1908
  • 1926
  • 1934
  • 1947
  • 1970
  • February 18, 2022 - Timeline – Brooklands Track Opens

    February 18, 2022
    old black and white photo of the brooklands race track

    Brooklands track opens

    “One of the Wonders of the World”

    At the time, there was no place in England where cars could be raced.  The brainchild of Hugh Fortescue Locke King was to build a racing circuit on his family estate where cars could exceed 100mph and spectators could see the cars at all times. 

    Brooklands track was opened on 17th June 1907.  It was 2.75 miles long and 100 feet wide with 30 foot-high banking at either end.  The first track of its kind, it had taken just 10 months to build and cost £150,000 (£19 million today).

  • December 7, 2023 - Timeline – First Flight at Brooklands

    December 7, 2023

    First flight at brooklands

    First powered flight in Great Britain

    On 8th June 1908, Edwin Alliott Verdon-Roe (AV Roe) flew for 150ft in his Roe 1 biplane at Brooklands.  Although not officially recognised, he was the first man to design, build and fly a powered aircraft in Great Britain. In this picture AV Roe stands beside his crashed Avro No.1 Triplane at Wembley, 24th December 1910, after attempting a turn.

  • February 18, 2022 - Timeline – First British Grand Prix

    February 18, 2022

    Delage of Senechal crosses the line to win the first British Grand Prix at Brooklands in 1926

    First british grand prix

    Brooklands – 7th August 1926

    The Delage 15S8 of Robert Sénéchal and Louis Wagner crossing the finishing line to win at Brooklands.  The 1926 Grand Prix cars had the engine capacity reduced from 2 litres to 1.5 litres to try and reduce the power and speed of the cars.  The winning Delage 15S8 was highly sophisticated with an all-alloy, double overhead cam engine.  Fitted with twin superchargers, the 8 cylinder 1.5 litre engine could run at 8,000rpm. 

  • February 18, 2022 - Timeline – Vickers Designs New Fighter

    February 18, 2022

    old black and white photo of an old fighter plane

    Vickers funds New fighter

    Vickers bought Supermarine for its seaplane capabilities 

    Vickers-Armstrong Ltd, Brooklands bought Supermarine in November 1928. Following the success of the Schneider Trophy-winning Supermarine S6 aircraft, RJ Mitchell and his team began work on a new fighter in February 1934. Designated the Type 300, the Air Ministry initially rejected the design. Vickers Chairman Robert McLean funded the design with Rolls-Royce and also insisted the Type 300 be named Spitfire.

  • February 18, 2022 - Timeline – The Railton Mobil Special

    February 18, 2022

    The Railton Mobil Special

    The first car to exceed 400mph.

    The car was designed by Reid Railton and built at the Thomson & Taylor works, Brooklands. It used two supercharged Napier Lion engines producing 1,450shp each. One engine drove the front wheels and the second engine drove the rear wheels, to reduce wheel slip. Driven by John Cobb, the car exceeded 403mph during one of the timed runs on 16th September 1947 at Bonneville Salt Flats.

  • February 18, 2022 - Timeline – Manufacture of Concorde

    February 18, 2022


    Manufacture of Concorde

    All 20 British and French production fuselages were built at Brooklands.

    In 1961, the first UK meeting to discuss the design and build of a Supersonic Transport Aircraft was held at Brooklands. By early 1970 on-site manufacture of the nose fuselage, forward fuselage, rear fuselage, fin and rudder began. These assemblies were sent by truck to Filton and Toulouse where the aircraft were assembled and flown.

plate stamping

Each Triple-Four Chronograph comes with a brass warranty card. Just 16 lucky customers will receive a hand-stamped card.

The Designer

Simplicity, beauty, functionality and surprise

terence conran signature

Sir Terence Conran

Founder of The Conran Shop, designer and restaurateur, Sir Terence Conran was widely regarded as the voice of authority on design in the UK. Sir Terence remembered his father going to the races at Brooklands on Saturdays, so nearly 80 years later, Sir Terence relished the opportunity to design a racing chronograph watch with his father in mind. A gift from son to father, for use at the races.

Find out more
Napier Railton racing at Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit
sir terence conran sit in a chair


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black and white photo of couples dressed up at the races
black and white photo of couples dressed up at the races
black and white photo of couples dressed up at the races